Did you know Instagram has more than 500 million active users and counting? Are you using Instagram to build a following for your personal brand, blog, or company? If so, you might be wondering how you can grow your follower count without engaging in odd tactics such as buying followers.
The best approach lies in Instagram’s native analytics platform, known as Instagram Insights. This platform is only accessible to users with an Instagram business account.
Here, you can find information about your followers, content, and Stories. By knowing how to interpret and implement this data, you can develop a quality growth strategy for your profile.
To find Instagram Insights, navigate to your Instagram profile on your smartphone – this feature is not available in the browser version of Instagram. In the top right-hand corner of your screen, you will see 4 vertical bars of varying sizes. Click this icon to access Instagram Insights.
Navigating Instagram Insights
Instagram Insights offers surface-level analytics about your followers, posts, Instagram stories, and promotions. This data is communicated through metrics including:
- Impressions: The total number of times your posts have been seen
- Reach: The number of unique accounts that have seen your posts
- Engagement: The number of times a post was liked, saved, and/or commented on by users
Additional metrics include profile views, website clicks, email clicks, and directions clicks.
When you first open Instagram Insights, you will be presented with a 7-day view of your account. Here you will find the number of impressions, reach, profile views, website clicks, and email/call clicks for the most recent week.
Under this section is Followers. This is where you can find information about your followers, such as:
- Activity (Categorized by hours and day of the week)
Directly below Followers, you will find a section full of your Posts. In this area, you can look at various metrics for your content, including reach, impressions, and engagement. You can also organize the posts by date range, metric, and type of content.
Following the Posts section is Instagram Stories. If you post regularly to Instagram Stories, you will find details about their engagement here. In addition to impressions and reach, this section provides insight into the following metrics:
- Taps Forward: The number of taps to see the next photo or video
- Taps Back: The number of taps to see the previous photo
- Exits: The number of times someone exited your story
- Replies: The number of replies (to your Inbox) a photo or video in a story received
- Swipes Away: The number of swipes away from this photo or video to skip to the next account’s story
Lastly, Instagram Insights also shows information about any promotions you may have launched on the platform.
Play around with the various sections of Instagram Insights. Once you know how and where to find specific information within the tool, it’s time to utilize the data and grow your Instagram following.
4 Ways to Leverage Instagram Analytics and Grow Your Following
After becoming comfortable with the built-in analytics platform, use the data to test out the following growth ideas.
1. Determine When Your Audience is Active
Instagram does not serve content to users in chronological order, meaning there is no true “best time to post.” However, you can discover when your audience is most active. You can find this information in the Followers section of Instagram Insights organized by day of the week and time of day.
Using this insight, plan to post your Instagram content within these time frames. Be sure to track the success of each post and time and adjust your schedule if necessary.
2. Appeal to Your Target Audience
When reviewing the Followers section in Instagram Insights, does the age, gender, and location information align with your target audience? If so, you’re doing something right! If not, you need to examine your posts and identify why you’re appealing to a different market than initially intended. Adjust your content accordingly to attract attention from the right audience.
On the other hand, if you’re unsure about who your audience is, Instagram Insights will tell you. With the audience demographic and geographic information in mind, you can craft relevant and timely content to appeal directly to this particular segment of your market.
3. Understand the Type of Content Your Audience Engages With
Users won’t want to follow your account if you don’t post content they are interested in. Using the Posts section, look at the engagement, impressions, and reach data for your Instagram Stories, photos, and videos. Out of the three content types, which tends to generate the best results? You can also organize your content by certain metrics and time periods. This is beneficial in determining what type of content your followers tend to interact with most.
For instance, use the tool to organize your posts by engagement over the past year. What do you notice? Did you do something similar in the copy? Did you use a specific hashtag that generated a lot of likes? Perhaps your image was stunning. Or, maybe your video asked viewers to comment below. Identify the commonalities between your top posts and implement them throughout your upcoming content.
By having a consistent and engaging presence on Instagram, you’ll attract more followers within your target market as time goes on.
4. Analyze Your Call-to-Action
Data from Instagram Insights is an excellent way to determine if your call-to-action (CTA) is working or failing. For instance, many accounts tell users to “click the link in their bio” for more information. In addition to the traffic acquisition data from Google Analytics for that particular webpage, Instagram Insights can tell you how many people clicked on the link in your bio over the last seven days. This information can help you test which calls to action work best to drive a specific action, such as website or call clicks on your profile.
Another commonly used call-to-action asks people to comment or tag a friend. By organizing your content by comments in Instagram Insights, you can see how many followers completed that action.
However, since you’re interested in growing your followers, asking people to follow your account (if they don’t already) is a beneficial call-to-action to use. Monitor your follower account to see if this CTA works well with your particular audience. If not, use the information from Instagram’s analytics to pivot accordingly!
How to Calculate Growth Rate
While Instagram provides basic metrics, such as follower count, it does not offer in-depth insight such as growth or engagement rate. You must calculate this information on your own. Alfred Lua of Buffer provides excellent insight on how to calculate growth rate and engagement rate using data from your Instagram Analytics account.
To find out how much follower growth your profile has experienced, perform the following equation:
[(Followers Then – Followers Now) / Followers Then] x 100
This results in the percentage change in growth over a particular period of time.
After adjusting your Instagram content strategy using the tips provided above, use the Growth Rate calculation to determine how well these tactics have performed in increasing your overall follower count.
How do you use Instagram Insights and metrics to grow your following? Share your thoughts and experiences with us by commenting below.