Are you managing an Instagram account for business? Then, you’re probably aware that analytics can help you improve your strategy.

A phone with a girl taking a photo and the text Instagram analytics.

A powerful Instagram marketing strategy starts with having clear goals and a set of relevant metrics (KPIs) to measure your action steps.

  • Do you know how to calculate your engagement rate?
  • Do you know the difference between reach and impressions?
  • Which KPIs should you track if you want to increase sales?

Are you confused with all the Instagram analytical buzzwords? Well, you’re not alone. We know that it’s not easy to master the Instagram metrics language. But yet it’s so important ... Without understanding Instagram analytics how will you measure your performance? And how will you know that you’ve met your growth goals?

So, in this article, we’re going to share 5 essential Instagram metrics and analytics every social media manager needs to know.

Ready? Let’s start!

Instagram Metric #1: Engagement rate #

Engagement is an important indicator of performance on social media. This will give you an idea of how your audience is receiving your content: do your followers like your posts or is it not meeting their expectations?

Accounts with a high engagement rate are also known to grow at a faster rate. This is simply because the Instagram algorithm favours engagement and it propels posts with a lot of engagement on the Instagram Explore page. So once you’re there, your content gets discovered by new people.

So, how are your followers engaging with your posts? Are they leaving comments, saving your posts and sharing them with their friends? This is important to observe because likes, comments, shares and saves account for engagement.

The first step is to check your Instagram post insights and count your interactions.

Next, let’s calculate your engagement rate.

How to calculate engagement on Instagram

Engagement rate is calculated by adding all interactions a post gets (eg. likes, comments, saves and shares) and dividing that by your total number of followers. Multiply by 100 to get a percentage (%).

Then, use the Engagement metric below to find out if your engagement is lower or higher than average.

Engagement rate = (Likes + Comments + Saves + Shares) / Followers count * 100%

For example, let’s say you have 45 likes, 6 comments, 1 share and 9 saves at a follower count of 1,300. Your engagement rate is: (45 + 6 + 1 + 9) / 1,300 followers *100% = 4.7%

So, how do you interpret that? Let’s look at this chart.

Engagement rate benchmarks

  • 0% - 1% = low engagement
  • 1% - 3% = average engagement
  • 3% - 6% = high engagement
  • >6% = very high engagement

A high engagement (above 3%) means that your followers love your content and you’re successful in attracting the relevant audience for your content.

Otherwise, if you notice a low engagement (below 1%), this indicates that there’s room for improvement. You should then re-evaluate your content strategy, captions and hashtags and find ways to optimise them.

Instagram metric #2: Followers growth #

This tells you that your content strategy is working well in attracting new audiences. It may be that people find value in your content you share and they’re interested in your posts or that you’ve ranked high on relevant hashtags.

Use this metric as an indicator to measure spikes and drops in your followers number. You need to understand how certain campaigns affect your followers’ growth. Ideally, you should aim for a gradual growth over time rather than a few spikes - this can look that you’ve bought followers.

So, pay attention to this metric, especially if you’re an influencer because brands will look at your followers’ growth to ensure your followers are genuine.

You can track followers growth from the Insights (Audience) tab on your Instagram app. This shows a brief summary of followers gained/ lost over the past 7 days.

A screenshot of the Instagram analytics section of the Instagram app, highlighting followers growth.

Want to track your followers’ growth over a longer period of time (eg. 30 days)? You can do that on ShareMyInsights. Go to “Overview” and you’ll see a chart with your followers change in time.

A screenshot of sharemyinsights showing a followers growth chart.

Instagram metric #3: Most engaged hashtags #

This metric tells you the performance of your hashtags. You need to track this insight because you want to find the best performing hashtags in your industry to ensure your content gets seen by your ideal audience.

This might be tricky. When you’re just starting on Instagram, you’ll have to do a lot of guesswork and testing different hashtags. So, tracking your hashtags with each post and eliminating those that are ineffective will help you improve your hashtags strategy for Instagram.

How to track your hashtags’ performance in ShareMyInsights:

From the menu on the left, tap on Instagram “Posts” → “Hashtags”.

This will open up a side by side comparison of your best and worst hashtags. You can filter them by likes, comments, reach or impressions.

So, if you’re looking for the best hashtags for engagement, look at likes and comments.

Alternatively, if you want to increase your brand awareness, choose hashtags that help you boost reach and impressions.

A screenshot of sharemyinsights showing your best and worst hashtags on Instagram pie charts.

You can rank your hashtags by best for likes, comments, reach or impressions. So, if you’re trying to optimise your hashtags for engagement, look at best for likes and comments.

Alternatively, if you want to increase your brand awareness, choose hashtags that help you boost reach and impressions.

A screenshot of sharemyinsights best hashtags by average likes pie chart.

Instagram metric #4: Referral traffic #

This metric will tell you how effective you are in driving traffic from Instagram to your website, landing page, email list and more.

In most cases, you’ll be using Instagram as an integral part of your marketing strategy and it should be supporting your overall business goal.

So, if your business goal is to increase website traffic or sales, then referral traffic from Instagram will be a KPI that it’s more important for you than likes, comments or engagement.

You can track this metric from your Instagram app. Open your Insights section in the Instagram app.

A diagram showing the steps to get to your Instagram insights section in the Instagram app.

Now look at “Website clicks” under the “Activity” tab. This shows how many times people have clicked on your URL link.

A screenshot of Instagrams insights with the website clicks metric highlighted.

Because Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links in your captions, the only place you can add a URL link is in your Instagram bio section.

So what can you do if you want to add a few links? Then you should use a bio link app like Smily.bio to merge a few links into one and add it to your Instagram bio.

A screenshot of a smily.bio link created in sharemyinsights.

Instagram metric #5: Reach #

This metric tells you how many people are seeing your posts.

Now, you may wonder... “why is this important since your reach should follow the number of followers you have, isn’t it?” Actually, it’s not. You can have 10,000 followers but each post gets viewed by only 200 people.

This is because the average organic reach on Instagram is currently at 2% - 10%. What this means, every time you post the algorithm decides how many people to show your post based on the engagement your post received within the first hours of posting.

So if your objective is to increase brand awareness you should be focusing on growing your reach on Instagram.

Where to find your reach for posts?

In your Instagram app, look at the Activity tab, under Discovery. You’ll notice there are two metrics: reach and impressions.

What’s the difference between reach and impressions?

  • Reach = the total number of unique accounts that viewed your posts
  • Impressions = how many times your posts were viewed (this usually counts multiple views by the same user)

Let’s look at the example below:

Reach is 1,127 and impressions are 5,934. You’ll notice the impressions are much higher. This indicates that each person viewed my posts for an average of 5 times. And this is great!

It signals to me that people found value and came back to leave comments.

A screenshot with reach and impressions highlighted in Instagram's own insights tool.

So what should you do if you notice your reach dropping? Look at the hashtags you used, did you add a call to action? Did you publish your post at times your audience was active?

These factors can impact your post’s reach - so take note and make amends.

So now you know the 5 most important metrics to track your Instagram performance. Start tracking your insights today!