Instagram Analytics that Matter for Business
I’m a numbers girl. The ability to measure my website traffic gets my adrenaline going. Tracking e-mail opens and clicks is an art form. Talking about Instagram analytics gives me an instant high. Don’t even get me started on analyzing the best performing blog posts.
Bottom line, I like data.
It must come from my weird obsession with math. There’s something enticing about the medium. I’m probably one of the few art majors out there who loves math.
What does this have to do with Instagram? Glad you asked.
When I started playing on Instagram, I went on the hunt to discover where I could get my analytics fix. While it’s no Google Analytics, there are several options for gaining insights into your photo sharing habits.
I recently hooked all my Instagram accounts up to Square Lovin. It’s one of the few free platforms I came across, so I decided to start here. Insert massive Instagram analytics.
Soon I was in data overload, trying to decipher what it all meant.
In the home dashboard you can browse through postings, engagement, optimization and community. Then within each of those categories you’ll encounter even more data.
To help you sidestep the data overload, I’ve broken down the key metrics I am tracking on Instagram.
- Square Lovin is currently working to promote a paid business platform. Head to squarelovin.com/basic to access the free version.
- My @etsymarketer account is new, so the numbers are a bit dull. Instead, I’m sharing my personal account numbers from @thailandfortwo. With more data, it’s easier to make better insights to define best practices or identify what to adjust.
Curious if Instagram marketing actually works? Well, check out what this successful Etsy store’s BEST marketing channel is.
Identifying Best Times to Post
Perhaps the most actionable piece of data is tucked under the optimization tab. Here you’ll encounter graphs measuring the best times to post determined by interaction. Particularly with new accounts, this can help you hone in optimal times to post.
This is great to get the most bang for your posts. Why do unnecessary work when you don’t need to?
Here is what you will encounter. Square Lovin pulls data from the last 90 days, which is a good data set to make insights.
When I saw this, I realized that posting twice a day was good for me. The first time around 10am or 11am, the second time around 11pm.* At the time, I was posting several times a day. Engagement tanked during the other hours. Currently I’m working to restrain to twice a day, as well as trying to hit those two time slots.
Note: I’m currently traveling in Asia, so the times that work for me will probably differ drastically from your ideal times. Continuing my travels will make it interesting to continue to hit the same time slots.
Hashtags to Use
Hashtags are the key to joining conversations on Instagram. You can use up to 30 tags in a post, although most experts advocate for 12-15 hashtags per post.
You want to identify hashtags that have enough volume to lead people to your post, but not too much where you get lost in the conversation. That’s why you need to evaluate your hashtags. Currently Hashtagify.me is the only free tool I know of to help you do this. Here you can type in a hashtag and they will show you how popular it is as well as related tags.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Tailwind, my favorite Pinterest scheduling and analytics tool, recently announced they are launching robust a robust Instagram tool. They’ve promised tons of data, analytics and the ability to do in-depth keyword research. There’s even mention about the ability to compare groups of hashtags.
How cool would that be? Needless to say, I’m giddy for it to debut. Stay tuned for details.
Instagram is slowly rolling out new algorithms to control how posts are seen. They are going to work to customize a user’s feed with the best content possible. This will be measured in part by evaluating likes and comments.
Comments and likes are going to become more and more important as Instagram evolves.
To see how your posts are doing, go to the “Engagement” tab in Square Lovin. Here you can see the most liked posts compared to the ones with the most comments.
Tracking Account Growth
Most likely one of your goals is to increase your number of followers. Square Lovin shows you how many followers you have gained in the last 7 days (Analytics -> Overview) as well as for the last 30 days (Analytics -> Community).
You want to aim for a gradual upward trend. That is unless of course you happen to be able to pull off a drastic upward arch. Most of us will have gradual growth.
If you have fluctuation of followers and unfollowers, don’t worry too much. Countless Instagrammers utilize a follow for follow strategy. When they realize that you didn’t follow them back, they quickly unfollow you and head onto searching for accounts to play their game.
When you start to have substantial unfollow numbers, it’s an indication that you are not creating content that aligns with your followers.
It’s important to have a monthly goal for followers. It helps you measure progress. Starting out you will most likely be gaining 200-300 followers a month. As you growth, those numbers will start to increase. The other key is to pinpoint dramatic growth. If you were featured by another account or did a contest, how did that influence your follower count? Did they continue to follow you for a long time?
Take all the variables into consideration so you can continue to build a strong strategy.
Website Traffic and Instagram Analytics
Instagram website traffic is fickle. When you click on a profile link, Instagram kicks you onto the mobile default browser. As a user, the process is fairly seamless. As a marketer, it’s infuriating.
When you pull up Google Analytics, that redirect results in “direct traffic.” Basically you get zero credit for your continuous Instagram efforts. If you’re in a position to justify the medium, this can be very challenging.
There are two “fixes” to this. The first is to create a custom landing page that you users can only access through your Instagram profile. By process of elimination, you can attribute all the traffic to that page from Instagram.
The downside is that you are also creating a separate landing page.
The other alternative is to create a special tag on the URL you put in your profile to indicate that it is from Instagram. This is a more advanced step. To break it down for you, Hub Spot has a great step-by-step post walking you through the process.
Once you have one of those options in place you can measure the traffic from Instagram.
What Data are You Measuring?
Let me know what Instagram data you are finding helpful in your business! If you have questions, feel free to drop them in the comments. If you’re new to Instagram, check out my 5 tips for getting started.