Instagram marketing is an increasingly important marketing channel for brands of all types and sizes, from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and everything in between. While most marketers have expanded their thinking beyond the likes and comments on their own Instagram page to a broader strategy that includes engagement with their target audience on competitor pages and elsewhere, many still view Instagram as a place for vanity metrics—the number of followers or likes your brand collects.
But, let’s face it…we all want more followers on Instagram. Who wouldn’t want double-digit increases in followers week-over-week? If you’re like most brands, it’s easy to focus so much on followers and likes that you stop paying attention to the accuracy and relevancy of how your content is performing. It’s not that followers and likes are unimportant. It’s just that tracking your engagement is going to tell you so much more about how people are responding to your content. Sure, a large following is a nice bonus, but if the quality of your engagement isn’t what you want it to be, then there was really no point in trying to get such a large following in the first place.
We’re at a time in marketing where numbers mean everything. We love seeing that our content is being talked about, liked and shared. We’re also comforted by the feeling that we’ve connected with our audience—even if they’re not tagging or mentioning us when they share it. While many metrics are important for Instagram success, here are a few you might want to reassess.
Just as it sounds, post saves are when people save your Instagram posts in their photo library and it allows you to see which content is resonating with your audience and should therefore be distributed more widely. Implementing post saves is one of the best ways you can increase engagement on your Instagram account, simply because it encourages people to engage with your content and also creates a seamless experience for the users and keeps your account active.
Post saves have been around for a while now but are only recently being recognized as a critical engagement activity that speaks to how content is resonating. Post saves show up in the activity tab as hearts, and, if someone is liked or commented on your post, you can also see those interactions. The value of these post saves becomes apparent when you consider that Instagram is a mobile-first platform, which means that almost half of all content on the platform is never even seen by its creator. Post saves by users then become critical to understanding what content they found interesting enough to take a screenshot of for later.
Social media marketers and brands have been heads-down in Instagram marketing for years now. Although we know that Instagram Stories may not lead to direct sales or conversions, they are a lot more than just promotional pieces. Stories on Instagram have a place to show off your culture, behind-the-scenes content, and much more. Unlike Snapchat stories where it disappears 24 hours later, Instagram Stories are live for 24 hours or you can decide which ones stay for longer after your audience has seen them. This is why brands have been putting a lot of effort into promoting their products and services on Instagram Stories too.
If you are using Instagram Stories to complement your overall marketing strategy, then we would strongly recommend measuring your story interactions. It is a metric that is used to track how many people viewed your Instagram Stories. This metric does not deduct interactions from your friends or public figures that interacted with your profile. It simply focuses on views and whether the viewer actively tapped on your story to view more of it, or swiped past it. You will want to make sure that you are tracking your Instagram Story interactions at least every two weeks since you will only have access to these metrics for a short period of time.
Story Reach Rate
When it comes to Instagram, many brands are looking to see how their Instagram Story compares to their Instagram feed. This is not the best way to analyze your Instagram Stories’ results. Your goal for posting on Instagram should be to drive engagement with your current audience. That also means you can get rid of follower counts as a metric that you measure your success against. Instead, brands should use Instagram Insights’ reach rate metric. The reach rate for Instagram Stories has been a hot topic over the past year or so. (This is no surprise considering Instagram Stories have proven to be more engaging than Snapchat.)
A reach rate for an Instagram Story post is calculated by dividing the total number of unique people who have viewed a Story by the total number of your followers. Since Stories are available only to followers, the reach rate of your Instagram Story posts is an important metric to monitor. By analyzing the reach rate for an individual post, or comparing it against a baseline, your brand can determine whether or not its Story content is resonating with your existing audience and respond accordingly.
Social media is a free way for brands to market themselves. And for certain channels, such as Instagram, the platforms provide metrics to help see how well those efforts are working. For social media, it’s all about engagement — being able to connect with people and answer questions they have about a brand or product. Social media has created a fast-paced landscape where an audience is no longer captive to your messaging, as they can easily click a button and move on to the next piece of content. Marketers need to be proactively aware of how their content is being received by actively tracking performance.