Understanding Instagram's Analytics Platform: Insights.

Photo by  Chris Liverani  on  Unsplash

If you’re using instagram to connect with your audience and grow your community, it’s important to have a handle on what’s going on with your account and who’s paying attention to you. The last thing you want is to reach a demographic that is out of alignment with you, your business and your goals. Sharing what you’re made of can be personal so it’s beneficial to be sharing that with a community you can connect to and that can relate back to you.

Understanding your Instagram analytics is a great step towards understanding how to engage and create content for the audience that’s best for you. In this blog post I’ll share how you can use your Instagram app to track insights without needing to rely on a third party application or platform (if you're looking for more in-depth info though, that could be a good alternative). 

Insights and analytics are truly only valuable when you have clear goals and objectives to match them to. Until then insights are just numbers and information that aren’t providing you with anything helpful. If you don't have a clear direction of who you want to be reaching and why, I suggest taking a step back from this post right now to figure that stuff out. When you're ready, come back to this post so you can actually tap into some value with the metrics I'll talk about below.

Instagram Insights

To find your Insights information, navigate to your profile page on Instagram and tap on the bar chart icon in the top right corner of your screen. On the Insights home screen you'll see some general statistics followed by 4 different sections: Followers, Posts, StoriesPromotions.



In the Followers section you'll see an overview of demographic information about your audience like gender, age and top cities. To see more information about these demographics, tap See More.

By tapping See more you’re able to see more information about your audience and who engages with your Instagram account like: Age range, Top locations and Followers.

Age Range

Here you can toggle between All, Men or Women to get more details. By tapping on the bar chart percentages will then be displayed for more in-depth info.

Top Locations

Here you can toggle between cities and countries to see where your audience is coming from. Again, you can tap on the graph to display a percentage breakdown.


In this section you’re able to view your follower activity by day and week using the Hours and Days options. Tapping on Hours will you give you an hour by hour breakdown of when your followers are most active on a specific day. Tapping on Days will give you a break down of the most active days in the week for your followers on instagram.

This information about followers doesn’t necessarily mean they’re directly engaging with your content, but by posting at the times when your audience is more active gives you a higher chance of being seen.


Why is this information important?

If your ideal client is a woman between the age of 40 and 65 who lives in Europe but you notice through your analytics that the highest percentage demographic following your account is women between the age of 18-24 who live in western Canada, there’s a disconnect there.


Moving back to the main Insights screen, scroll down to see the Posts section which gives you more details about specific posts that you’re sharing. Tap See All.

This section automatically filters by the number of impressions on all photos and videos posted over the last year. To alter this filter and dictate the information you want to learn from these posts, tap at the very top of your screen. 

The filter options range from the type of post (All, Photos, Videos, Carousel posts, Shopping posts), the metric to be measured (Comments, Engagement, Impressions, Likes, Reach, Saved) and the timeframe you’re searching (7 days, 30 days, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years).

If I was interested in knowing how many times our posts have been viewed in the last month by unique visitors (separate people) I would choose All, Reach, 30 days and then I’d tap Apply. The screen that pops up will then show me all of my posts from the last 30 days ranked by highest reach to lowest reach. To find another set of results, I can simply tap the top of my screen again and choose different filter options.


What do these filter options mean?

  • Comments: # of comments left on your post

  • Engagement: # of times your post was liked, saved or commented on

  • Impressions: # of times that your post has been seen

  • Likes: # of likes on your post

  • Reach: # of unique accounts that have seen your post

  • Saved: # of unique accounts that saved your post

Why is this important?

These types of metrics are important if you’re testing different photo options to see what renders the best engagement and conversion from your audience. If Marrow was an e-commerce company that was selling product through Instagram, we would want to try displaying our product in different ways on Instagram to see what worked best with our audience.

Do they like seeing the product on a person or being used? What about with a simple white background so only the product is showcased? Or do they like loud fun colours that are eye catching? Because our best guess at onset is only a hypothesis, we would want to try different types of product photos over a specific period of time and then refer to our analytics to know which type of product photo resonated the most with our audience.


Moving back to the main Insights page, there are two more sections to take a look at: Stories and Promotions. Any current Stories that you have on your profile will show up in the story section, otherwise it will be a blank section giving you the option to create a story. Tapping on See All will show you similar information as what you would have seen in the Post section. This section automatically filters by the number of impressions your stories had over the last 14 days. To change this you can tap at the top of the Story page and learn more about your audience's engagement. 

The filter options include Impressions, Reach, Forward, Back, Exited, Replies and Next Story while also giving you the options to filter by time via 24hrs, 7 days or 14 days.


What do these filter options mean?

  • Impressions: # of times that your story was viewed

  • Reach: # of accounts that saw your story

  • Forward: # of taps to see the next photo or video in your story

  • Back: # of taps to see the previous photo or video in your story

  • Exited: # of taps to leave your story

  • Replies: # of replies to your story

  • Next Story: # of taps to the next account’s story

When taking stock of your Story engagement, you can also tap on your story and then swipe up when it appears on your screen. Here you can get a quick view of Impressions, Viewers and Replies as well as all the accounts that watched your story.

Why is this important?

Again, just like above with measuring audience engagement on your feed posts, understanding the way your community engages, or does not engage with your story, will tell you a lot about what they’re interested in knowing and watching. Here you could try a few different types of stories depending on what you’re trying to share. Are you sharing a snippet of your day with no strings attached? Are you sharing promotion of an upcoming event, product or sale? Are you asking for follower feedback on something new? Are you sharing a blog post that just got posted? You can then take stock of which videos resonate the most with the audience you want to be cultivating as well and which types of stories are reaching new accounts.

A goal with your story could be to reach an audience that currently is not following you and getting them to convert by following or clicking on your bio link.


And finally, if we come back to the main screen the last section is Promotion. If you’re running Instagram ads you’ll have this section connected to your Facebook account. You can view analytics and current campaigns here as well as creating a new one. By tapping See More you’ll have access to view all of your current or old promotions. You can then tap a promotion to see Visits to profile, Number of people who viewed the promotion, Impressions, Engagement, Audience demographics and Money spent.

This data gives you a quick summary of impressions vs. engagement and clicks to profile on a promotion. You can also view a breakdown of the audience that viewed this promotion by gender, age range, and location.

Instagram is constantly updating its ability to share insights with you so that you can continue to utilize the platform to it's fullest ability. Some third-party platforms can give you more analytical information about your audience and account, but this is a really good start, especially if you're knew to setting goals and tracking what does/doesn't work on this social platform.

If you're just getting started with Instagram for business, check out our FREE GUIDE: 10 Days of Social Media Posts.

Any more Instagram questions?? We'd love to hear them!