One of the most important aspects to an Instagram marketing campaign is undeniably content measurement. But before you start measuring, you need to understand the goals of your campaign so you can make sure your content measurement efforts aren’t wasted. Once you finalize your goals, how do you measure the impact of those marketing dollars?
Here’s what, how, and when to measure four key areas of your Instagram marketing.
Obviously, you want to make sure that users are engaged—looking at and sharing your Instagram posts. Is your post getting likes and comments? Those are your first success metrics. Then it’s time to dive deeper.
A crucial segment of Instagram is user-generated content. User-generated content has big benefits, mainly because it’s authentic, and the people who are creating it are generally loyal to your brand. Look at the number of posts created by your followers and how many people those posts reached. This can also allow you to get a deeper understanding of your community and hopefully provide you with some additional insights.
While measuring likes, comments, and followers is great to get a sense of immediate engagement, the real truth lies in Relative Engagement. This metric is used to evaluate posts on an even playing field by measuring the interactions on the post compared to the user’s following to identify how much each post resonated with those who viewed it. You can use Relative Engagement to measure your brand’s post success by topic and category, identify posts that resonate best with your community, identify key influencers among a brand hashtag, campaign, or trending topic, and to predict the efficiency of your post and your influencer’s post.
If you want to take it a step further and find out specific pieces of content that were successful for your campaign, you can use pIQ Score. This metric rates each post with a score based on how many followers and degrees of engagement a post has received. The pIQ score is best used when you are looking to identify influential social users who are talking about your brand, measuring brand content success, spotting trends in highly engaging visual content, and looking for conversations for your brand account to join and share.
Measuring engagement is really subjective and is based on the goals you have for your campaign. With any of the metrics mentioned in this article, it’s a good idea to first set goals or benchmarks to compare to on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. This way you have a definitive answer as to whether or not your Instagram efforts are working in your brand’s best interest.
If you are posting on a consistent basis but your followers are not increasing at a decent rate, it’s time to reevaluate your Instagram strategy. Follower growth can be a large indicator of campaign success because it can help show the audience that is generated from a campaign you ran. If you are running an influencer program, your followers should increase accordingly because the right influencer will inspire their followers to jump on your brand bandwagon.
To do this, you can either simply look at the correlation between running a campaign and an uptick in followers or you could go a step further and look at the rate at which your followers have grown. There are free tools available and websites like Iconosquare or SumAll that can provide you with these insights.
It’s best to look at your follower growth month to month or after a campaign you ran is finished. Measuring month to month can show you immediate trends in your follower growth that you can keep on top of. It’s also a good idea to consider looking at your growth every quarter so you can get a bigger picture of the growth trend you are seeing and what it could be related to.
If hashtags are more of the focal point, measure those that are unique to your campaign. This can include the name of your brand or a hashtag specific to the campaign you are running and will be measured in the form of mentions. You can also take it a step further and look at which hashtags you’ve used had the most interaction. Which encouraged the most engagement? Why?
There are a variety of tools available that can help you determine your hashtag performance. If you are interested in looking at the volume of hashtags created from your campaign, a good tool to use is Tagboard. With Tagboard, you can see all of the use of a particular hashtag across all social media channels, and in this case you can filter to just see Instagram performance. You can also try the tool Hashtracking, which offers similar hashtag analytics, as well as real-time reporting and historical hashtag data that can be used to compare to your present analytics.
If you’d like to dig a bit deeper into your hashtag analytics, you can use Union Metrics to see which hashtags have the most interaction. This is especially useful if you’re trying to see which hashtags encourage the most engagement per post.
Given that hashtag campaigns are likely tied to timely events, it’s recommended to measure your hashtag performance both during and after your event or time period that you promote your hashtag. If you are holding a contest, for example, keep track of those results during your campaign so you can make sure you are interacting and engaging with your community in real time. Overall, it’s essential to look at hashtag performance at least once per month to make sure you are staying in the loop.
Does your campaign feature a URL in the bio section of your Instagram page? If so, look at the clickthrough rate. This can help show how Instagram is a tool to drive people directly to something your brand is promoting or to your site itself. Keep in mind, this is the only place on Instagram where you can drive traffic directly to your site through a link—so take advantage of it!
To do so, simply use a bit.ly link, which will help you determine how many users clicked directly from Instagram to that site.
This is dependent on what goals you have set for your campaign. If you are running a timely campaign specific to the link in your bio, then you’ll want to measure the visits to that site from Instagram during your campaign as well as after. This is to ensure that you can capitalize on any opportunities or trends that may evolve during the course of the campaign. For example, a company may post an Instagram that mentions clicking the link in its bio to get more information. In addition, some businesses may just leave the same link in their bios for a long period of time, such as a link to their site. This can be measured on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. I recommend checking more often than not so you can capitalize on other opportunities if the link is not performing.
While the list above is not the only set of metrics and tools available to help measure the impact of your Instagram marketing efforts, they can offer a lot of insight into your campaign and channel performance. In 2016, it’s going to be more important than ever to focus on this platform. While Facebook and Twitter will still remain the top social networks used by US companies in 2016, Instagram will see explosive growth. In 2016, 48.8 percent of marketers are expected to use the platform, up from 18.4 percent in 2014. As Instagram is starting to take enterprise marketers by storm, it’s important that you stay ahead of this trend and focus on building your brand as a leader.