The moment Facebook acquired Instagram, we all knew shit would hit the fan.
Because, unfortunately, the term ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ doesn’t seem to be a phrase that Zuck is familiar with. Famous for constantly evolving its parent social app, Facebook taking over Instagram meant the death of what was simple and effective, and the dawn of innovation for the sake of staying relevant.
And now it seems as though every few months, the team is changing the way the app works, from f*cked up algorithms that no one actually wants to straight up thieving Snapchat and slapping the name ‘Instagram Stories’ on it (not gonna lie though, I deleted Snap a month ago because I’m too lazy to grow more than one channel). And still, through all these changes and all of our bitching about it, we continue to use Instagram as a main channel for brand awareness and growth. We love the app, even though sometimes it doesn’t love us back.
One of the more recent changes was the option to create a ‘business’ account, giving brands and bloggers a number of features not available to a personal account. Called ‘Instagram Insights ‘, you gain access to in-app metrics like follower demographics and post engagement comparisons (not to mention that convenient ‘contact’ button on your account bio).
I’ll be honest, I did not trust this at first – I assumed that the same algorithm as Facebook would apply, where business pages only get their content in follower newsfeeds through advertising. But the knowledge that I could switch back to a personal account whenever I wanted eventually convinced me to test the waters of a business account.
Full disclosure, although I loooooove the Insights, I’ve noticed a significant decline in reach over the past few months. Whilst my followers are continuing to grow at a steady pace and my audience is just as engaged with comments (and my Stories continue to grow in views), the actual ‘likes’ per photo are down, indicating my posts aren’t reaching as many people.
And while I’m still trying to figure out if its the cause for my loss in reach or it’s some algorithm glitch, I’ve learned that a business account has serious benefits for bloggers and that the switch doesn’t effect everyone in the same way. The Instagram Insights allow you to understand your followers, their habits and their interests. It tells you when they’re most active, which of your posts they’re saving and how many replies you get on your Stories.
So if you are thinking of switching to a business account, my advice is this: try it out! You might not notice a change at all, in which case, you’re just winning with all those analytics to obsess over. And if you are a blogger using a business account, here are the 6 ways I’ve found that Instagram Insights to be mega helpful, both in understanding your audience and working on brand partnerships.
1 Follower Demographics
Basically the who, the where and the how old. Besides being super interesting to know where your followers are from and what percentage are within a certain age, it’s hugely beneficial for a blogger to know their follower analytics when pitching brands. When I look and see that 45% of my followers are Canadian and 65% are women, 50% of which are between the ages of 25-34, that gives me a great advantage when speaking to local brands targeting Millennial females.
‘Reach’ is a word that’s thrown around a lot from brands when working with social influencers – “How much reach does that blogger have?” OR “They’re a great brand fit, but they don’t have huge reach.” The term ‘reach’ refers to how many people you’re accessing through your content, and in the case of Instagram Insights, it measures the amount of unique accounts that have seen your post (as opposed to ‘impressions’ which includes duplicate views as well). This is a metric you’ll want to include in any performance reports to show how many eyeballs have actually viewed your content.
3 Follower Activity Patterns
Simple but effective, the follower activity charts in Instagram Insights show you when your audience is most engaged with the app. By knowing the times of day they’re most active, you can adjust your posting schedule accordingly. And even though the Instagram algorithm doesn’t work chronologically anymore (gaddamnit!), it’s still helpful to gauge how active that initial engagement period will be.
Since Instagram Stories came on the scene, it’s been like, “Snapchat, who?” But just like its predecessor, Insta Stories only last 24 hours, so once they’re gone, they’re gone. This can be a bit of a pain when working on partnerships with brands that require you to send screenshots of your views (I’m awful at remembering to screenshot at the 24th hour – stress!). With Instagram Insights, you can view your Stories from the past two weeks, and also see how many replies you got on each video.
5 Website clicks
If one of your goals is to drive traffic to your blog (a tough feat in itself on Instagram), you’ll find it pretty beneficial to keep up on Instagram Insights’ website clicks tracker. This analytic simply shares how many people have clicked through to your site from Instagram this week, and compares it to your number from the previous week. This is a great way to strategize on how you’re directing people to your site and the content you’re putting out there – is your call to action strong enough? Are you sharing the link in your Stories as well? Does your audience favour one type of content over another?
6 Saved photos
A super important metric that a lot of bloggers probably don’t think to include when they’re talking to brands. The ‘Insights’ link you see below each post when you have a business account gives you an updated view of all engagement activity, including how many people have saved it. THIS IS GOLD. I posted a photo of a book awhile back, and although the comments and likes were pretty average for me, it had been saved over 60 times. By your followers saving your content, it indicates they’re in the consideration phase of the buying funnel, so it’s a great metric for gauging ROI on brand/blogger partnerships.
Have YOU made the switch to a business account?
How has it affected your engagement?
What ways do you find Instagram Insights beneficial?