Instagram is one of the most appealing online platforms around, which is evident from the fact that it now holds the place of 6th most popular social networking site, with billion-plus users per month and 500 million those who actively visit the platform every day.

The vast audience from all backgrounds and niches, while it certainly brings a sea of opportunities for brands, businesses, influencers, etc., there is no denying that such numbers also make the competition on the platform equally fierce.

Needless to say, the race to the top of Instagram with a large following is not only hard to accomplish but also equally hard to manage in terms of understanding what works and what doesn’t.

In the decade of its existence, Instagram has launched a plethora of new features as it expands the scope of the platform, something that was initially designed as a simple photo-sharing app. All that while ensuring that people online have a system to measure their online growth, that’s right, the Instagram insights, a yet another brilliant feature that sets Instagram apart from other social media sites in its league and also ahead.

The following article discusses the importance of Instagram analytics for online growth and the key metrics as of 2021 one must keep track of.

The importance of Instagram analytics

Though it will not be wide of the mark to say that one can grow on an online social media platform such as Instagram without a dire need to analyze the analytics and data, the question here is not really if or not, but how efficiently and quickly one can reach to the point of calling themselves a successful Instagrammer.

The heavy competition online ever so often makes one question if it is really worth investing time and effort on social media platforms, especially for someone who hasn’t picked pace or is just starting out. But, while everyone knows that the scope and opportunities online are seamless, the need to strategize and execute them mindfully cannot be emphasized enough.

One such integral part of laying out an effective Instagram strategy includes exploring and analyzing analytics, or in this case, the Instagram metrics.

These insights help you plan better in terms of what type of content has been thriving when discussing growth and engagement online while also keeping one wary of everything that they are doing wrong, saving time and effort. Below are a few points to give you an idea of what avoiding analytics can result in –

  • Fewer reach and impressions on posts.
  • Wrong audience targeting.
  • Less engagement.
  • Ineffective marketing tactics including little to no conversions, even through ads.
  • Little profit on considerable efforts and time.
  • The Instagram analytics, in particular, are meticulously framed, which not just stop at the number of likes or comments but let one look at the broader picture of their presence online from audience behaviors to demographics, pattern, and much more.

    Which is to say, when you know better, you plan better.

    How to access Instagram analytics

    While simple analytics such as follower count, views, likes, and the number of comments on a post are visible for all account types, one needs to switch to a business account for accessing the detailed insights and info, that is, if you don’t already have a business account.

    However, for anyone who has recently transitioned to a business account, the analytics will take time to appear; this is because Instagram only takes into account metrics of posts and stories for business accounts, meaning it will consider posts that have been created after the transition and not before it.

    Some other bonus points of switching to a business account apart from the detailed insights include creating Instagram ads, adding links to Instagram stories, building a bio with contact details and email address, etc.

    Once you are done setting up a business profile, step-by-step guide to which can be found online, simply tap on the icon representing a bar chart on the top of your page, which will direct you further to the Instagram analytics.
    Let us look at some of the key metrics one must pay special attention to while exploring Instagram insights –

    Key metrics one must pay attention to


    Unlike other metrics on Instagram, which lets user acknowledge the direct engagement on their Instagram post or profile, impressions, as the name suggests, tells a person the impressions, a particular post, left, i.e., the number of people who came across it or the number of times it has been viewed.

    However, this number also includes those who did not necessarily interact with the post in terms of liking, commenting, sharing, etc.

    A good number of impressions on a post suggests that the post is made in the right direction with efficient efforts in place, and a low number of impressions let a person know that the post is being restricted and require a more strategical approach, making impressions an imperative metric everyone must keep up with.

    What’s more, since impressions mean that a certain number of people have come across or learned about your business even if they have not interacted, it will not be wide of the mark to call it the first step towards expanding one’s scope on the platform.

    To a certain extent, impression imitates the number of visitors or traffic on a website, including counting the individuals who visited multiple times.


    Reach could be referred to as an upgraded version of impressions. And though both of these suggest the number of people who viewed the post, reach certainly makes the metric precise by letting one know the number of unique visitors.

    Uniques visitors imply one view per person even if they visit the same post multiple times, giving an accurate measure of the value and awareness you are gaining.

    Therefore, for anyone looking to increase their brand awareness or reach a multitude of prospects, their prime focus must be on increasing the reach.

    Any post with fluctuating reach (higher or lower in number) can be efficiently studied to understand and strategize future posts and content, such as the type of hashtags that were used in a post that did well, the posting time, did you or not optimize call-to-action (CAT) for engagement, the content type it carried, and much more.

    So, ensure that you take proper notes of anything and everything you think favors high reach on a post and use the same to direct and enhance the performance of your future posts.

    Optimal posting time

    A lot of people tend to ignore the fact that Instagram algorithms in 2021 are built to favor timelines when ranking and presenting content on people’s feeds.

    That is to say; a person is more likely to see a more recent post that is consequently more relevant, which leads them to shadow posts and content made at a different time, especially in feeds of those who follow a plethora of other users.

    More often than not, the low engagement rates on a post, even if it a high-quality one, can be traced back to a wrong posting time and schedule, making it such that people never come across the post in the first place.

    Acknowledging the best time to make a post using Instagram insights helps one reach their audience at a time they are most likely to engage with the posted content, giving one a head start at attaining the best engagement results.

    While the insights and previous post results can be successfully used to discover an optimal time as per one’s content, audience types, etc., yet for anyone who is unsure or is just starting out, reaching out to the internet for a broader analysis of the same is the best way to go.

    Apart from the optimal posting time, certain other posting plans, such as choosing the right day, such as weekends, holidays, or festivals to make a post, have also shown positive results for a number of users in terms of engagement they received on particular content.

    Views on Instagram stories

    The feature of Instagram stories that was launched back in 2016 has certainly been a favorable decision for the platform, a measure of which is the 500 million active users who engage with them daily. The popularity of stories is also evident from the fact that it is now widely being used as a successful Instagram marketing strategy.

    Needless to say, good Instagram stories can be proficiently used to build a strong relationship with the audience and understand what resonates with them the most, with the help of taps forwards, tap back, view count, etc.

    Another positive aspect of stories is that each story slide is featured with its own unique metrics that include navigation, replies, impressions, etc., making it easier to note what drew the audience’s attention the most and what caused them to skip away.

    Below are some ways to measure if a story has been successful or not –

    Drop off rate –

    It will not be wide of the mark to say that the first slide of your Instagram stories decides the fate of all the following slides and the eventual success of the stories as a whole.

    If the first slide of your story is engaging, eye-catching, and appealing to the audience, the chance is that they will run through and interact with the entire story increases, reducing the drop-off rate on it.

    Alternatively, one can also use the drop-off rate on stories to measure success. To calculate the drop-off rate, simply divide the number of views on the first story by the number of views on the last story and multiply the result by 100.

    Watch through rate –

    To a considerable extent, the watch-through rate is similar to the drop-off rate. It’s just that the former focuses on a positive aspect by letting one measure the percentage of people who watched your entire story from beginning to the end.

    To calculate the watch-through rate, divide the number of views on the final story by the number of views on your first story and multiply the result by 100, which will give you a percentage of how many people ran through all of your slides.


    Instagram has gradually and effectively shifted its focus on businesses and brands, expanding the already booming scope of the platform.

    In an attempt to enhance and ease the experience of marketers, the platform over the years has also launched several helpful features such as Instagram stories, product stickers, shoppable AR filters, shoppable posts, the recent addition of Instagram shop and much more.

    By adding the UTM parameters to the links used, a person can easily drive traffic to their website, apart from using the in-built shopping feature on Instagram. It allows a person to track the conversions, including the revenue earned, using any web analytics program of their choice, such as google analytics.

    Analyzing these conversions lets a person acknowledge the kind of content that drives the most traffic and what converts into sales.

    Instagram saves

    Instagram saves and shares, though an imperative metric to analyze authority and growth on the platform, are often underestimated by most individuals.

    The fact that people only save content that they think is of utmost importance or might be of use in the future intensifies the need for one to analyze the content for the same. The number of saves on a particular post can be viewed in the Instagram insights, among other data.

    If you have a brand, the saves could directly indicate a future purchase intent or popularity of a particular product, as for any other content type that is not linked with shopping suggests meaningful post, data, infographics, or anything that might add value to the user saving it.

    Instagram growth

    Keeping a tab of the number of followers one has gained over a certain period is one of the most apparent and easiest ways to gather info on the overall performance of an account.

    There are two ways one can go about checking the follower growth, first is to calculate the follower growth rate manually, and the second is through Instagram insights.

    Through insights –

    Instagram, making it easier for the users, introduced a metric option of ‘followed,’ and ‘unfollowed,’ in the insights, allowing one to get the precise data on how many followers one gains and lose each day. And, while it may not really be as helpful in directing one towards what has been the ‘good’ content for the account, it certainly helps point out the bad.

    For example, if a person makes a post and loses a certain number of followers, it strongly indicates that the post was a slip, something one needs to be mindful of while creating content in the future.

    Calculate follower growth rate –

    Another method is to calculate the follower growth rate. Instead of giving you the actual data, it presents the percentage growth, making it easier to understand how well your efforts have been working for the account.

    To give you an example – if the number of followers you gained in a month is 500 and the initial number of followers you had were 1000, then as per the follower growth rate, your account grew by 50%. However, if the number of followers you initially had were 10,000 with the gain of 500 followers in a month, then your account only grew by 5% that month.

    To calculate the follower growth rate of a month, divide the number of followers gained in a month by the number of followers one has at the begging of the month, and multiply the result by 100.

    Engagement rate

    Followers are necessary for an account, not to mention how they also act as the ultimate social proof of popularity and authority on various social media platforms. Nonetheless, the fact that followers do not drive the engagement one receives on their content cannot be emphasized enough.

    For brands and businesses, especially, the number of followers hardly makes a difference as their prime focus is not Instagram popularity but sales which are correlated with the engagement on a profile, therefore, making it necessary to improve performance.

    As you might have guessed, Instagram insights also offer the feature to keep track of engagement which precisely includes likes, shares, views, saves, and comments on a post.

    A low engagement rate, even if one has a substantial following, does little good for an account’s overall growth as it leads the Instagram algorithms into believing that people are disinterested in your content, reducing the chances of your posts being automatically promoted on the discover page or people’s feed. What’s more, its visibility might even be restricted on the feed of those who already follow you.

    While there are several ways to calculate engagement rates, including how different data and analytics tools approach it, one can also easily calculate it manually using a general formula – that is to divide the number of comments and likes on a post by the follower count, followed by multiplying the result by 100.

    Again, a good engagement rate suggests a working approach. At the same time, low engagement results are like alarms asking you to find errors in that particular post and address those in the future, alongside implementing Instagram strategies such as hashtags to increase reach.


    Though mentioned at the end of the list, analyzing the audience is a key step, missing which can lead all your efforts to waste, precisely because targeting the wrong audience is much like not targeting at all.

    People often put resources and efforts into creating wonderful content alongside efficient ways to promote it, to then come across little to no results, and in most cases, the reason is that they approached the wrong people with it.

    People interested in the content you have to offer or are related to the niche you work in make for the ideal audience, offering the best outcomes, whether it is clicking that follow button or engaging with a post.

    Instagram insights give you easy access to details like gender distribution of the audience, their age groups, location, days and time when they are most active, etc., making it easier for one to understand their targeted groups and strategize likewise.


    While the article mentions only nine key metrics, which undoubtedly effective, do not eliminate the need for a person to pick more detailed metrics depending on their business goals, the nature of their audience, and the scope for the account one has in mind.
    To say that Instagram is a booming platform will be an understatement, which also intensifies the need to step up the game for all those who wish to thrive on it. However, nothing can beat a person who has a good understanding of the race they are in. Happy Scrolling!