A guide to Instagram Insights: What they mean and how to use them

You’re keeping a consistent posting schedule, regularly creating new Stories, and actively working to grow your Instagram following. But how do you know it’s working?

Likes, comments, and new followers used to be the only tools available to measure the success of your content, but in 2016, Instagram introduced a new analytics feature called Instagram Insights to help businesses and professional creators get a more in-depth look at how their accounts were performing. When used correctly, Insights can help you better understand your audience and the content they want to see. 

What are Instagram Insights?

Instagram Insights is a free analytics tool that gives professional accounts a better understanding of their audiences and the types of posts that followers are engaging and interacting with the most. Insights measures metrics such as follower demographics, reach, top posts, and impressions. 

Sounds great, right? Well, there is one caveat; Instagram Insights is only available to professional accounts, not personal ones. So before you can use Instagram Insights, you have to convert your profile. 

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How to make your account a business account 

First things first. If you want to start using Instagram Insights, you have to change your profile from a personal account to a professional account. Lucky for you, this process is super simple. 

Here’s how to make your profile a business account: 

  1. Go to your profile. 
  2. Press the icon with the three lines in the top right corner of your profile. 
  3. Press the Settings option. 
  4. Press the Account option. 
  5. Select the Switch to Professional Account option. 
  6. Choose which professional account describes you. The options are Creator (meant for content producers, bloggers, and influencers) or Business (meant for local businesses or brands). 
  7. If you have a Facebook page for your business or brand, follow the prompts to connect your account to that page. 
  8. Add the additional prompted information such as a contact email address or job title. 
  9. Press Done.

After following these steps, you will have successfully turned your personal account into a professional account and will have access to Instagram Insights. If, at any time, you decide to switch your Instagram business account back to a personal one, however, you will lose all your recorded Insights. 

How do I see Instagram Insights on iPhone?

After you’ve turned your Instagram account into a professional profile, you will immediately be able to access Instagram Insights. So, where do you find Insights? There are two ways to see this feature:

  1. Go to your profile. 
  2. Press on the icon with the three lines in the top right corner of the screen. 
  3. Press the Insights option. 

Here, you have access to all your Insights, which includes three sections: Content, Activity, and Audience. We’ll dive deeper into what those categories contain (and how to use them) in the next section. 

You can also access Instagram Insights on a single post in your Feed. Here’s how to do that: 

  1. Go to the post you want to analyze. 
  2. Press the View Insights button under the left side of your post. 

Can I access Instagram Insights on desktop?

At this time, you can’t access Instagram Insights on desktop. Like most of the platform’s features, this analytics tool can only be used within the Instagram app on Android devices and iPhones. 

What do these Instagram metrics mean?

If you’ve never used an analytics tool before, some of the terms used might be confusing at first. In this section, we’ll go over all of the metrics made available through this tool, what they mean, and how to use them to grow your Instagram account and drive your future content. 

There are three sections within Instagram Insights that we’ll cover: Content, Activity, and Audience. 

Content Insights

When you first open Instagram Insights, you’ll be taken to the Content tab. This section provides analytics for all of the individual posts on your profile, which includes photos, videos, and Stories. If you’ve promoted any posts, they will be measured in this section as well. 

The Content tab is split into an additional three sections: Feed, Stories, and Promotions. 

The Posts section shows metrics on all of your posts from the past two years. When you click on an individual post, you can see the following insights: 

  • Total number of comments
  • Total number of likes
  • Total number of new followers you received from the post
  • Total engagement, or the number of unique accounts that liked, commented, or saved your post
  • Impressions, or the total number of times the post was viewed
  • Total number of profile visits from the post
  • Reach, or the number of unique accounts that have viewed the post
  • Total number of people who saved your post

In the Posts section, you can also filter your posts based on which ones performed the best and which ones performed the worst. The Discovery feature within this section also reveals if people found your post by a hashtag, through their home Feed, or by visiting your profile directly. 

In the Stories subsection, you can view the performance of all your Stories, even ones past the 24-hour visibility mark. Here, you can see metrics for: 

  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Total replies you’ve received from a Story
  • Total number of times someone swiped away from your Stories
  • Total number of views
  • Total number of forward swipes, or the number of times people skipped your Story
  • Total number of exits or times someone exited from Stories after seeing your post
  • Total number of backward swipes, or the number of times someone went backward from your Story
  • Total number of Next Stories, or the number of times people swiped from your Story to another account’s Stories

In addition to seeing these metrics from the Insights page, you can also find them under your Stories while they’re still visible. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Press on your Stories.
  2. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen. 
  3. There, you can see who viewed your Story, or you can press on the bar graph on the top right of the page for more insights. 

And finally, the Promotions section features insights on all of your paid promotional posts, including:

  • Total number of profile visits from the post
  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • The gender, age, and location of people who viewed the post

Activity Insights

Under the Activity tab, you’ll see how many interactions (any action, including likes, comments, or follows) on your account. This tab is broken down into two sections: Interactions and Discovery. 

The Interactions section outlines all the activity that was taken on your account within the past week, including: 

  • Profile visits
  • Website clicks (if you have a website linked to your profile)
  • Email clicks (if you have an email address linked to your profile)
  • Calls (the number of calls you’ve received if you have a phone number linked to your profile)

The Interactions section also features a graph that shows which day of the week your profile had the most activity. Knowing this can help you determine the best day to post new content. 

The Discovery section measures your profile’s overall performance over the past week based on two metric tools: reach and impressions. The reach is determined by the total number of unique accounts that have viewed any of your posts. Impressions are determined by the total number of times your posts have been seen. 

Those two metrics, combined with your Content Insights, can help you figure out what kind of content is the most popular among your followers. 

Audience Insights

The final section in Instagram Insights is the Audience tab. These metrics show you how your audience has grown over the past week and gives you more insight and into your followers’ demographics. 

Those demographics include:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Where they live and their top locations by city and country
  • The times of the day and days of the week when they’re most active on Instagram

This section also shows how many people have followed or unfollowed you over the past week. However, it doesn't show you specifically which accounts did. 

While you may not be able to access this tool on your desktop, Instagram Insights provides valuable information that can help you grow your account and create content that your followers are more likely to engage with. Whether you’re growing your reach for business or just for fun, everyone can benefit from learning what it is that makes their profile work. 


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