Instagram for business – part 3: measuring success

Online marketing and measuring success go hand in hand. If you want your marketing measures to be worthwhile and contribute to the company’s long term success in a sustainable manner, then you need to be able to identify exactly if and when a campaign is performing well. And if this is not the case, then you need to find out why and what needs to be optimized. Each marketing strategy requires a commitment of resources. It doesn’t matter whether these are of a financial or personnel kind, their use must prove to be worth their while, i.e. the return on investment (ROI) must be positive.

The approach to Instagram is in no way different. We already know of some sophisticated analysis tools from other social networks, and 2016 finally saw Instagram integrate their own analysis function. Users are now no longer reliant on third party providers in order to find out more about their followers and the performance of their posts. Here, you can find out what valuable information is offered by Instagram analytics, as well as which other Instagram tools, i.e. those not provided by the platform itself, you should continue making use of.

Instagram Insights

Anyone who changed from a standard personal Instagram account to a business one will automatically have access to the integrated Instagram statistics function. With this the social network is giving its users the opportunity to learn more about their followers, and also all users who react to their uploaded pictures and videos.

There is a lot of different data available. You can find out about users’ basic demographic information: Who are the followers? Is your audience more male or female? What is the average age of the users who like your posts? What is their geographic location? Additionally, you can also get a better insight into how well individual posts have performed. Which posts achieved the most impressions, and which photos or videos generated the most interactions in the long run.

How do you access Instagram Insights?

You can see whether your business account is set up (Read about how to do this again in our first article about 'Instagram for business' by checking to see if there is a bar chart symbol on your own Instagram account. Clicking on this symbol will bring you directly to the Instagram analysis section for business clients. At first you will see the account statistics from the last seven days. Along with impressions, reach, and profile views, you can also view the most popular posts and get more information on followers. Bear in mind that Instagram assesses the most popular posts based on impressions and not interactions.

While Instagram Insights relating to reach and impressions are theoretically available after a single like or click, in reality you actually need at least 100 followers to be able to access statistically relevant information on your demographic.

Instagram Insights for posts

It is also possible to view the statistics of an individual post. Underneath each picture and video in a business account, there is the option of clicking on ‘View Insights’. Here is where you will find information relating to impressions, reach, and number of interactions. If it is the case that you have used the ‘Instagram ads’ function in order to elevate the post, you will be able to view the figures for the original photo/video, as well as those for the ‘artificially elevated’ one. Here, we quickly explain what all these figures mean:

Impressions: This figure refers to how often a post was viewed by other users. Included in this figure are not just the impressions made by followers, who came across the post in their own feed, as well as other users who may have come across the photo or video, e.g. via the Explore section or by searching for hashtags.

Reach: Reach refers to the number of individual accounts that viewed a post. It is important to differentiate between reach and impressions. If one person views a post five times, this will be recorded as five impressions. Reach, on the other hand, will only count this person once. What is being tallied here is the amount of individuals who have seen your post.

Interactions: The number of interactions describes the amount of likes and comments that a post collects.

Website clicks: Fee-based Instagram ads aside, the platform actually only allows companies to post one single link – in the biography of an account. Under the tab ‘Website clicks’ it is possible to see how many people clicked on the website via the Instagram account.

Instagram statistics on followers

Along with the performance of posts, follower activity is also a part of the new Instagram Insights function. Alongside pure follower numbers, Instagram also provides comprehensive information on the demographic of your followers, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location

Most businesses are aware of who their potential target group is, and therefore will not encounter any major surprises here. However, it is still interesting to observe how a following on Instagram differs from that of Facebook. Getting this insight can raise questions such as: Do I need to optimize my Instagram strategy to better suit the platform? Should I design my content and advertisements differently from those on Facebook?

These statistics on followers also answer questions like: when are your followers online and, on average, how much time do they spend on the app? Among other things, this may lead to you reconsidering your posting rhythm and your content planning to suit this new information. Despite the new algorithm, the Instagram feed still has a tendency to swallow up new posts on a daily basis, leading to many followers never even seeing them. It’s much better to know exactly when the bulk of your followers are online, to gain the maximum amount of impressions. 

Alternative Instagram tools for measuring success

Thanks to the new Insights function, it is now finally possible to conduct an analysis within the app, similar to Facebook. Instagram analysis is a handy feature that gives a comprehensive overview of the most important statistics and figures. But to gain an even more comprehensive and detailed analysis, many companies utilize additional Instagram tools.

The ever growing significance of Instagram in the online marketing sector has meant that there are now many special Instagram analysis tools available from a wide selection of providers. These third party providers offer convenient user interfaces, with which it is possible to analyze user data, as well as track entire campaigns and pick out the best hashtags. As a marketer, this allows you to discover how well or how bad Instagram marketing campaigns are doing – and how they can be improved.


One of the best known analytics and management platforms for Instagram is Iconosquare, formerly known as Statigram. The tool offers a dashboard for all Instagram activities, reads through a feed, and follows new interactions and comments. This allows users to track their follower numbers on a daily basis, keep an eye on growth and decline, and identify their top followers.

Additionally, it is possible to analyze posts, compare recent posts with older one, and identify the best hashtag combinations and ideal time to post. Checking out the competition is also possible with Iconosquare – with the help of the search function you can track the profile or individual hashtags of competitors.

New customers can register on the website and avail of a free 14-day trial. Once this is over, you have a choice of several different packages, ranging from Plus to Enterprise. Prices for these packages start at $81 annually per Instagram account, or $9 monthly.


INK361 is a free (basic package) alternative to Iconosquare. As soon as you log in with an e-mail address and Instagram account, the clearly structured analytics and monitoring function is immediately available for use.

Along with the clear account management system, you are also provided with an overview of likes and comments. The tool also automatically calculates the Love Rate and Talk Rate for the registered profile. Just like with Iconosquare, you can learn more about your followers and gain helpful insights regarding the optimum time for posting, the use of hashtags, and filters. All this allows you to further optimize your account. The option ‘Custom Circles’ makes it possible to create user-defined circles and follow the content of certain accounts. The fee-based version offers the possibility of monitoring the competition, as well as even deeper insights into your followers.


Squarelovin is a platform for the organization of user-generated content, but also acts as a good free analytics tool for Instagram. Squarelovin users get a clear overview of their followers, the growth of an account, and the performance of posts. The tool measures user engagement and analyzes the exact performance of all posts, both individually and overall. As is the case with other tools, the results of these analyses opens up the possibility of further optimization. It’s possible to identify the best time for uploading new posts and find out what the ideal filters and hashtags are. Squarelovin analyzes the complete history of an account and draws attention to particularly good posts.

Instagram in the marketing mix: social media monitoring tools

Instagram is now no longer a niche marketing channel and part of many larger social media monitoring solutions. Among these, the best known ones are Socialbakers and Hootsuite. The handy thing about a tool that caters for more than just one social media channel is that it allows for a direct comparison of performances across all platforms.

Nowadays in the online marketing sector, it is the case that comprehensive monitoring tools are indispensable, forming the basis of every social media marketing strategy. They allow you to acquire valuable information about your audience and to get to know your followers better. Tools like this also help to optimize your strategy, prepare posts better, as well as make these posts more prominent.

A different analytics strategy is required when we are dealing with non-organic reach but with reach that is paid for, i.e. advertisements. You can read about how to advertise on Instagram, as well as how to measure and optimize the performance of Instagram ads in the next part of the series.