Do you know how to measure exactly what’s working on your Instagram profile? Today, you and I are going on an adventure. We’re going to explore the murky depths of your Instagram Insights, and bring to the surface the information that will help you make decisions about your Instagram content.

To help you imagine this, we’re going to use a concrete example. Here’s a question I had in from a listener, Jeni.

 “I’ve used an app called Buffer which uploads multiple social media posts to the various platforms at once to try and save time, however I noticed that the buffer uploads don’t seem to get as many “likes” as previous posts. Do you know if this is just a coincidence, or if there’s some kind of algorithm blocking the visibility of an app like this?”

In an earlier episode we talked about cross-posting content from Instagram to Facebook, and Buffer is one of the tools I suggested you could use. So this is a really important question to answer for those of you still considering your options.

How does Buffer affect your reach on Instagram

I looked in a few places online to see if there were any reliable stats on this. The first thing to say is there’s no official statement from Instagram saying how they handle third party posts in the algorithm. Facebook, the parent company, did release a statement but it only referred specifically to the Facebook platform, and it said that third party and native posts are treated the same.

Second, the research that has been done was all done by companies who own third party apps for posting to social media, so they have a vested interest in proving to you that you can safely use their services. Their research should be taken with a pinch of salt. Across thousands of posts from a variety of third-party tools onto different platforms, Falcon.io couldn’t find any statistically significant difference in performance between native posts and third party tools.

Best content to post on your Instagram Feed 

Since the research doesn’t seem to match with Jeni’s experience, the next thing to do is measure if there’s really a difference. Even if you don’t care about Buffer, you can use this exact process to compare any two types of post on your Instagram feed. You could see if selfies perform better on your Instagram. You can find out if adding text to your pictures will harm the reach of your posts. The limit to what you can measure here is your imagination!

In Instagram app, go to your own profile, open the menu and tap on Insights to find all your data. On the Content page, tap See All to show the grid of all your feed posts. 

Filter your posts by engagement, then sort your top 20 into Buffer vs Not Buffer, or whatever your categories are. Then do the same with reach, likes, and other important stats. 

Insights for your Instagram Stories

When you go to the Content section of your Insights, you can scroll down to see a few recent stories, and click See All.

This will show you all your Stories for the last two weeks. As with the Feed posts, there’s lots of filters you can use. 

The main things to look for are

  1. How many people look at your Stories compared to your total number of followers?
  2. When you post a series of clips to Stories what is the typical drop of in reach between the first clip and the last?
  3. What types of Stories content shows the least drop off? And the most?

How to measure your Instagram growth

If growth is a key goal for your Instagram account, you need to know what kind of posts reach the most people beyond your current followers.

Under each individual post you can find detail insights – look for the percentage of people not following you. In my experience, the two main factors here are the quality of your hashtags, and whether or not there’s a person in the photo.

How to get website visitors from Instagram

We’re going to talk about this lots more in a couple of weeks time, but for now, start by looking at profile views for the week. This is a pretty reliable measure of how interested in your company people are at any given moment. Your only website link is in your profile, so people have to go to the profile if they want to click it. Combine your weekly profile views with website analytics to see what kind of click through rate that is turning into for your business. On weeks when you have high Instagram profile views, does that affect your website traffic?

Your questions

I love featuring listener questions in podcast episodes! You can submit a question through our contact form, or you can send me a message @thewhinco on Instagram – I’d love to hear from you!