It seems a day doesn’t go by without an announcement from Instagram about supposed changes to their algorithm. It’s my (educated) guess that our small business owner friends lose too many waking hours stressing out about this mysterious algorithm, when their energy could be much better spent elsewhere… like on your Instagram analytics.
Good news: you don’t need any new tech or new tricks to understand Instagram analytics. You just need to know where to look.
Keeping your eyes on what’s working (and what isn’t) will help you create a smarter and stronger strategy – with the added fringe benefit of making the algorithm work for you.
What Do We Mean By Instagram Analytics?
When we talk about analytics, we’re going beyond the basics of your follower count, for example, or the number of “likes” on a post. Analytics uses those basic metrics to illustrate and understand patterns, and gives you insights on what content contributed to a gain (or loss) in followers.
On The Subject of Insights
Instagram offers Insights, a free tool that allows you to get a basic look at your analytics. This feature comes standard with Business and Creator accounts.
To access Insights, open the Instagram app on your phone and head to your profile. You should find an Insights button right there on your profile, or head up to the three bars in the upper right hand corner and click through from there.
The default view will show you an account overview for the last seven days. You can switch the view to analyze the last 14 days, 30 days, and the previous calendar month.
Okay, So What Are We Analyzing Here?
You can glean quite a lot of information about the overall health of your Instagram account from these basic insights. Here’s a quick rundown of what each of these key metrics and insights mean:
- Accounts Reached – This indicates how many users saw your content, with a breakdown of how many are your current followers versus how many users aren’t already following you. If you’re interested in having a new audience interact with your content, this is incredibly useful information!
- Content Interactions – This one says what it does right on the tin: how many interactions your posts have received in the given period, broken down by likes, comments, and shares. You’ll see these insights for all the content you share: posts, stories, reels, IG TV videos, and live videos.
- Total Followers – This is another relatively clear metric, with a further analysis of how your account has grown or shrunk over the given time period. This insight also breaks down your followers based on locations, age range, and gender (please note: at this time Instagram only offers a binary look at gender). The real gem here? Insights will show you when your followers are most active. You can use this information to better plan when to schedule content for maximum engagement. (Another note here: since Instagram is based in California, the active times shown are in the Pacific time zone, even if you’re located elsewhere.)
- Content You Shared – Now the party starts! Here, you’ll see a detailed breakdown of all the types of content you’ve shared, with the option to dig even deeper. Want to know how your carousel posts performed versus single images? You can do that! Want to see which posts got folks to click through the link in your bio? You can do that! Which posts did folks save most? You can look for that, too! Insights also gives you the ability to look for similar metrics with your stories and reels.
Make Analytics Work For You
You want to make the mystical algorithm work in your favor? Start with understanding why you want to use Instagram for your business. Increased brand awareness will require a different strategy than driving followers to sign up for a newsletter, for example. Be clear about why you’re showing up on the app, then share content with that intention in mind.
Take time on a regular interval (monthly, or quarterly at least) to dig into your Instagram Insights, and make adjustments accordingly.
Most of all: be kind to yourself, be patient with your strategy, and give yourself permission to have some fun!
Want to dig even deeper into your analytics and insights? Schedule a social media strategy session, and let’s make magic happen together!