Guest Times: Using Instagram Analytics to boost ROI

By  | Jan 25, 2019 10:31 (edited)

The analytics that brands have access to on Instagram provides valuable insights about the audience, the success of the content and the effectiveness of the strategy.

So, how does a brand measure the ROI of their efforts on Instagram? Especially when the impact is so intangible, unlike measuring TV or print ads.

A lot of times, while the regular metrics are tracked, what it means to the brand is not realised. And so, it becomes very important for brands to not just understand the different metrics that are available to be measured, but also realise their implication on a brand’s performance.

Here are some key metrics that the brands should be tracking on Instagram to reap maximum ROI from their marketing efforts:

Organic reach

While the platform keeps evolving, at the base of it — Instagram is about discovery. It is where people stumble upon new brands, trending products and even remind themselves of old brands they have now forgotten about. 60% of Instagram users reported that they learned about a company or product on the platform.

The audience behaviour is definitely moving towards using Instagram as a product discovery platform. In fact, a brand’s Instagram page has become a homepage that people check out to understand more about the brand and what they have to offer.

Organic Reach has become one of the most important metrics to track on the channel.

  • All influencer efforts directing the audience to check out a brand’s content or channel adds to the organic reach.
  • When the audience interacts with the content and their friends tend to see your content, it adds to the organic reach.
  • Using popular hashtags and thereby winning a spot on the explore tab will see a growth in organic reach.

Overall, your organic reach is a clear understanding of the brand exposure. And since awareness is one key objective for brands on the platform, organic reach is a key metric.


Engagement is yet another key metric for a brand as it linked to how well your brand’s content will be discovered. The more viewers engage (like/share/comment) with your post, the more the algorithm favours your content and serves it to more people. So, if you manage to create content with high engagement consistently, your follower growth and reach (brand exposure) will also grow.

The average engagement rate is a key metric to analyse how well the content resonates with a brand’s followers. High engagement rates are also indicators of potential conversion and loyalty.

Brand tag is a metric that is usually overlooked. When a customer tags your brand, they are engaging with you at a very high level. Not only are they including your brand in their personal content but are also proud to share their association with your brand to their circle of followers. Brands should make efforts to try and increase the number of tags they receive, thereby also increasing the brand’s exposure to non-community members.

Comments are another key indicator on the quality of the engagement received by the brand. Algorithmic changes are also increasingly shifting focus on comments, unlike what the platform was earlier designed to be. In 2017, Instagram added threaded comments to help coherent conversations. And most importantly, in 2018, the platform introduced an algorithm that surfaced noteworthy comments from celebs, influencers and verified accounts. In fact, brands such as Wendy’s realised the potential of comments and have started driving high engagements by replying to users with their viral tonality.

Profile engagement is yet another metric that brands needs to start taking seriously. The little action around the brand’s Instagram profile such as profile visits, website click-throughs and content-saves also provide an idea of the audience taking an effort to engage with the brand beyond just a like. Especially since the Instagram page of brands is being used as a homepage, the bio, customised link, highlights and overall impression that a brand is making.

Click through rate

A lot of the brands on Instagram are also looking to leverage the platform to drive product discovery and lead users to their ecommerce platform. While the platform is comparatively restricted with respect to where an external link can be placed, Instagram stories’ swipe-up feature has begun to provide more promise. The content for Instagram story ads should drive exclusivity, immediacy and basically FOMO to ensure the audience swipes-up. The platform also provides full access to the click-through in real time, helping brands optimise to ensure they get the best of their investment.

Even the bio and how the text to invite users to click on the profile link needs to be carefully crafted, enticing those who have been curious enough to land on the brand profile.

Instagram stories

Instagram stories as a format has opened up a whole avenue of new metrics that can be explored by brands.

The polls of Instagram stories can help understand direct feedback and tangible feedback from customers and the community. This should be used to the maximum by brands to understand reviews of new products, business features and even campaigns. This allows the brand to honestly dialogue with their audience and even optimise future campaign plans and product features. This feedback from genuine customers and brand loyalists is invaluable and needs to be made the most of.

Instagram stories are generally measured by the number of views they have received. But there are two more ways of analysing this format to truly understand its effectiveness.

The percentage of followers who have viewed the story gives an insight into understanding the comparative performance organic reach of a post and the story. Tracking growth of this percentage of followers viewing the stories indicates effectiveness of the content.

The completion rate of the story is a good indicator for concepts that require multiple stories and how engaged the audience is with the content.

Tracking influencer activities

A large percentage of brand activities on Instagram take place as collaborations with influencers on the channel. Apart from measuring the usual reach and engagement on the collaborated content, it is important to provide unique links to each of them.

Measuring the click through of these unique influencer links will help analyse the performance of the different influencers and measure who is providing the maximum ROI.

Tracking fan growth around influencer activities is also a good practice since collaborations exposes a brand to new audiences and gives the brand a chance to grow the community.

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