Key Metrics for Instagram Success

Instagram is the leader among social networks when it comes to brand engagement. Does that surprise you? In 2014, Forrester confirmed what many were already thinking when they looked at more than 3 million interactions with more than 2,500 brand posts across the social stratosphere. They found that Instagram garnered 58 times more brand engagement than Facebook and Twitter.

Here is a visual of what that looks like.


If your brand can produce rich, visual, relevant content, Instagram is where you should be. As with all social media platforms, analytics is the key to success. Instagram does have an in-house insights tool, but it is currently only available to advertisers with the hope that it will be released to other brands later this year. In the meantime, there is no shortage of third-party tools you can use to monitor your Instagram analytics.

Many of the Instagram metrics you need to track are similar to other platforms, but some are unique or more important to Instagram than others. These are a few you should be measuring for Instagram success.



Hashtags are the backbone of conversation on Instagram. They help followers and brands create and share content that is relevant to them and the people they want to reach. With hashtags you can start or join an existing brand-relevant conversation, monitor brand sentiment, and even find content for your feed.

      • Hashtag Campaigns
        Hashtags campaigns are an easy and fun way to raise brand awareness and monitor the conversation in real time.Last year, Madewell hosted an Instagram flash mob to raise awareness for their jeans. Taking advantage of their media connections, they asked 500 employees, fashion bloggers and magazine editors to post a shot of their denim with the hashtags #denimmadewell and #flashtagram.
        View this post on Instagram

        #denimmadewell #flashtagram

        A post shared by victoria (@oh.sopretty) on

        The cost-effective campaign lasted for one day, contained almost 2,000 posts and received more than 160,000 likes from the posts.
      • Brand Sentiment  How happy are people with your brand? Social media users often attach common phrases that show their satisfaction or distaste for an experience or brand. Look for variations of your brand name or campaign that include the words win, fail, etc. in hashtag form.
      • Trending and popular hashtags Tracking popular and trending hashtags is a great way to join existing conversations and reach potential new followers. There are multiple tools out there to show what hashtags are trending right now as well as those with steady popularity. Find a few that are relevant to your brand and utilize them.

New Follower Rate

It is no secret that you want your followers to increase, but the rate at which you are gaining followers is indicative of the quality of your posts. Did you notice a sudden jump or dip in numbers? Chances are it directly coincides with a post. Analysis of your wording, image, image quality, and hashtags will give you an idea of what brings new followers in and what drives them away.

Engagement per Post

When it comes to engagement, you want the highest percentage of your followers engaging with your brand as possible. A large number of followers doesn’t mean much if they aren’t favoriting or sharing posts, commenting, spreading your hashtags, or clicking through.

Which posts are consistently bringing in engagement? A company like IKEA may receive ample commentary and likes on before and after posts, but only a handful of likes on photos that are straight from the catalog.

When you know what type of posts are driving the most brand engagement you can better tailor your content for success.

Optimum Time of Day

With Instagram, timing is everything. Unless they are using a third-party publishing program, users can only upload content via a mobile device. It is possible to use Instagram’s desktop site to view photos, but the vast majority of the activity is mobile.

What does this have to do with timing? To draw the most engagement a brand has to post at times when their audience is the most active on mobile devices. This varies for different demographics and psychographics, but finding the optimum time to publish is not difficult with analytics.

Pay attention to the time and day users are commenting and sharing your content. This is when you should be scheduling posts. Each day of the week needs to be analyzed individually to ensure maximum engagement throughout the week. Your brand’s peak time on Monday is most likely different than Wednesday.

Take Away

Instagram is a fast-paced, fun social media platform. The dependence on stunning images separates it from the more text-heavy Facebook and even Twitter. Take advantage of the visual aspect and these metrics to showcase your brand in a unique way that is relevant and compelling to your audience.

Contributing editorial resources and research by intern Rebecca Waugh


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