I recently caught up with co-owner and marketing mastermind behind Boston co-retail space For Now, Kaity Cimo. She runs the space with friend and business partner Katharine ReQua. They opened a year ago and have played home to over 80 brands in that time.
The Top 9 Instagram Metrics and KPIs to Track
Feeling overwhelmed by Instagram metrics and how to make it work for your business? Still trying to figure out which Instagram KPIs do you need to track?
You know what you want—an engaged and growing audience, but you’re not alone if you don’t know where to start.
Here at Ampjar, we know how important Instagram is for your business—it’s where it all started for us with our Fast Emails and we continue to rely on it to connect with our current and prospective users.
This makes understanding Instagram crucial for your brand and in this guide we’re going to breakdown some of core Instagram metrics and show you how to find, track, and apply them to your business.
1. Engagement per follower
If you use Instagram for your business there’s no doubt you’ve heard the word a thousand times: engagement.
Put simply, engagement is a basic way to measure your Instagram account’s performance and no matter if you have 2,000 or 200,000 followers it’s their engagement that really moves the needle when it comes to business.
What is Instagram engagement?
Engagement is how many individual followers have liked, commented on or saved one of your posts.
While it isn’t a matter of absolutes, it’s good to have a benchmark to know if you’re on the right track.
According to Scrunch, industry standards put an engagement rate of 1% – 3% in the category of average to good, while a rate of 3%+ is very good and shows that the audience is very engaged with the content.
Where can I find my page’s engagement rate?
When it comes to how to calculate Instagram engagement rate, divide your total number of likes and comments on a post by your total number of followers.
Let’s walk through this step-by-step on how to measure Instagram engagement:
- So if let’s say you have 6,000 followers, and a post receives 253 likes and 50 comments (=303 engagements).
- Divide 308 by 6,000 and x 100 = 5.05.
- Your engagement rate, for that post, is 5.05.
- Now go and pop the champagne because that’s a really good engagement rate.
To work it out as an average score over a period of time use the steps below. This score is more telling of your average engagement rate and allows you to adjust your strategy as you go to ensure you’re keeping your audience engaged.
- Add all likes and comments on all your posts over a set period – perhaps 30 days. So let’s say all posts combined attracted 1036 likes and 234 comments.
1036 + 234 = 1270
- Divide this by the number of posts within that period. Let’s say 23 posts.
1270 / 23 = 55
- Divide this by the number of followers and multiply by 100 to get your percentage
55 / 3,000 followers x 100 = 1.83
And there you have your average engagement rate over a month.
If you’re working with influencers regularly and want to quickly work out their engagement rate you can sign up to tools like Scrunch that can figure it out for you.
Why is engagement important for your small business?
Followers are just a vanity metric without knowing the engagement rate.
We’ve all seen Instagram accounts that gain thousands of new followers every day but if they don’t engage with the content then they might as well not be there at all.
We recommend you track increases or decreases in your engagement rate every month – you can do this with a simple Excel spreadsheet with the month and some key notes about your Instagram activity that month. Did you run a competition? Try a new collaboration? Post twice a day instead of once? These simple stats will be crucial in evaluating and modifying your Insta strategy.
This example shows how straightforward it can be. When this brand ran a competition their engagement jumped and stayed that way when working with an influencer.
2. Impressions & Reach
Impressions and Reach are two of the core Instagram metrics to track related to your account’s visibility. They are also easy to confuse so it’s important to understand the difference before you start measuring them.
What are impressions and reach?
- Reach is the number of unique users that saw your post or story. So if 125 users eyeballed your post that is your reach.
- Impressions are the number of times your content, whether a post or a story, was shown to users. So a single user may be delivered your content three times, and may not interact with it at all, but this still goes towards your impressions.
Where do I find my page’s impressions and reach?
Head to Instagram Insights and scroll down to see a series of bar graphs that reveal the total impressions and reach.
Why are impressions and reach important for your business?
Reach and impressions tell you whether you’re getting in front of your audience’s (or customers’) eyes. If you’re not, then this is an issue you need to address—there can be lots of reasons why but knowing what the problem is is the first step.
Hootsuite has some great tips to help you understand the difference and to figure out which is most important to your business.
If you have increasing reach month on month, that means your content is likely making its way to new users – a good thing for any growing business!
3. Instagram Follower growth rate
Everyone wants to grow their followers – each little uptick is a like a dopamine hit to our brains and it’s easy to equate follower growth with progress. However, much like the engagement rate, you can learn a lot more by applying a bit of math to your followers count.
Enter follower growth rate.
What is follower growth rate?
The clue is in the title with this one: it’s how quickly you are gaining followers over set periods of time. By taking your follower numbers and comparing them over time, it’s much easier to see if you’re gaining followers at a greater scale (or losing them).
Where do I find my account’s follower growth rate?
The easiest way to track follower growth rate is by looking at how many followers you gained in a month.
(To keep it simple you could add as a row to the spreadsheet example above.)
Take this number and divide it by the number of followers you had at the start of the month.
- You have 2,300 followers at the start of January.
- At the end of the month, you have 2,455. That’s an increase of 155.
- Divide this number by the number of followers you had at the start of the month.
155 / 2,300 = 0.067
- Multiply by 100 to get your percentage.
Follower growth rate for January = 6.7%
Add this figure into your spreadsheet each month, allowing you to measure any increase or decrease and over time analyze any trends beside activity.
If you have some funds to direct towards tracking Instagram then there’s plenty of apps to help you out too.
Why is follower growth rate important for your business?
This stat is arguably more telling than how many actual followers you have. A small, but consistently growing audience is a very positive reflection on your marketing activity and brand awareness.
How many followers you want or need is totally dependent on your business. A wedding photographer can only attend so many weddings in any one year. On the other hand, if you sell an ebook of your recipes, you can potentially service unlimited customers.
Beware of accounts who rapidly acquire followers—unfortunately, Instagram is still blighted by fake accounts and bought followers. The silver lining here is that some of the accounts you see that appear wildly successful may be very far from it.
Remember, what success is looks different for every brand.
4. Best time to post
Despite what the I-always-seem-to-be-traveling-crowd might tell you, timing does matter when you’re posting for your business. After all, one of your goals should be to maximize your reach so it’s advantageous to plan your posting around peak times.
What does the best time to post mean?
The best time to post for should be based on both global trends and your follower data – let’s look at the trends first:
Sprout Social recently analyzed data of 25,000 of their social media users and found the best times for brands to post on Instagram were:
- Wednesday at 11am and Friday at 10–11am
- Wednesday is the overall best day to post to Instagram
- The safest times to post are Tuesday through Friday, 10am–3pm
They found the least amount of engagement on Instagram occurs:
- On Sundays
- Late night and early morning from 11pm–3am
When looking specifically at Instagram for consumer brands they found:
- The best time is Wednesday at 3pm
- The safest times to post are Monday through Friday, 11am–5pm
- Higher engagement occurs on Saturday around 10am.
Additionally, Later analyzed 12 million Instagram posts and found that the best time to post on Instagram is between 9am-11am for both reach and engagement.
Where can you find more about the best time to post for your account?
As you can see above, there is a lot of data and studies that can help you plan when to post.
However, to find the best time to post for YOUR business, you need to track your own data to measure success and engagement.
You can do this by jumping onto Instagram Insight, hitting Audience, and scrolling down to the Followers section. There, you can check out when most of your followers’ peak times are.
It’s important to track your times and success and trial any changes for at least a month so you can measure the impact.
Why is the timing of posts important for your business?
By tracking performance at different times of day over a period of time you’ll be able to identify when works best for your audience.
It’s not all blanket rules or global trends – a gin brand will have different peak times compared to a coffee roastery. A brand targeting mums of young children are less likely to be late night scrollers than brands targeting a teen audience.
That said, it is still worth looking at some global trends to set you on the right path. From there you can tweak and personalize your schedule.
These days there’s no need to be physically posting at your peak times—make sure to schedule posts ahead of time!
5. Traffic to your website from Instagram
It’s safe to say that the goal of most business Instagram accounts is to drive users from the app to their website. This traffic can then be used to sell to, reengage, and even increase awareness, but your options get a lot smaller if you don’t get them off of Instagram.
What does traffic to your website from Instagram mean?
Traffic from your Instagram account to your website means exactly how many people convert from scrolling to clicking through to your website.
Where can you find how much traffic is coming to your website from your Insta?
Head over to the Insights tab and look at ‘Website Clicks’ to show how many people have clicked on the website link in your bio.
You can also take a look at Google Analytics under Aquisition > All Traffic and see how many visitors you’re getting from Instagram and Instagram Stories:
Why is it important to track traffic from to your website from IG?
As a brand on Instagram, chances are your main objective is to drive traffic to your website, and eventually sales.
There are more than 500 million people who use Instagram every day—you want a piece of that pie for your business!
There’s a few easy, must-dos to increase traffic from your Instagram followers to the website:
- Put your website link in your bio.
Sounds simple but with short attention spans, you want to make finding your website (and a chance to buy) as easy as possible for your followers.
Keep things fresh and change the link as often as you like to direct people to a particular page like a sale or seasonal promotion. Use your caption to direct people to the link – no need for anything more complicated than ‘Follow the link in bio’.
- Use the ‘Swipe up’ feature in Stories
It’s all about the call to action. In your stories use a simple call to direct followers to your website—“Swipe up to buy now”.
- Use competitions to direct people to your website
This is a good way to encourage people to head to your website—a dangling carrot of the chance to win something. There are some more ideas here.
6. Hashtag engagement
We all feel like we need to add in relevant hashtags to every post, but the big question is: Do they increase engagement? Which hashtags resonate best with your audience?
What is hashtag engagement?
Hashtag engagement is knowing which tags drive the most engagement throughout all Instagram posts. For example, we use #growwithAmpjar and tracking engagement will allow us to see every time that tag is used in a post, regardless of the account from which it’s posted.
Knowledge is power and a little research can go a long way. You use Insights to find out which hashtags have been performing best and adapt accordingly.
Where can you find what account’s hashtag engagement?
You can follow these easy steps to measure hashtag engagement:
- Open a post, and tap Insights.
- Swipe up for detailed data including where you post was discovered—including those that came from people searching a hashtag.
This stat, as a percentage of your total impressions, is helpful to figure out if your hashtags are working for you (as well as what types of Instagram posts are resonating your audience). Knowledge truly is power—if you don’t know how effective a hashtag is then how can you decide whether to keep using it?
Hashtags for businesses need to be specific rather than general if you want them to help you reach a new audience. They can be the chance to help build or tap into an existing community but tracking the data is key.
Why is hashtag engagement important for your business?
Which hashtags attract the most attention and drive the most engagement? Finding the answers to these questions will help you refine and improve your strategy.
According to Later, a post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag.
So it’s definitely worth looking into hashtags and evaluating which ones work best for your business and tracking this metric as part of your IG strategy.
Don’t forget you can also add hashtags to your Stories, making it searchable. So if you tag your Story with #SmallBiz and someone searches that hashtag, your Story will appear just like a post would.
7. Branded tags
A branded tag is the slogan of the Instagram world and watching yours sink or swim will show you a lot about your brand’s reach and exposure.
What are branded tags?
A branded hashtag is something that is unique to your business—it can be a spin on your business name, something to do with one of your products or just a tagline you claim as your own! For example, Lululemon uses #thesweatlife:
Here at Ampjar, we use #growwithAmpjar:
An author might use the name of the book as the branded tag just as Sarah Wilson did with her new book #SimpliciousFlow:
How can you find out if your branded tag is working?
You can see if your branded tag is gaining traction the same way you track a regular hashtag: by checking Insights.
Why are branded tags important for your business?
A branded tag is great if you want to encourage your customers to be online ambassadors and tag you when they share relevant posts. If they use your tag it not only helps you find their content, it also helps new audiences see your product!
When someone mentions you in their post you want to know about it. Whether it’s ‘Hey @Ampjar, love the new features’ or ‘Hey @Ampjar, my campaign won’t send’ – exploring the good, the bad and everything in between will help you get to know your audience better.
What are mentions?
Mentions are when someone tags a post with the ‘@’ sign + your account handle, like @Ampjar or @lululemon.
How can you find your account’s mentions?
You can track mentions simply by looking at your activity:
Why are mentions important for your business?
While it might not be in the top few Instagram KPIs to follow, there are some pretty good reasons to pay attention to your mentions:
- A chance to hear what your customers are saying – good or bad.
- A way to track genuine and organic consumer sentiment. If people have discovered your brand and are essentially acting as free brand ambassadors, you want to know about it.
- Equally, if one of your customers is unhappy, you want to jump on it before it snowballs. Gone are the days of waiting on the phone for a customer service representative – if people have got a complaint social media will be their first port of call.
Miappi warns against forgetting that customer service is just as important when it comes to social media.
There are all kinds of alarming stats out there about the power of negative reviews and experiences like this: Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor service experience, versus the 11 people they’ll tell about a good experience. Read more here.
If you experience negative feedback on Instagram, act quickly, use mentions to address their comment and then perhaps jump into DMs or email to sort out the issue in private.
9. Stories metrics
Instagram Stories launched in 2017 and there are already plenty of usage stats that you can’t afford to ignore. Instagram data shows:
- More than 50% of businesses on Instagram produced an Instagram Story in the last month.
- More than half of Instagram’s 500 million daily active users are on Stories.
Stories can be used in all kinds of clever and inventive ways – to promote sales, give your brand an authentic voice, and create a connection and introduce your team, product or service tutorials.
What are Stories metrics?
As with all things social, you’ll need to track your Instagram performance when it comes to Stories, too.
Here are the most common metrics, where to find them, and why they’re important:
The total number of people who have viewed your story. Click on the eye icon to see exactly how many people have watched your story and who they are.
- Completion rate
Completion rate shows how many viewers completed your story which is a great sign that you’re not only getting their attention but keeping it.
For a simple calculation, divide how many people watched the last by how many people watched the first story, and multiply by 100. This is your completion rate.
- DMs from a story
Direct messages are a chance for your audience to start real conversations and perhaps even start to build something authentic. This is a good metric to track in order to see if your Stories are resonating with your audience.
- Story retention
Story retention is arguably the biggest Instagram Story metric to watch and shows what percentage of your viewers are watching all your Frames.
You can also dive deeper and see where they exit, thereby allowing you to see what type of content is working or not.
- Profile visits
This is the number of times your profile has been viewed and is often the first step before the convert to a follower.
You can easily check this stat by looking in your Insights – under the ‘Activity’ section.
Phew! And this is by no means an exhaustive list of Instagram KPIs but if you jump in and track even a few of these metrics, you’ll have a solid foundation to inform your Instagram strategy planning.
Here at Ampjar, we love seeing members of our community succeed and grow their businesses.
Tell us about what metrics you use to track Instagram growth: is it follower growth rate that you value most or perhaps your engagement rate?
Share your successes, learnings and help build each other up. That’s what we’re all about.
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