If you're lucky, you might have noticed that the Instagram profile for your boarding school has a new feature: Analytics. Appearing in the upper right-hand corner next to the cog wheel, the analytics button looks like those infamous cell phone reception bars. But outside of its appearance, the button holds a wealth of new information that makes seeing what's going on with your Instagram account much easier. Below we dive into the various pieces of Instagram's new analytics dashboard and what it means to your boarding school.
First off, let me apologize for not having screenshots throughout this piece like I normally would. We are accessing the new analytics through a well-known individual's profile who has been given early access, but can't show their information or stats.
The analytics dashboard is dubbed "Insights" and is made up of individual modules of information. First up, total impressions for the week. This number tells you "the total number of times all of your posts have been seen." I've never been a huge fan of impressions because how many people MAY have seen something doesn't mean they saw it. Regardless, that's what Instagram hits you with first, which makes sense, as impression numbers tend to be bigger than real engagement numbers. By swiping to the left in that module, you're then given your total "reach" for the week as well. Reach is a bit more realistic, though still inflated in my opinion. Reach refers to "the number of unique accounts that have seen any of your posts." Again, doesn't mean someone actually saw it, it just means your posts were put in that many people's feeds.
How Are Your Posts Doing?
The next module looks at your "Top Posts" on Instagram. This one is super useful and really allows you to see which posts are working and which ones are not. The module automatically shows you the top posts for the week, but if you select "See More," you can drill down into a new module, which allows you to choose between "All Posts, "Images," and "Video," as well as a time frame and then, finally, what you want to measure. Per the original module, you can choose from impressions and reach, but I recommend looking at the other options: engagement, likes, and comments. Engagement combines likes, comments, and shares to show you the overall engagement on your posts. This is a great measurement on how your community reacts to your posts. Even better, Insights lets you change the timeframe for your post results. You can select 7 days, 30 days, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and 2 years. It's pretty amazing to go back over the last full year and see your top posts. I highly recommend that users really dive into this feature and figure out the top 20 posts and why they were the most engaging. Use that to plan for the future and what posts you should post more of as much as possible.
The Real Follower Count
The last module looks at your "Followers." The graph is a representation of the "average times your followers are on Instagram on a typical day." The graph basically shows when you should post. If you see a spike at 5 pm EST, which indicates that many of your followers are on Instagram, then it's safe to say that's a good time to post. Not surprisingly, you'll see a dip between midnight and 6 am, and then a climb that peaks around noon to 9 pm. Like the previous module, you can also click "See More" to dive into more information. Once clicked, the new module shows your total follower count. This is different than the main number on your profile, but only really applies to those with tens of thousands of followers or more, where the profile rounds the number up to a whole number that's easier to display.
Below the follower count is a gender breakdown via a pie graph. Then, you'll see an age breakdown. This is pretty interesting considering our expectation is that Instagram users are mostly millennials; however, the breakdown shows all the way up to 65+. Age range also lets you subdivide between "Men" and "Women." "Top Locations" is next and gives you a choice of cities and countries, showing the top five for each. Lastly, we have another "Followers" module like the original but gives you the option to choose a specific day to see when your followers are on Instagram. Most users go on at the same times throughout the day, but it gets interesting on the weekends, which is good information to review so that you can plan accordingly.
For years, we have been forced to use services like Iconosquare to get our Instagram analytics, but gone are those days. Take full advantage of the new dashboard and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me directly at cody (dot) barbierri (@) cheshireacademy.org.