Growth metrics and vanity metrics. The two are often confused, especially when social media managers or marketing representatives aren’t focused on the bottom line, the revenue, the metrics that actually matter. This often leads to tracking of far too much data, especially data that impacts key business decisions.
Growth metrics through Instagram are those important progress metrics that can accurately depict performance. Vanity metrics, on the other hand, are easily manipulated and do not correlate or reflect numbers that actually matter. Businesses can get lost in a deep, dark funnel when it comes to vanity metrics - they can be hyper focused on these metrics that won’t impact revenue or progress made to a business.
On the other hand, growth metrics will help measure efforts in a meaningful way.
Here are 5 Instagram metrics that you need to track - metrics that truly matter.
1. Comment engagement
Comments, or comment engagement, will tell you how engaging your content is. This can inform key business decisions as it relates to content that you audience is most interested in.
A comment takes much more time to type and post versus a like, which can be easily left with just the tap of a button Comments are engaging, they show interest in your business, and they express a love for your content.
When your followers go beyond the like, it shows that they resonated with the photo or video you posted.
2. Views on your Stories
Instagram Stories are an excellent tactic to engage with your followers in a way that offers behind the scenes, or a different and unique look into your brand or business. With the effort and strategy that goes into your Instagram Stories, it’s important to not post and ‘forget’ about it. Instead, track the views on your Stories and report based on trends you identify.
For example, if the data is telling you that views are higher when you post at 9:00AM versus 1:00PM, this could impact your posting strategy for the next month as you continue to track data. You can also identify which days are best to post, or if weekends result in higher view rates versus weekdays.
3. Followers gained over time
This data tells you the total reach of your posts, as well as interest in your brand over time.
If your audience grows in certain months, certain quarters, or even as granular as certain days, this can provide great insights into when your brand is attracting the highest organic attraction.
If you have a paid advertising strategy that is (or isn’t) generating followers, this can identify the impact of your paid strategy
4. Referral traffic through Google Analytics
If you haven’t implemented Google Analytics on your website, what’s stopping you?
Google Analytics will provide a plethora of data for your website, particularly, that will help inform larger, strategic decisions; however, it’s referral traffic through Instagram particularly that you need to pay attention to. This will help determine how much traffic your website receives from Instagram.
To track this, it’s important to use UTM parameters in links that you include in your Instagram bio (we’ve written about Instagram bio links in our blog on Instagram for Business here). UTM parameters are essentially tags that are added to a URL, that give Google Analytics information needed to determine where traffic came from. Here’s a great guide on how you can add UTM parameters to your links.
5. Demographic information from your Business Account followers
When developing a customer persona, there are a few things that are must-haves to include - age, location and interests.
Age can help you determine where you should target your users, from social media platforms to advertising purchases. Interests help determine how you should form your copy and who you should be writing to and for.
Location, however, is an excellent way to truly strategize your in-market activations. If you relatively new to generating a specific customer persona for your brand or business, using data is a great way to start.
Using Instagram Business accounts, you can determine where your followers are located. This data can be cross referenced against Google Analytics (your website visitors) and other social media networks.
When it comes to tracking key Instagram metrics that will drive business decisions, it’s important to ensure you do not get vanity metrics in the way - those metrics that do not correlate to numbers that truly matter. Ultimately, the data you need to focus on is retention, repeat usage, and customer persona data that can help you make actionable decisions. Although you might track such vanity metrics as part of your monthly reports, be sure to avoid making key business decisions based on these metrics.