Instagram marketing

The Top Social Media KPIs You Need To Track On Instagram 

  • 13 Minutes
Measuring your performance is only half of what it takes to be successful on Instagram - you also need clear goals. Here's how to find and make those goals.

If you’re using Instagram for business, you need to have a plan in place for assessing and measuring your content’s performance.

We know that Instagram’s over one billion users are spending at least 30 minutes per day (on average) navigating the algorithm. Plus 81% of users are using Instagram to research products and services before they decide to buy.

So, your business needs to be capitalising on this huge volume of active users and find ways to capture and convert them into paying customers. And one of the most effective ways to drive tangible results from your social media marketing is to set and measure KPIs.

Keep reading to discover why KPIs are important to your social media strategy plus the most important KPIs you need to be tracking on Instagram.

What are KPIs?

In a nutshell, KPIs are key performance indicators. They’re used in a range of settings to measure your progress towards a particular goal.

Many businesses use KPIs to track the performance of their team or even certain departments within a company.

In the case of social media marketing, KPIs are used to measure the success and impact of your social media platform activity and campaigns. By reviewing and benchmarking your Instagram analytics and social media data, you’ll be able to assess whether your social media strategy is working (or if changes need to be made).

Why is it important to add KPIs to your social media strategy?

If you’re using social media accounts (and Instagram specifically) as a digital marketing and analytics tool, you need to have a way of measuring and tracking success.

If you don’t have goals or benchmarks to measure your results against, you’ll have no accurate way of assessing if your social media strategy is working.

Essentially, Instagram KPIs are the most effective way to keep tabs on your social media performance. When set and measured correctly, your KPIs can also indicate the return on investment (ROI) from your social media marketing, too.

Here are three powerful reasons why you should be setting and measuring KPIs as part of your Instagram marketing strategy:

  • KPIs give your Instagram content purpose and direction: instead of posting content for the heck of it, setting realistic KPIs ensures every Instagram post you share is working towards a tangible business goal.
  • KPIs hold your Instagram campaigns accountable for performance: with a set of benchmarks and targets to hit, you’ll easily be able to assess which content formats, placements, messages and assets is the most effective in hitting your goals. Plus, KPIs allow you to make informed decisions when tweaking or improving your campaigns, too.
  • KPIs help you attribute your business success back to your Instagram marketing: by tracking and measuring your social media analytics correctly, you can show the value and illustrate the impact of your social media marketing efforts on the bottom line. This can help you unlock more budget as a marketing manager or win over leadership teams when seeking extra investment in Instagram as a marketing channel.

Having a clear set of quantified goals in place will help you speed up your reporting, track campaign performance and allow you to make data-informed decisions about how to adjust or optimise your Instagram marketing efforts.

How to set Instagram KPIs

Just like any goals or benchmarks, your Instagram KPIs need to follow a proven framework that allows you easily measure and quantify success.

A popular goal-setting formula to consider is the SMART framework. It means setting KPIs that are:

  • Specific: you assign clear metrics and benchmark figures to your goals (such as, “Increase our post engagements from 50 to 100 per post).
  • Measurable: you set parameters to measure and track your progress (such as a monthly reporting meeting).
  • Attainable: you select goals that are realistic within your campaign period.
  • Relevant: you set KPIs that are tied back to specific business goals.
  • Timely: you assign a clear timeframe or deadline to each KPI (whether that’s monthly, quarterly or annually).

But simply setting a bunch of KPIs isn’t enough. The trick to driving meaningful results from your Instagram KPIs is to have processes in place to continually review, assess performance and optimise your Instagram campaigns.

So, let’s walk you through how to set, monitor and measure the effectiveness of your Instagram KPIs:

  • Step 1 – clarify your KPIs objective: what are you trying to achieve? Go beyond the metrics and think about what business goal you’re working towards instead.
  • Step 2 – assign responsibilities for this KPI: be clear about who is responsible for each part of this KPI (from your design team to data analyst) and make sure everyone is clear on what’s expected, what you’re measuring and why.
  • Step 3 – assess your current performance: to set benchmark data, you’ll need to figure out what results you’re currently generating from your Instagram efforts. This can then be used to compare your future results and campaign performance.
  • Step 4 – define your reporting milestones: how often you check in on your KPIs will depend on the length and duration of your Instagram campaign. But, make sure you do this often enough to identify trends and make changes if your activity is performing well.
  • Step 5 – review and refine your KPIs: on an annual basis, it’s worth reassessing the relevance of your Instagram KPIs and deciding whether or not they’re still giving you meaningful data about your social media marketing efforts. As your business changes, these KPIs should change too.

The key to setting KPIs successfully is to figure out what role Instagram marketing plays in your overall business strategy and set regular check-ins to continually review and refine your approach.

What are the KPIs you should be tracking on Instagram?

There are stacks of metrics and stats you can measure on Instagram. But, what KPIs should you have at the top of your agenda?

Ultimately, focusing on vanity metrics alone (such as likes and the number of followers you have) won’t move the needle for your business.

Here’s a rundown of the eight Instagram KPIs and social media metrics your business should be tracking as part of your social media channels strategy.

1. Reach & Impressions

Chances are you’re already very familiar with these common Instagram metrics: reach and impressions. But in many cases, these two terms are misinterpreted or grouped together entirely.

Let’s break down the differences for you:

  • Reach is the total number of unique people who’ve seen your Instagram content.
  • Impressions are the number of times your content was displayed on Instagram (even if a single user viewed your post multiple times).

In most cases, your impressions are likely to be higher than your reach on an Instagram post. That’s because a single user can have multiple impressions (or views) for one Instagram post.

The good news is that both reach and impressions metrics are recorded separately in your Instagram Insights, so it’s easy to track any trends or differences between these two KPIs.

Plus, you can even get more granular insights around reach (such as what percentage of accounts reached were followers vs. non-followers and even the top cities they’re located in). These granular insights can be really useful if you’re trying to get your brand in front of new audiences and build brand awareness.

Ultimately, whether you track your reach or your businesses’ number of impressions really depends on the goals of your campaign. If you’re wanting to assess how many unique users saw your posts, reach needs to be your top priority. However, if you’re looking to track brand awareness, impressions will show you how many times each post was viewed.

2. Engagement rate

Want to track how well different types of content is being received by your followers? By assessing your social media engagement rate, you’ll be able to see how your audience is responding to your Instagram content.

Rather than looking solely at the number of engagements (such as the number of likes, number of comments, saves and shares), your engagement rate benchmarks how your content performed based on your number of followers or post impressions.

But, there’s a lot of debate about how to calculate your Instagram engagement rate. While many people add up the post engagements, divide them by the number of followers you have and multiply by 100, others believe there are more accurate ways to measure your average engagement rate.

So, let’s run you through the three most common options for calculating your engagement rate on Instagram:

  • Option one: Engagement/Followers 
    • The formula: Engagement Rate = (Likes + Comments) / Followers x 100
    • Why it works: it’s an easy way to benchmark your engagement rate against your competitors’ using data that are publically accessible through Instagram. Plus it works well to check the engagement rate of potential influencer partnerships, too.
    • Drawbacks: it isn’t the most accurate method as it doesn’t factor in the number of users that actually saw your posts (impressions).
  • Option two: Engagement/Impressions 
    • The formula: Engagement Rate = (Likes + Comments) / Impressions x 100
    • Why it works: it’s more accurate and takes into account the number of people who actually saw your posts (not just your total follower count).
    • Drawbacks: while it’s good for internal uses, it’s impossible to use this formula to track the engagement rate of your competitors or influencers (as you don’t have access to their impressions data).
  • Option three: True Engagement/Impressions
    • The formula: Engagement Rate = (Likes + Comments + Saves) / Impressions x 100
    • Why it works: this is the most accurate way of measuring engagement as it also factors in saves (which are high-value engagement metrics on Instagram).
    • Drawbacks: again, it’s impossible to use this formula to track the engagement rate of your competitors or influencers (as you don’t have access to their impressions or saved posts data).

Again, the formula you choose will depend on your campaign goals. If you’re using engagement rate to compare your engagement to your competitors, option one is your best data. But if you’re most focused on accuracy, option three will give you the most detailed (and accurate) engagement rate metrics.

3. Follower growth rate

Looking to boost your follower count and reach your target audience on Instagram? If so, then follower growth rate needs to be a KPI you’re tracking on Instagram.

But just like your engagement rate, your follower growth rate reveals more than just how many new users tapped ‘follow’. In fact, it actually shows the pace of your follower growth and reveals how quickly you’re gaining (or losing followers).

To get started with tracking your follower growth rate, start by reviewing how many followers you gained in a month.

Let’s run you through an example:

  • Let’s say you had 2,300 followers at the start of October.
  • By the end of October, you have 2,455 followers (an increase of 155 followers).
  • To work out your follower growth rate:
    • Divide the number of new followers you earned with the number of followers you started the month with 155 / 2300 = 0.067
    • Then, multiply this number by 100 to get your percentage = 6.7%

By tracking this KPI month-on-month you’ll be able to see trends that appear in your follower growth rate. This can help you attribute the value of certain Instagram marketing campaigns or tactics to your follower growth as well (as you’ll know what months saw a spike in your followers).

4. Best posting times

You only want to publish Instagram content when your audience is online, right? That’s why tracking your best posting times is an important KPI to add to your social media marketing strategy.

The most valuable metric to use to determine your businesses’ best posting times is to check your own Instagram Insights.

Head into your Instagram app and navigate to your Audience Insights and review when your followers are most active. This is broken down by days of the week as well as hours each day.

And as your follower count grows, these best posting times are likely to change. So, make sure you’re tracking and reviewing these times on a regular basis to keep your records updated.

By publishing your content when your followers are likely to be online, you’ll boost the chances of your posts generating strong results (including reach, impressions, and engagements).

5. Referral traffic

Are you using Instagram (along with other social networks like LinkedIn) to drive traffic to your eCommerce store, website, landing page or app? If so, you need to be tracking how much referral traffic (a.k.a. the number of clicks) comes directly from your Instagram account.

This KPI is all about assessing how many Instagram users are taking action and heading to your website from your profile or social media posts via link clicks.

Within the Instagram app, you can navigate into your Insights to review how many users visited your website through Instagram. Head to Accounts Reached then scroll down to Profile Activity to review your website taps.

If you’ve set up Google Analytics on your website, you can also review the source of your website traffic and how strong your click-through rate is. Head into Acquisition > All Traffic to see how many website visitors are coming from Instagram and Instagram Stories.

By making sure you’ve got a link tool set up as a bio link and leveraging the Instagram Stories’ link stickers, you’ll be able to maximise your referral traffic through Instagram.

6. Instagram Stories metrics

Instagram Stories are a powerful platform tool to help you stay in touch with your followers and drive two-way conversations with your audience.

But in order to assess whether your Instagram Stories are driving results or not, you need to know which metrics you should be tracking.

Here’s a rundown of the most important Instagram Stories KPIs to add to your reporting mix:

  • Views: this shows the total number of people who’ve viewed your story and indicates the reach of your story slides.
  • Completion rate: this shows the number of viewers who have made it to the end of your Instagram Stories’ slide. A high completion rate shows strong engagement from your audience.
    • To calculate your completion rate, divide how many people watched the last slide of your story by how many people watched your first slide and multiply by 100.
  • DMs: direct messages show that your users are actively engaging with your brand on Instagram and starting two-way conversations. Tracking this KPI can help you assess how connected your followers feel to your brand on Instagram.
  • Exits: it’s also important to track the drop-off rate of your Instagram Stories and see which kind of slides are causing high exits. This will help you refine your Instagram Stories strategy and assets moving forward.
  • Profile visits: plus, it’s also worth reviewing how many people have headed to your Instagram profile from your stories. This indicates you’ve caught the attention of your followers and inspired them to take action (and get one step closer to a stronger conversion rate).

So, there you have it. When it comes to tracking your Instagram efforts, setting clear KPIs will help you make strategic decisions about how to improve your results and content performance. By setting benchmarks and goals and regularly reviewing your analytics, you’ll be able to pivot your approach and hold your Instagram content accountable for business success.

Photo of Kyra GoodmanKyra Goodman

Kyra is a Junior Marketing Manager and "Spicy Meme Master" at Sked Social who loves to create content. Born and raised in Hawaii, her favorite things are traveling, yoga, beaching, coffee and baseball. Connect with her on twitter at @kyra_n_goodman.

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