Top 8 Instagram Metrics to Track in 2021

By Monique Thomas

Published December 1, 2020

11 minute read

We're covering the top 8 Instagram metrics to track this year so you can level-up your Instagram strategy and grow your account!


Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

If you’re new to the world of data and analytics, knowing which Instagram metrics to track can seem like a daunting task.

But once you’re up to speed, understanding and analyzing these metrics can be revolutionary for your brand’s growth!

To help make it easier, we’re sharing 8 Instagram metrics to track for a stronger social media strategy in 2021:

Instagram Metrics To Track in 2021

#1: Reach

When it comes to monitoring your brand’s performance on Instagram, reach one of the most important metrics to take into account.

Reach shows how many unique accounts have seen your post, and therefore how much awareness and value you’re gaining.

So if your objective is to increase brand awareness and reach the highest number of users possible, you should be focusing on growing your reach on Instagram.

If a post receives higher (or lower) reach than usual, you can use those results as insight for future posts and stories.

What hashtags did you use? Was your CTA (call-to-action) optimized for engagement? Did you publish when your audience was most engaged? Was there anything different about the type of images  you shared that could have resulted in higher (or lower) engagement?

All of these factors can have a direct impact on a post’s reach, so it’s worth taking note of any changes that could contribute to an increase or decrease in your metrics.

What’s the Difference Between Reach and Impressions?

In a nutshell, reach reflects the number of unique views on a post, while impressions reflects the total number of views on a post (even if the same person viewed it 5 times).

From a brand perspective, keeping tabs on your reach (rather than impressions) is the best way to track how much brand awareness each post or story delivers.

One of the easiest ways to get an overview of how your posts and stories are performing is with Later’s Instagram Analytics:

With Later’s Instagram Analytics, you can track up to 3 months worth of Instagram posts and stories per each performance metric, so you can see which have performed best.

Plus, Later’s Instagram Analytics have separate “Post Performance” and “Story Performance” dashboards — so you can see exactly how each channel is driving value for your brand.

Ready to start tracking your performance more efficiently? Sign up to Later and explore the Instagram Analytics dashboard today!

#2: Sales

Instagram has introduced new features over the years to help brands drive sales on the platform (like shoppable posts, Instagram Stories product stickers, checkout, shoppable AR filters, and most recently Instagram Shop) and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon!

Along with Instagram’s in-built shopping features, you can also focus on driving people to your website by adding UTM parameters to any links you use.

By doing so, you’ll be able to track conversions using your chosen web analytics program (such as Google Analytics), including how much revenue you earned.

This is a great way to understand not only how much traffic your content drives, but what converts into actual sales.

Instagram also has one major advantage for e-commerce brands: a clickable link in bio. The link in your bio is one of the most valuable tools for driving traffic and sales from Instagram.

With by Later, you can turn your Instagram feed into a clickable landing page that’s optimized for driving and tracking sales.

And if you’re on Later’s Growth or Advanced plans, you can tag Shopify products directly in your posts.

All you need to do is connect your Shopify stores to make your content instantly stoppable — and fully trackable.

You’ll then be able to see all of the clicks and revenue your posts generate — straight from Later’s Instagram Analytics dashboard:

Setting up a is one of the easiest ways to get more value from your link in bio, while tracking every Shopify sale you drive.

Integrating Shopify to your is available on Later’s Growth and Advanced plans — it only takes a few minutes to get set up!

#3: Saves

Instagram saves are a useful metric that brands are tracking right now — especially with Instagram hiding likes on the platform.

With Instagram saves, users can collect and save a post for later, simply by tapping the “bookmark” icon in the bottom right corner of an Instagram post:

By tracking the number of saves your posts receive over time, you can understand what content prompts the highest number of saves and use this to inform your future strategy.

SAVE-BOOSTING TIP: Consider the type of content that your audience would be likely to save as a reference to come back to, such as motivational quotes, or carousel posts with tips or how to’s.

#4: Engagement Rate

Your Instagram engagement rate is a key indicator of how well your audience is responding to your content. If your followers are commenting, liking, saving, and sharing your content, your engagement rate will show it.

So how do you calculate your engagement rate?

The verdict is still out on the definitive answer to this question as every social media manager, analyst, and analytics tool has a slightly different way of doing things. But the general consensus is that, overall, it’s related to this calculation:

Divide your total number of likes and comments by your follower count, and then multiply by 100 to give you a percentage.

The good news? If you use Later, your engagement rate is automatically calculated for you. So you can put down the calculator!

If you notice that your engagement rate is high, it means that a large portion of the people who follow you are actively engaging with your content — you’re on to something!

On the flip side, if your engagement rate is low, it could mean a few things. Perhaps your content isn’t resonating with your followers, or you aren’t posting at the right time.

Keeping an eye on this metric is key to long-term success, as you can pin-point exactly what resonates with your audience — and use this valuable insight to inform your future content strategy.

ENGAGEMENT TRACKING TIP: Engagement rates can be misleading when it comes to video content, as people will often engage with a video by watching it, instead of hitting “like”. Use metrics like reach or comments for a more reliable benchmark.

#5: Instagram Stories Views

Instagram Stories are one of the best ways to build a stronger relationship with your audience — and tracking your view count, taps forward, and taps back, will tell you what’s really resonating with them.

Each individual story slide that’s posted to Instagram will have its own metrics — including replies, impressions and navigations:

You can use the metrics for each individual story slide to learn what holds your audience’s attention, what they tap back to, and what causes them to skip away from your content.

Here’s 3 ways to measure your success on stories:

#1: Watch Through Rate

Your Instagram Stories watch through rate measures the percentage of people who followed your stories from beginning to end.

Remember, this only applies if you have more than one story slide.

To calculate this metric, take your final story’s number of views, divide this by your first story’s number of views, and multiply by 100.

Watch through rate = Final story number of views / First story number of views x 100

This will give you a percentage of how many people watched through to the end of your story.

#2: Drop Off Rate

The first slide in your Instagram Stories series should grab your audience’s attention so they feel compelled to watch and engage with the entire thing.

To understand how many people drop off after your first story, you can calculate your drop off rate.

Drop off rate = First story number of views / Final story number of views x 100

To do this, take your first story’s number of views, divide this by your final story’s number of views, and multiply by 100.

#3: Completion Rate Per Story

Your slide completion rate measures what percentage of viewers watch the entire length of the slide (rather than clicking away after 1 second).

There’s no easy way to calculate this manually; fortunately Later’s Instagram Stories Analytics does it for you. But if you’re curious, it looks something like this:

Completion rate = Number of impressions – number of exits / Impressions

With these calculations and percentages, you’ll have a benchmark goal, and can work on improving engagement with your Instagram Stories.

Analyze up to 3 months’ worth of Instagram Stories data with Later’s Instagram Stories Analytics today — available on all paid plans!

#6: Best Time to Post

Finding your best time to post is a great way to reach your audience when they are most likely to engage with your content — rather than when they’re half asleep, or more focused on something else.

If you’re unsure where to start, Later has analyzed over 12 million Instagram posts to come up with the best times to post:

Of course, every account will be slightly different depending on your business and your audience, but it’s good to use this data as a starting point and then really focus on the best time to post for your followers.

Luckily, you can use your Later Analytics to hone in on your audience’s behaviors. Your Later analytics dashboard has a detailed breakdown of when your audience is online and you can use that info to tailor your Instagram content calendar:

Or you can remove the guesswork completely and use Later’s Best Time to Post feature that automatically calculates your top 7 posting times each week and highlights them in your content calendar.

#7: Growth

Keeping tabs on your profile growth has always been important, but now — thanks to Instagram’s “followed” and “unfollowed” metrics — you can see exactly how many followers you gain and lose each day.

Having this level of insight is super helpful for understanding what content helps to grow your followers, and what content results in a spate of unfollows.

For example, if you notice a spike in unfollow activity after sharing a feed post, it could be a strong indication that the post was a miss with your audience — and something to take note of in your future content plan.

That being said, it’s worth not getting too hung up on your follower count. Followers can fluctuate due to a number of reasons, and ultimately, having a smaller but more engaged audience is more valuable.

An engaged audience is much more likely to rep your brand, purchase your products, give useful feedback, and share posts with their friends and family.

#8: Traffic

There are many ways to drive traffic to your website from Instagram — from story clicks to the link in your bio.

If you have over 10K followers on Instagram, you can add links to your stories. With Instagram Insights, you can monitor how many link clicks a single story gets and use it to understand what motivates your audience to “swipe up”.

Similarly, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on how many clicks the link in your Instagram bio gets, as this is a traffic hotspot.

And if you use by Later, you can see exactly how much traffic each individual post is driving for your brand.

By understanding what motivates your audience, you can tailor your content plan around this — and capitalize on big click opportunities.

Jumping into the deep end of analytics can be overwhelming, but if you focus on these 8 Instagram metrics to track, you’ll be able to reach new audiences and grow your community.

Ready to start improving your Instagram performance with analytics? Sign up to Later today and explore the Instagram Analytics dashboard!

Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!


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