Tracking alternative instagram metrics | #take5
Instagram has to be one of my favourite platforms. There’s something about the way it empowers us to connect with others, share our own narrative in a creative way and surround ourselves with community and inspiration, with there always being something new to try out.
Despite this, I’m hearing more and more from those using it strategically (ie - for business purposes) that they find it a difficult platform to use and find success on. Which brings me onto todays episode, discussing the metrics we track our Instagram success by and how shifting our focus may just transform our use of the platform…
Prefer to listen rather than read? This blog is also a podcast episode, click below to tune in…
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
I truly believe that when we shift the way we track and measure our effectiveness, the way we view and ultimately treat the platform changes.
Tracking the right metrics for you ensures one big thing - that your Instagram fits into the big picture of your business. Being led by likes and follows might is what we’re used to, but the truth is, they’re not truly defining success for you.
True effectiveness on Instagram comes when you’re utilising the platform to serve the core purpose of your business.
Before I move on… ask yourself, what’s the core purpose of my business? Put Instagram to the side for a moment and figure out what that ‘big picture’ effectiveness really looks like. Is it to sell your product / service, advertise your events, grow a community, raise awareness…
The first step to Instagram working out for you is to think of the big picture and consider how Instagram might fit into that. So keep that big picture purpose in your mind throughout this post…
Got it? Let’s talk first about traditional metrics of success, the measures which you’ll most likely be used to keeping an eye on and linking to your effectiveness, such as follows / likes / comments.
Now, this isn’t me saying that being aware of these metrics is negative, because they’re definite measures of both our audience growth and how engaged they are. But the major flaw in this approach is that it doesn’t take into consideration the bigger picture. It’s not unique to your business and the goals you have.
If I’m a small town coffee shop and want to market to local residents, measuring my effectiveness by the thousands of followers I don’t have just wouldn’t make sense. In the same way, if my Instagram purpose is to sell products, purely tracking the likes and comments I’m receiving is pretty irrelevant to the core of my business.
These metrics are all about keeping your Instagram intentional and truly effective for your business.
I’ve come up with 5 alternative metrics to measure, which will help you to truly define if you’ve got an audience who are engaged with your content and also making a difference to your business as a whole. Now, although I do believe each of these metrics are valuable, there will be ones which will mean more to your business than others. As I’m walking you through them, keep in mind that core purpose which I mentioned earlier and consider how each of the metrics could measure and tie in with that…
#1 STORY VIEWS
The first metric for us to be aware of and use is the number of story views we get. As a side of Instagram which is becoming increasingly popular, there’s definitely a shift to be had to valuing the metrics within both our posts and our stories.
The number of people who view your stories indicates the followers who are intentionally clicking on and viewing your content (as opposed to posts on your feed where they are automatically shown). It’s a pretty sure fire way of seeing how engaged your following is, and whilst there’s no figure which is good or bad, it’s all about looking at what percentage of your followers view your stories…
You’ll notice here that I don’t give any figures, because specific numerical targets, goals and markers of success will be different from everyone. Instead I’m talking in terms of that figure in relation to the number of followers you have. Eg - I get an average of 300 story views and I have 1000 followers, so I get around 30% of my followers viewing my stories.
I’d suggest seeing all your metrics in this way, it’ll help to put the statistics in perspective and allow you to make goals which are realistic to you.
As Instagram accounts we can only see the number of views our own stories get, so in order to get a better understanding of other peoples’ metrics, I asked my followers what their average story views were.
Peoples answered ranged from 10% to 45%, with the average sitting around 25% and I was surprised to see that the figures of bigger accounts (with followings of 50,000+) didn’t differ from those which were smaller.
If the percentage of your followers who view your stories is under 15/10%, I’d question whether you have a number of followers who are either dormant or un-engaged in your content…
If your story views are dramatically higher than your likes, this indicates that your followers are more engaged in your stories, and vice versa for the other way around.
Always be asking yourself - what does this tell me and what should I change as a result?
#2 STORY ENGAGEMENT
Similar to the previous metric, looking at the engagement you get off the back of stories not only indicates who is intentionally choosing to view your content but who is also choosing to engage with it. This metric is all about tracking the percentage of story viewers who answer your polls, ask you questions, reply with a DM or click onto a link you’ve shared on your story.
If you have a business account and swipe up on your stories, you’ll see a number of insights about the behaviour your followers took off the back of that story. You’ll see the number of people who clicked through to an account or location you tagged and the number of people who engaged with your polls / buttons etc.
These metrics are again to be measured as a percentage, this time as how many people take action within the number of people who view your stories. The higher this percentage is, the more engaged your followers are with the content you’re putting on your stories.
#3 ACTION TAKEN
This metric is probably going to be the most significant for you, particularly if your intention with Instagram is to push people towards other sites, eg - your shop / blog / website etc. It’s all about the physical action people take off the back of your posts or stories.
This metric takes engagement one step deeper than the previous, because it requires someone to take a physical step off the back of something you’ve said / done / asked. A follower clicking on your bio and moving away from Instagram towards your website is far more significant than them voting in your poll or liking your recent post. It proves that they’re willing to click away from Instagram and towards what you’re offering.
If your intention is to sell a product or service, getting a follower to visit your website or shop is surely the most significant way you can measure success? The same with if you’re a blogger and your big picture is to get people reading your posts, a follower is clicking on your blog link is far more valuable to you than them sending you a DM or liking your posts?
Although Instagram does give you insight for website clicks in the past 7 days, I’d suggest using a platform like Linktr.ee, which gives you not only the chance to house multiple links, but also gives you metrics on the number of people who click on these links. Or take it a step further and observe the Google Analytics for your website… whatever works for you!
Observe the impact you have on this metric when you promote something which can be found via the link in your bio…
#4 PAGE VIEWS vs NEW FOLLOWERS
Now this is a metric which I’ve only just got around to observing, but I wish I’d started doing it sooner. If you’ve got a business account, you’ll see at the top of your profile there’s a figure for how many page views you’ve had in the past 7 days, and if you go onto insights you’ll see the change in profile visits over the past 2 weeks.
This isn’t a conclusive measure, as those profile views can be both from your current followers and accounts who don’t follow you, but it does us to understand two things…
The first is the impact that 3rd party promotions have on our page views. If you keep an eye on the figure, you may notice it fluctuates if another account tags you in a post or if you’ve just been featured on a blog post. It’s always insightful to know how many people actually come over as a result of those mentions and it’ll most likely encourage you to be featured more often!
The second way you can use this metric is to see the relationship between the number of page visitors you have and the number of followers you gain. If you head into insights, you’ll find your audience change and you can therefore determine how many of those profile views translated into followers. If your page views are high but you’re not gaining many new followers, you may find that something about your bio or feed is either putting people off or failing to engage them…
Something I love to do with my clients is called an Instagram brand test. Find some friends / family who don’t necessarily know your business very well and ask them what initial impression they get from a short look at your profile. This exercise helps to ensure that the first impression you’re giving off is accurate… that your bio, your captions and the way your feed feels is accurately telling visitors who you are / what you do / what you post and therefore allows them to make a decision to follow or not.
Just as every other metric, this one is incredibly relative. But keep an eye on it, question any dramatic dips / increases in visitors and observe what happens when you mix up what you’re doing… you may just be learn something new!
#5 QUALITY OF ENGAGEMENT
Ah engagement engagement engagement, is it weird that when I hear that word I instantly think of the comment and DM type engagement and not the sparkly ring and wedding bells one? It’s something we’re used to hearing about a lot, and it’s being talked about for a reason, engagement is valuable.
You could argue that all of the metrics I’ve listed already are forms of engagement, and yes they are. But what I’m specifically talking about here are the messages we receive, both through DM’s and comments. And not the comments which purely consist of emoji’s or the DM’s which are asking where your bag is from, but messages and comments which indicate that your followers are reaching out to you.
When we take away all the shiny photos and filters away from Instagram, what it really is, is two people connecting, choosing to connect with eachother over a mutual passion, a shared experience or maybe just curiosity. Maintaining this human conversation ensures that our Instagram is doing what it’s intended to do in its most basic from - connect us with others. Whether our intention is to sell products, promote events or raise awareness, none of that can be done without the one core factor - people. I left this point until last because I truly believe it provides the foundation for anything we do on the platform!
There’s no numerical side to this metric, but just have an awareness of it. I’m always noticing which posts encourage the most significant comments, why certain stories get more replies than usual and how my behaviour on the platform impacts the way that people connect with me.
IT'S A TWO WAY STREET!
And if you’re thinking, I’m sharing my stories and encouraging others to do the same, but people aren’t talking back… maybe you need to start the conversation! Leave complacency behind and truly engage with those you follow and those who follow you. Instead of just thinking ‘hey I really appreciated that post’ or watching a story and knowing you’ve felt the exact same way - TELL THEM.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like that kid in a school playground asking someone to be my friend, but sending that message and letting someone know just how much I enjoy their feed / business / content is a sure way to start making connections!
Connecting with others is truly the joy of Instagram - so don’t get so strategic and intentional that you lose the best part about it all - other people.
So there we have it, 5 alternative metrics which will help you to measure and maintain true effectiveness on your Instagram platform.
Like any of these solo episodes, what I’m sharing only truly becomes useful when you put it into practice. Take some time off the back of this episode to look at your own Instagram, ask yourself…
how am I currently measuring or defining my success on the platform?
what is my ‘big picture’ purpose? how is Instagram currently doing at serving that?
how do I need to shift my metrics to accurately measure this?
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