The 6 Best Instagram Analytics Tools (And Metrics You Need to Track)
Instagram analytics tools aren’t just feel-good graphs and vanity metrics: they’re the best way to see if all the time, energy, and budget you spend on the platform are, you know, worth it.
Tracking Instagram analytics is how everyone from micro-influencers to global brands get the data they need to see what resonates with their audiences. Analytics tools show you which of your social media goals are worth focusing on (and which aren’t), as well as provide the data you need to prove your ROI on Instagram.
For context, over the last few years Instagram has been cracking down on parasitic, illegitimate third-party apps. As of June 2020, the old API that allowed creepy spy apps is officially gone. For most social media pros, this is good news: the analytics tools out there are now much more trustworthy, and have had to adapt to the new, privacy-first rules. But now that the dust has settled, which analytics tools are the most useful for Instagram marketers?
In this post, we’ll detail the best Instagram analytics apps in 2020. And then we’ll show you which metrics to measure when you’re using them to achieve results tailored to your brand’s goals.
Bonus: Get a free social media analytics report template that shows you the most important metrics to track for each network.
Instagram analytics tools
There’s a wide variety of Instagram analytics tools out there. Here are some top tools that specialize in functions to help your brand succeed.
Let’s start in the horse’s mouth: Instagram’s native analytics tool. It’s free, easy to understand at a glance, and shows you how your content is performing right now.
It’ll show you your audience demographics, when they’re online, what they’re clicking on (your profile? your website?), and what they like (which posts earn hearts? which posts get comments?). Post insights will also give you information about how people found your post.
Note that in order to use Instagram Insights, you’ll need to switch to a business profile on Instagram, which involves tying your Instagram profile to a Facebook business page.
Here’s a tutorial on how to get the most out of your Instagram Insights data:
That said, if you need more detailed data, a longer-range view, or to export it for reports, it’s time to take a look at other third-party apps.
While you may know Hootsuite (that’s us!) as a scheduling tool, we also offer a robust analytics tool that goes beyond what Instagram’s native data can tell you.
For the record, these are some things that the Hootsuite Analytics dashboard can do that Instagram can’t:
- show you data from the past;
- compare metrics over specific time periods to get a historical perspective;
- run customizable reports whenever you like;
- look at specific posts’ performance using your preferred metrics;
- monitor your account’s response time in customer service conversations;
- rank Instagram comments by sentiment (positive or negative).
Other advantages: Hootsuite also has social listening and competitive analysis tools. You can use these to contextualize your brand’s social data in the broader landscape.
Finally, because Hootsuite supports every major social media platform, you can collect all of your analytics in one place, and easily see what’s working and where you can improve.
Get started by checking out this quick overview of Hootsuite’s Analytics dashboard.
Start with Iconosquare’s free Instagram audit for business accounts. It’ll show you where you’re excelling, and provide tips on how to improve. It assesses your most recent 30 days of posts, as well as your profile overall.
Iconosquare also offers a free trial of their pro dashboard. You’ll get all the standard metrics: engagement rates, follower stats, Stories data, et cetera.
Like Hootsuite, Iconosquare’s analytics are only part of their offering. They also offer social media management and scheduling tools.
On the downside, Iconosquare will only support your Facebook and Instagram accounts, so if you’re looking for a tool that can handle all your social media platforms, it might not be worth the spend.
Keyhole positions itself as a “conversation tracker,” meaning that this tool specializes in tracking hashtags and keywords.
Alas, this influencer-focused tool has become a little less fun for the casual snoop over the years (as of fall 2020, you can only access reports on accounts you own). Still, the tool was purpose-built for Instagram fraud detection, so it can still come in handy.
HypeAuditor’s free tier is geared for influencers, offering a report that will break out how many of your followers are fake or real. It’s worth considering if you’re in the process of pitching yourself to potential brand partners.
On the other hand, at $299USD per month, the professional tier is not for amateurs. But for brands who rely on working with Instagram influencers, this tool offers analytics on your partners’ audience demographics and brand affinity.
How to see your Instagram analytics
Wondering where to go to see the latest data on your account’s success? To access your analytics on Instagram itself, you need a business profile. Once that’s set up, follow these steps:
- In the app, go to your profile
- Tap the hamburger icon in the top right corner
- Tap Insights in the pop-up menu
- View your content overview, activity, and audience demographics
You can also check out details on individual posts by tapping the View Insights link underneath each (see below). The Discovery data is particularly helpful for getting a feel for which hashtags are drawing attention from people who don’t already follow your account. (Though it doesn’t, alas, break the data down by individual hashtag.)
How to access Instagram analytics on desktop
If texting your boss a screencap isn’t going to cut it, you can also access your Instagram analytics on desktop. We’ll show you two ways: through Facebook’s Creator Studio, and through Hootsuite.
Instagram Insights on your desktop through Creator Studio:
- Go to Facebook’s Creator Studio
- Click the Instagram icon in the top bar.
3. Click Insights in the left sidebar, then view either your Activity or your Audience for the last 7 days
Meanwhile, if you need to go back further than 7 days or export data for reports, here’s how to access Instagram analytics on your desktop using Hootsuite.
Instagram analytics on desktop via Hootsuite:
- Go to your Hootsuite dashboard, and click the Analytics logo in the sidebar.
2. Select your Instagram Overview (if you haven’t already, follow these steps to connect your account)
Select your date range, peep your metrics, and schedule any reports you need.
Important Instagram metrics to track
You know what they say: “data data everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” Analytics tools are so powerful and versatile these days that most marketers are swimming in numbers. Meaning that it can be tough to figure out how to find and use the data that can actually move the needle for your brand.
Here, we break down which Instagram metrics you should track to reach the goals that matter to you.
Instagram account metrics
How to calculate engagement rate:
Average across all posts: [Post interactions ÷ total follower count (or impressions) ✕ 100]
This metric is the best baseline for evaluating how well your content is resonating with your audience, and inspiring action. Note that this percentage will often dip as you gain more followers.
Almost all analytics tools will calculate this number for your account, as well as by post. Because some experts think number of impressions is a better comparison than follower count, be aware that you might get a different percentage from different calculators.
Pro Tip: If you want to get granular, here’s a breakdown of all the different ways to calculate engagement rate.
Follower growth rate
How to calculate follower growth rate:
Number of followers gained ÷ previous number of followers ✕ 100
If you don’t track growth over time, your follower count is pretty much just a vanity metric. That’s a wasted opportunity, though, because no other Instagram metric has a bigger impact on organic reach. (If one of your goals is increasing your brand awareness, check out our tips for getting more Instagram followers.)
Your Instagram followers analytics will help you monitor your monthly growth as a percentage, and keep an eye out for spikes and dips that indicate when you’ve struck a nerve, or struck gold.
Website referral traffic
Since we’re ultimately here to not only prove, but increase your Instagram ROI, monitoring the flow of traffic from your Instagram efforts to your website is key. A considered strategy is especially important for Instagram, because you can’t use links in individual posts, meaning credit for conversions can be tougher to apportion.
There are three main places to measure website traffic from Instagram:
- Track the number of people following the link in your bio;
- Track the number of people swiping up in Instagram Stories;
- Use UTM parameters in your links. (UTM parameters can capture data from anyone who’s copy/pasted the link into their browser, messaged it to a friend, or been referred by an influencer.)
Pro Tip: If tracing customer movement along the buying journey (or down the sales funnel, whichever is your preferred metaphor) sounds great, but also complicated, we recommend you take a look at Hootsuite Impact.
Instagram’s discovery (a.k.a. search) function runs on hashtags, meaning that using the right hashtag is the cheapest and most efficient way to attract new eyes. Instagram hashtag analytics help you develop and maintain an arsenal of relevant hashtags capable of consistently showcasing your content to new eyes. (This is key to winning favour with the Instagram algorithm, too.)
Rather than drowning in the torrent of #instagood or #love or #picoftheday, use this key Instagram metric to zero in on the niche hashtags that work best for your brand.
For more details on a winning Instagram hashtag strategy, check out our complete guide.
Most analytics tools will give you an overview of your audience’s gender, age, and location. This is important information because it helps you define your target market, and more specifically, your buyer personas. Because knowing who you’re speaking to—and who is listening—is crucial for your content strategy.
For comparison benchmarks, take a look at our breakdown of Instagram demographics for all 1 billion users in 2020.
Pro Tip: Shown alongside your demographics information is a crucial facet of audience behaviour: when does the bulk of your audience check their feeds? Take note, because that’s the best time for you to post on Instagram. Why? Because the Instagram algorithm prioritizes recency as it chooses which posts to show to people.
Individual post metrics
Post engagement rate
How to calculate post engagement rate: Post interactions ÷ total follower count (or impressions) ✕ 100
Engagements (likes, comments, and saves) are your bread and butter on Instagram. Some social media experts prioritize comments over likes because they take more effort and may indicate a higher level of interest. But many calculators still treat them equally.
How to calculate post comment rate: Post comments ÷ total follower count (or impressions) ✕ 100
A like is fairly easy to dish out, whereas you’ll want to pay attention to the people who take the step to leave a comment on your post.
If your goals involve building loyalty, or nurturing relationships, count your comments separately from your overall engagements, and work to lift that number specifically.
Pro Tip: Cross-reference your comment counts against your message sentiment in your social listening tool in order to see not just whether your content is resonating, but how.
The total number of times your post was served to Instagram users
The number of impressions a Story or post earns can indicate how well you’re promoting your account and content. Are you choosing the right hashtags? Cross-promoting effectively? Have you considered promoting your posts with some ad spend?
Keep an eye on this number. Especially if your goal is building awareness at the top of the sales funnel.
The total number of unique accounts who saw your post.
Your organic reach is related to the number of followers you have, yes, but not entirely. It’s also related to how interesting your content is. The more engaging your content, the more people will see it (this is where knowing how the Instagram algorithm works gets important.)
Instagram Stories metrics
How to calculate Stories engagement:
Total actions ÷ Total reach X 100
To measure engagement on your Stories you’ll want to add up the replies, profile visits and sticker taps that you earned. These positive interactions can tell you what you’re doing right.
For a full rundown of Instagram Stories analytics, check out our guide.
Navigational action counts
Meanwhile, Instagram Stories are one of the few places on social where marketers can access negative feedback (which is arguably even more useful than all that positivity). Pay attention to how much your audience is tapping the following:
- Back (a.k.a., they want to watch the Story again—is it too fast?)
- Forward (a.k.a., skip it—is it boring?)
- Next Story (a.k.a., skip you—are you boring?)
- Exit (a.k.a., they went back to TikTok, ouch.)
This is great feedback for those of us who don’t mind a little tough love. Use this information to up your game on Instagram Stories.
Instagram Ads metrics
How to calculate ad click-through rate:
Clicks ÷ Impressions x 100
This number measures an ad’s effectiveness at getting attention. A low rate means you should be asking whether your call to action is compelling enough. Review this complete guide to instagram ads for more tips on perfecting yours.
For many brands in ecommerce and B2B, this number is the ultimate goal. You want to sell your product, sign up a new lead, or get an email address. Make sure your Instagram landing page is aligned with the ad that leads there.
And if you’re putting budget into a paid campaign, make sure to track your tangible results using Hootsuite Impact.
Save time managing your Instagram presence with Hootsuite: Schedule posts and Stories ahead of time, and monitor your efforts using our comprehensive suite of social media analytics tools. Try it free today.