For years, photographers have been using Instagram as a hub to showcase their creativity. As the popularity of the platform grew, savvy photographers quickly learned that they could use Instagram to grow their businesses as well. Having an engaged following on the platform has helped photographers grow a tribe around their business or product and has earned them opportunities to partner with brands leveraging social media influencers.
While you certainly don’t need to seek influencer status to see results from Instagram, there are a few things that influencers know that every photographer should take note of. Influencers study their following and know what works to engage the tribe that they’ve built. Before Instagram rolled out business accounts, users either had to do guesswork and follow their gut to test what worked for their audiences or invest in third-party tools to see the data on their accounts.
Instagram began beta testing new Business Profiles in 2016. Today, everyone has access to them, and Instagram’s native analytics comes free with Business Profiles. Despite being owned by Facebook, Instagram’s native analytics are still nowhere as powerful as Facebook’s native Insights. So, in this article, we will be going over everything that you can learn about your audience and growing your Instagram account using native analytics. We’ll also touch on a few third-party tools that you might want to check out if you need more data than what you can access in Instagram natively.
Why You Should Care About Your Instagram Analytics
Too many businesses approach social media without a strategy in place. Investing time and resources into social media without a plan, and without measuring results, is like spending your time and money in a casino. Sometimes you win big, and other times you walk away with nothing.
At the end of the day, you need to understand the data of what works for your business. This empowers you to make informed decisions that will create the kind of growth you need to achieve your business goals. If you’re just beginning to approach Instagram for your business, you may want to check out our article on creating a social media strategy for your photography business. Once you have your goals in place, your strategy is the roadmap to get you there, and your analytics are the signposts along the way!
Let’s think of an example: your business is selling fine art landscape prints and you use Instagram as a gallery to showcase all of your work. As a part of your strategy, you might want to begin testing images that show your prints framed on the walls of beautifully designed interiors to appeal more to prospective buyers. You’ve also heard that Instagram Stories are a great way to showcase your business while still keeping to a specific aesthetic in your profile gallery.
By using the data from your Instagram analytics on how your audience is engaging by liking, commenting and clicking, you’ll be able to see what content is resonating and what isn’t. You’ll be able to see if images of your printed products perform better than showcasing the image itself, or if different post types such as carousels and videos get better reach and engagement. From here you’ll be able to do comparisons and make a decision about your content mix, and whether you need to get your audience imagining what your print would look like on their wall, or if you need to be showing more detail shots.
How to Access Your Instagram Analytics
Right now, Instagram analytics are only available to Business Profiles. If you’ve been running a personal account so far, but you’re serious about using Instagram to grow your photography business, then I recommend making the switch. We walk you through the steps in our Instagram Marketing Guide.
If you’re hesitant to pull the trigger on a Business Profile, don’t worry because you can always switch back. The Instagram scheduling app, Later, also has a nice flowchart for anyone who isn’t sure if a Business Profile is right for them:
At the end of the day, if you’re reading this article, chances are you’re a good fit for a Business Profile. If you haven’t transitioned over yet, it only takes a few minutes. It may take some time for Instagram to populate the data from your account, however, so give it a little time before you try to dive into the data.
If you’re already set up with a Business Profile, then you can easily access your analytics in the Instagram app by navigating from your settings to your Insights tab.
Currently, Instagram’s native analytics only give you data on the past seven days for many of the metrics that it tracks. It also takes seven days to report on other metrics, such as followers. So this means that unless you’re using a third-party app to track your Instagram performance, you’ll need to look at your Insights data on a weekly basis to get a healthy idea of how your content is performing.
Let’s take a look at what you can discover with Instagram’s Insights:
Instagram Activity Insights
The first section you’ll see when accessing your Instagram Insights is the Activity tab. Here is where you will see the Interactions on your profile for the week, and how your profile was discovered. Instagram defines Interactions on your profile as Profile Visits and Website Clicks.
Contact requests will be tracked as well, depending on the options you’ve chosen in your profile (email, phone calls or directions).
So in the past week I can see that my content drove an increased amount of traffic to my profile versus the prior week. But there were no major spikes or dips in terms of website clicks or emails week over week. Wednesday was a high point for interactions on my profile, with Tuesday and Sunday being relatively quiet days:
Because Instagram doesn’t allow links in posts, and relegates them to your profile, you may want to track the ratio of profile visits to website clicks. As we discussed in our Instagram Marketing article, your bio is a great place to advertise a lead magnet. Currently, I don’t have a specific lead magnet that I am promoting, so a little more than one percent of my profile visitors are clicking through to my website. For reference, AdStage estimated that in 2018 the average click-through rate on Instagram Ads was only 0.52 percent.
While this isn’t a perfect comparison, it does give us an interesting benchmark. If I was actively trying to promote a product launch or new offering in my organic posts, I would be curious to see if my click-through rate were to go up. Depending on what your goals are for your photography business and posts, you can do similar calculations for Emails, Phone Calls and Get Directions clicks.
When you scroll down in your Activity tab, you’ll also see the Discovery section. Here we can see our account Reach on a daily basis for the past seven days, as well as how many Impressions we received. Reach is the number of unique accounts that have seen any of your posts, while impressions is the total number of times that your posts have been seen. Your impressions will probably always be higher than your reach simply because users often see your posts more than once.
A quick glance at my Insights tells me that Wednesday was a stellar day for my reach. When you’re looking into your own analytics and you see an anomaly like this, I would make a note to dig into what was posted on that day to create such a spike in reach. I’ll show you how to do just that a little later in this article.
Instagram Content Insights
The second tab available in your Instagram Insights is for the Content you’ve posted in the past week. Here you’ll see the performance of your Feed Posts, Stories and Promotions: