A simple guide to Instagram insights

Marketers need to know Instagram insights inside out to drive growth on the channel. This guide shows you how.
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If you’re focusing on Instagram in your social media strategy and you want to build an engaged following, tracking your analytics is essential. 

Without data, you could be relying on guesswork to gauge how your Instagram account is performing. And even if you’ve got a good hunch, you’ll never know for sure what’s working well until you analyse the numbers.

Great data makes decision making around marketing strategies much easier. Why? You have the facts and stats at your fingertips about the content your audience is responding to and engaging with. A simple (and free) way to understand the performance of your Instagram account is by using Instagram insights.

What are Instagram insights? 

Instagram insights is a free tool inside the Instagram app that provides you with data about your followers, engagement, and reach. Instagram insights is only available to accounts that have been set up as a professional account (business or creator). The data you’ll have access to can be used to:

Understand your audience 

Instagram insights shows you the age, gender, and location of your followers and the types of content your followers are engaging with the most. You can use this information to create more relevant content in the future based on what you know they enjoy.

instagram insights followers screenshot

Instagram insights can be used to see what’s working and what’s not, and to make adjustments to your strategy as needed. For example, if you’re not seeing a lot of engagement on your posts, you might need to change the time of day you’re posting.

Test different strategies 

Instagram insights can also help you to test different strategies to see what works best for your audience organically before moving on to paid advertising or running influencer campaigns. Using Instagram insights to provide a benchmark means you can experiment with reels vs static posts, hashtags, and captions to see how these impact performance. 

How to see Instagram insights 

Before you can get started with Instagram insights, you’ll need to make sure your Instagram account is set up as a professional profile, rather than a personal one. To check if you already have insights access, click the hamburger icon (the three lines in the top left corner of your profile page), and look for the insights option.

instagram insights navigation

If you don’t have Instagram insights, here’s how to switch your account type so you can get instant access: 

  1. Open the Instagram app on your phone
  2. Click the hamburger icon
  3. Select ‘Settings and privacy’
  4. Select ‘Account type and tools’
  5. Select ‘Switch to professional account’

How to view Instagram insights on desktop

As Instagram is designed to be a mobile app, you can only access Instagram insights through your phone. If you would rather analyse your results using your desktop, then you can do this by visiting the Facebook Creator Studio and linking your Instagram account.

What Instagram insights mean

If you’re using Instagram insights on your mobile device, then here’s a rundown of the data you’ll be able to see:

Accounts reached

This shows the number of unique accounts that have seen your content at least once. This includes all types of content, including reels, stories, and lives. When you click into this section, you’ll see a detailed breakdown about the accounts reached, including top towns and cities, age ranges, and gender. 

What you can do with this data: When you know more about the people viewing your content, you’ll be able to create posts that are more aligned to those specific demographics and give your engagement levels a boost.

instagram insights audience insights

Accounts engaged

Using this data, you’ll be able to see the number of accounts that have interacted with your content. Engagement actions include likes, saves, shares, and comments. When you click into this section, you’ll also see how many followers vs non-followers are interacting with your account and which are your top performing posts. 

What you can do with this data: You can identify the types of posts that get higher engagement and create more posts in a similar style to help grow your account.

reels interactions instagram insights

Total followers

If you want to get deeper into the detail of your followers, then this is the data you’ll need. It shows your total followers on Instagram and includes a detailed breakdown of locations, age range, gender, and (crucially) the times they’re most active on the app. 

What you can do with this data: You’ll be able to track if your followers are aligned to the demographics of your ideal customer. You’ll also be able to adapt your posting schedule to the times when they’re most likely to be online and see your content.

followers insights instagram

Content you’ve shared

This shows the content you’ve shared on Instagram for the period of time that you select. You can sort the data according to what’s most important for you. If you want to know how many accounts you reached for example, then you can apply that filter and get the data easily.  

What you can do with this data: This really is a ‘choose your own adventure’ section. You’ll be able to see which posts are delivering the results you’re aiming for, helping you to evolve your social media strategy.

reels reach instagram insights

What timezone does Instagram insights use?

If you’re looking at the most active times section of Instagram insights, then the good news is that Instagram uses the date and time zone that’s set in your smartphone. No need to try to work out any time conversions yourself!

How accurate are Instagram insights?

Instagram insights are generally accurate, but there are some factors that can affect the reach data. For example, if someone sees your post but doesn’t interact with it in any way, then it may not be counted in your reach. Any estimated metrics are reported through the use of statistical sampling or modelling, rather than a straight count. Instagram does highlight where a figure may be estimated, so you’re able to easily see which metric may not be 100% accurate.

How to check Instagram insights for each post

Instagram insights are also available to view for every post. To access this data, just tap ‘View insights’ under individual posts, videos, and reels, or swipe up on your stories and Instagram Live videos to view insights specific to that piece of content.

instagram reels insights

When looking at individual post performance on Instagram insights, you’ll notice some different options: ‘from home’, ‘from hashtags’, ‘from profile’, and ‘other’.

What does ‘from home’ mean on Instagram insights?

This metric shows how many people viewed your post from their home feed. It would be great if all your followers saw all your posts, but unfortunately that’s not the case. This figure is a good way for you to see how the Instagram algorithm is responding to your post by the amount of people who are seeing it.

What does ‘from hashtags’ mean on Instagram insights? 

This shows how many people discovered your post via a hashtag. This is an important metric if you have a defined hashtag strategy as it will tell you if the hashtag sets you’re using are reaching your ideal followers.

What does ‘from profile’ mean on Instagram insights?

This section of Instagram insights tells you how many times someone clicked on and viewed your post from your profile page. This can be a good indicator of how memorable your brand is as it means people are actively seeking out your profile to view your posts.

What is ‘other’ on Instagram insights?

The data you’ll see in the ‘other’ section is a mixture of all other ways that someone could view your content, including saves, shares, tags, mentions, and post notifications.

Boosting your Instagram marketing

So now you’re ready to explore Instagram insights and use the data to experiment with your content. After analysing the performance of your Instagram account, you may decide that the next step in growing your followers and engagement is to incorporate an influencer campaign into your strategy.

If you’re ready to accelerate your brand and plan your first influencer campaign with predictable outcomes, then take a look at our platform. It enables you to create, manage, and report all your influencer marketing campaigns in one place. 

The Everything Guide to Instagram for Marketers


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