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Instagram, Marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Analytics

Want to grow your Instagram account? Take a look at your Instagram analytics, and then take the time to really understand them.

Instagram analytics can help you target the right audience, post engaging content, get more views on stories, and so much more!

But learning all of the different Instagram metrics and terms, and how to use this data for growth, can be overwhelming.

In our Ultimate Guide to Instagram Analytics, we walk you through the ins and outs of your Instagram analytics, what each metric means, and how you can use this knowledge to build a winning content strategy:

Instagram Analytics: Share Image

Why Your Instagram Analytics Matter

Diving into your Instagram analytics is more than just finding out which photo, video, or story performed best.

Truly understanding how your content performs – by tracking key Instagram metrics over time – is the key to developing a content strategy that works for your business.

For example, if you’re running an Instagram account for an online e-commerce store, you may want to investigate how different product photos perform against each other. You might have some product photos on a white background, some on a dark background, and others out in nature or the city.

By using engagement data such as likes, comments, or clicks, you’ll be able to tell which type of product shots perform best so you know what you should be posting more of.

Instagram Analytics: Content Analytics

From here, you can then compare all product shots against your lifestyle content to find out which posts your followers like best.

If you find that your audience is more interested in product content, you may decide to invest more heavily in product photoshoots and scale back on the lifestyle photoshoots.

Whatever category your Instagram account falls into, delving into your Instagram analytics allows you to understand your audience’s wants, improve your content, and ultimately drive more traffic and sales!

How to Access Your Instagram Analytics

Instagram Analytics are only available to Instagram business profiles, which is just one of the many reasons we recommend switching to an Instagram business profile.

If you already have an Instagram business profile, you can easily access your analytics through the Insights tab in the Instagram app on your phone, or you can view your Instagram analytics on the web using Later.

If you haven’t transitioned over to a business profile yet, don’t worry, it can be done in just a couple of minutes, and you can follow our step-by-step guide here.

How to Access Your Instagram Insights:

First, we’ll cover how to find your analytics in the Instagram app.

Start by tapping on the menu icon in the top right corner of your Instagram profile, and then click on “Insights” tab, which will open the analytics for your business profile.

If you made the switch to a business profile very recently, it may take a while for Instagram to generate data for your account. Also, Instagram can only show you analytics for posts and stories that were published after you switched to a business profile.

Once you open your Insights, you’ll be able to find a ton of metrics and analytics for your posts, stories, and audience demographics.

How to Access Later’s Instagram Analytics:

Later’s new Instagram Analytics give you the Instagram metrics you know and love from the Instagram app, plus more data in an easy-to-use interface on your desktop.

You’ll also get up to 3 months’ worth of Instagram Stories analytics using Later, instead of just 2 weeks worth of data in the Instagram app.

If you’re not a fan of trying to cobble together screenshots from the Instagram app, then Later’s Instagram Analytics might be a good option for you.

Start by logging into your Later account on your desktop computer. From the menu bar on the left, navigate to the Instagram Analytics tab. You can switch between different social profiles to see analytics for your individual Instagram accounts.

Instagram Analytics: Later Analytics

If you’re on a free Later plan, you’ll have access to a basic analytics dashboard with a highlight of the top 5 best performing posts out of your last 30 posts.

If you are on a Later paid plan, you’ll have access to Later’s advanced Instagram Analytics!

Through the Later dashboard, you’ll find a comprehensive overview of how your posts are performing, with metrics like comments, likes, impressions, saves, reach, and more.


How to Get More Followers With Instagram Analytics

Before your deep-dive into your content performance, it’s a good idea to start with by analyzing your audience demographics.

If you want to get more followers on Instagram, it’s important that you know who you’re trying to attract!

Knowing where your audience lives, how old they are, and at what times they’re most likely to engage with your content are great for fine-tuning your content strategy.

Luckily, Instagram’s native analytics makes discovering this information very simple, and you can access it right from your app!

Instagram Analytics: Instagram Insights Audience

Let’s break down the demographic data:

Gender and Age Range

Instagram offers basic demographic information about your current audience, including gender and age breakdowns.

Not only is it simply good to know who you’re talking to daily, but you can use this breakdown to adjust your content strategy.

When you click on the Audience tab on the top of your Later Analytics dashboard, you’ll be able to track key insights about your Instagram audience, including their age, gender, location, and more to help you fine-tune your content strategy.

Instagram Analytics: Later Analytics Audience

For example, if your audience skews younger, you may want to post more frequently as younger audiences tend to be active on Instagram more often. Or you could test how memes or pop culture references perform, rather than posting strictly educational content.

Top Locations

Like the gender and age range charts, knowing your audience’s location can help you improve your posting schedule and the content itself.

Instagram Analytics: Instagram Insights Follower Locations

While you may see a large portion of your audience is located in English speaking cities or countries, if you also have a sizeable audience in non-English locations, you might consider adjusting your content strategy to be less copy heavy for broader understanding.

By viewing your top cities, you’re also able to learn what time zones most of your users are in, which can help you find your best time to post on Instagram.

Find Your Best Time to Post on Instagram

Finding your best time to post on Instagram is our #1 recommendation for getting more engagement on your posts. Every account has a different audience, in different time zones, so it’s important that you find your personal best time to post.

You can read our blog post here to get all the details, but the two easiest ways to find this information is by looking at when your followers are online. You can easily discover this in your Later Analytics dashboard:

Instagram Analytics: Later Analytics Audience Activity

You may find that engagement is roughly the same across weekdays, but there’s a higher uptick on weekends. This could be an opportunity to save your best or most important content for the weekends when your audience may have more time to view it.

If you want to be even more accurate about your optimal posting times, we recommend activating the Best Time to Post feature in your Later account (available on all Later business plans).

Best Time to Post automatically calculates your 7 top posting times based on how much engagement your posts get, so it’s tailored to your exact Instagram audience.

Your best times then appear on your content calendar, and you can then schedule Instagram posts automatically for your most optimal times.


Create More Engaging Content With Instagram Analytics

Now that we’ve honed-in on your Instagram audience and identified key insights, let’s take a look at how your content is performing overall.

It’s time to learn about your Instagram post analytics, what they mean, and how to use them to build a winning content strategy!

Note: Some of the following terms and metrics will overlap with your Instagram Stories and IGTV metrics, but we’ll cover each in turn.

Instagram Analytics: Engagement and Engagement Rate

Instagram Impressions

Impressions represent the total number of times your photo, video, or story has been seen. This number includes every time a user saw your post while scrolling through their feed, clicked through your business’ profile to view a photo, and viewed your content through Instagram Direct.

Instagram Reach

Like impressions, reach also shows the total number of views but rather than calculate it by total eyes on your content, it narrows it down unique users’ views only. On Instagram, these metrics will likely be very similar due to Instagram’s lack of in-platform public sharing functionality — that is, you’ll typically only see a unique post one time.

Instagram Analytics: Reach and Impressions

Instagram Engagements

This is the total number of unique accounts that have liked, commented, and saved a particular photo or video. Note that it won’t count multiple comments from the same user, which could happen in the case of giveaways where users tend to post multiple times to improve their chances.

How to Find Your Engagement Rate on Instagram

Engagement rate is the percentage of followers or viewers that engage with your posts. Generally, if you want to calculate your average engagement rate for Instagram, you would divide the number of likes and comments by your follower count, which will give you a percentage.

Instagram Analytics: Engagement Rate

One benefit of being on a Later paid plan, is that your Instagram engagement rate is automatically calculated for you! No math needed.

You can easily see which of your posts are performing the best in your feed, and what kind of content resonates with your audience the best.

Later Instagram Analytics - Engagement Rate

Track Your Follower Growth

Your Instagram Insights will also tell you how many new followers you gained this week, but it doesn’t allow you to view your follower growth over time. This can be frustrating if you want a visual snapshot of your account’s growth.

Luckily, with Later’s Instagram Analytics, you can monitor your follower growth in the last 3 months, which makes it super-easy to track and monitor the growth of your account and plan for the future.

Instagram Analytics: Later Follower Growth


Get More Views and Traffic with Instagram Stories Analytics

With over 400 million people watching Instagram Stories every day, Instagram Stories has become a great channel for businesses to engage with their followers, stay top of mind, and even make sales.

Like we mentioned, you’re only about to get 2 weeks worth of Instagram Stories analytics using the Instagram app, but you can get up to 3 months’ worth with Later’s Instagram Stories Analytics.

Ideally you would be using both, because swipe ups (traffic) and sticker taps data is only available in the Instagram app, and that’s important data to track too!

If you want to go in-depth about every Instagram Stories metric, read our blog post here.

Instagram Analytics: Stories Analytics

Just like your regular Instagram posts, you’ll find data for reach and impressions in both the Instagram app and in your Later dashboard.

You’ll also find these metrics specific to Instagram Stories:


Exits are the number of times an individual has swiped out of your story. Of course, this isn’t always a negative thing — it could mean that your story has concluded and the user has moved onto the next story in their feed or if you included a hyperlink, they’ve clicked out to learn more.

However, this metric can be incredibly telling and show where in your overall story you need to improve and retain users until completion.


Similar to engagements for photos and videos, replies are the number of times an individual has directly responded to a portion of your story. But unlike comments on a photo or video, these responses end up in your inbox and don’t appear publicly.

To access your Instagram Stories analytics, start by clicking on the Story Performance tab on your Later dashboard.

Instagram Analytics: Later Analytics Stories Performance

From here, you can see how your Instagram Stories have performed over the last 3 months, with metrics like impressions, reach, completion rate, average views per user, and the number of replies each story received.

Note: As an Instagram Partner, Later uses the Instagram API for all Instagram analytics, which does not include data for swipe ups, profile clicks, or sticker taps in stories. But you can always get this info directly from Instagram Insights, just remember to check in before the 2-week window is up.

And like your Instagram post analytics, you can also hone-in on your individual stories to learn more about how each of them performed over time.

Instagram Analytics: Details Instagram Stories Performance

For example, if you’re looking to test new visual strategies, like adding GIFs and buttons, and different calls-to-action (CTAs), you can then compare the performance of those stories to see which ones resonate the most with your audience.

And by tracking the completion rate or drop off rate of your Instagram Stories, you can learn what story length is optimal for keeping your audience engaged!

The more information you collect about your Instagram Stories performance, the easier it is to develop a strategy that really resonates with you audience.


Increase Video Engagement with IGTV Analytics:

This year, we saw the launch of IGTV and it’s already changing the way we watch and engage with social video content. And brands and businesses are really stepping up their game when it comes to creating video content that works on the platform.

If you haven’t created your channel yet, we have a full guide to IGTV to help you get it set up and running!

If you’ve already jumped on the IGTV bandwagon and want to see how your videos are performing, here’s how to do it:

From your Instagram profile, tap on the IGTV icon. This will bring you to your IGTV channel.

Tap on the video you would like to see your analytics for and when the video starts playing, just tap on the ‘…’ icon on the bottom left-hand side of the screen.

Instagram Analytics: IGTV Insights

This will bring up and list of options. Simply tap on the “View Insights” button and it will bring up all the analytics related to your video.

Just like your Instagram Stories and posts, you can see how many times your video has been viewed, liked, and commented on.

Best Instagram Analytics Metrics: IGTV AWR

Your Audience Retention stats is where you should focus your attention. A “view” on IGTV is counted for every time a person watched at least three seconds of your video. So while your views may be high, that doesn’t necessarily mean your viewers watched the whole video.

But the Audience Retention stats are unique to IGTV and they let you see how long you’ve kept your audience’s attention for. It’s a great tool for pinpointing the perfect video length for your audience.

Pay special attention to your Average Percentage Viewed rate. It’s calculated as the percentage of your video watched as an average of all plays. So it shows you a clearer picture of how much of your video was watched by all viewers, even if they skipped forward and only watched certain parts.

By tracking and measuring your IGTV video stats, you’ll be able to strategize and plan your videos better in the future. It could be a simple as finding that video length sweet spot or including an intro to your video to draw in your audience.

Best Instagram Analytics Metrics: IGTV

As IGTV is still relatively new on the scene, it’s a great time to be brave and experiment with your content to see what works and what doesn’t for your audience! If you need some inspiration, check out our blog post on brands that are killing it with the IGTV videos.

How to Set Goals and KPIs Using Instagram Analytics

Now that you’re familiar with all the different metrics offered by Instagram analytics and other free Instagram analytics tools, it’s time to track and measure your performance.

Why? Because the learnings you get from analyzing your Instagram analytics are so powerful when it comes to strategizing for the future. You’ll be able to make better informed decisions for your brand or business, and make changes that make a real, positive difference your Instagram account.

One simple way to measure your Instagram performance, is by setting key performance indicators (KPIs).

A KPI is your selected metric that specifically measures the success of your content or campaign. How you determine your KPIs will ultimately depend on your business goals and what you want to achieve with Instagram.

If your business thrives on community, you may want to look to engagements as your KPI for photos and videos. However, if you boost an individual post, you may want to switch that KPI up and focus on reach to see what kind of impact your content has made on the Instagram community as a whole.

Or if you end up running a giveaway and require comments to enter, looking at comments as your KPI may be a great choice in determining a contest’s performance. You could then use this metric as a way to compare the success of your contests moving forward, by seeing which contest got the most comments.

Instagram Analytics: Comments KPI example

Whatever your KPIs, ideally you should focus on certain ones for evergreen content and others for your Instagram campaign. It comes down to your overall business goals!

Armed with your knowledge of different metrics and your Instagram KPIs, you’re now ready to build a winning strategy.

And while it might be tempting to isolate individual pieces of content and declare it a success or failure based on the KPI alone, it’s key to look at overall patterns and learnings. This prevents knee jerk reactions to content performance, which is always subject to influential outside forces such as holidays, busy news days, and more.

However you approach Instagram analytics, the most important thing to keep in mind that data is directional and never the be-all, end-all.

Treating metrics as the singular answer to what a successful Instagram looks like can stifle your creativity — use these numbers instead as a way to confirm what your intuition tells you or guide your next move.

So test out different KPIs, play around with your content strategy, and see what sticks. You may be surprised to see what works!

If you want to go even more in-depth about Instagram Analytics, you’ll want to download our free Instagram Analytics Strategy Guide here:


Written By

Nikki Canning

Nikki is Later’s Editorial Manager. She’s worked in digital media in Dublin, London, and Sydney and loves nothing more than hitting “publish” on a new post. When she’s not writing blogs with the Later team, you’ll find her outdoors with her dog, Arlie, or planning her next adventure — follow along on @nikkitravelled.

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