Understanding Instagram Insights

Do you use Instagram for your business? If you do, it’s important to have a good understanding of the insights available for your account. Much like other social platforms, insights give you valuable information about your followers and their activity on the platform. The more we know about our followers, the more successful our Instagram marketing will be.

How to Get There


First things first: how do you get to your insights on Instagram? Start by tapping your profile image in the bottom right corner of your screen; this takes you to your profile page. Then, as you can see in the image above, you’ll tap the icon in the upper right corner that looks like a bar graph. This icon will take you to your Instagram insights.

The First Few Stats


The first couple stats you’ll see at the top of the screen (shown in the picture above) are your change in followers over the last week and your change in reach over the last week. The follower number tells you how many other accounts follow your account. If the change number is positive, you’ve gained new followers. If the change number is negative, you’ve lost followers. Your reach tells you how many Instagram users have seen your posts (followers and non-followers). Remember that since a business account is public, anyone can see your posts whether they follow your account or not. If the percentage is positive, your reach has increased. If the percentage is negative, your reach has decreased.

Knowing these first basic stats allows us to see what’s happened based on our activity over the last week. As of the time I took these screenshots, I can tell you precisely why my numbers are down: I just simply haven’t posted as often over the last week. The stats I’m seeing are a good reminder that I need to post more often!

For Instagram, you honestly can’t overdo it (that is absolutely not true on all platforms), so post often! I usually recommend posting a couple times a day, but the biggest key is consistency. Don’t post ten times one day and then nothing for a week. Start with a consistent goal, and work your way up from there.

The next section on this first screen discusses actions. Actions are just what they sound like–anything that’s been done on your profile or posts. That might include likes, comments, profile visits, and link clicks. Again, the more posts you’ve made, the higher your actions numbers will be.

Discovery and Followers


Scrolling down on your current screen, you’ll next see the discovery section. The discovery section tells you your total reach over the last week. You’ll also see a simple chart comparing the last seven days, side by side. Under the chart, you’ll see your change in reach and impressions over the last seven days. Impressions are the total number of times your posts are seen. Reach shows you unique accounts who see your posts while impressions show you total views (someone may see the same post in their feed multiple times).

Again, I can tell you exactly why my numbers down, and it’s simply due to a decrease in posts. Reach and impressions come down to simple math. The more posts you have out there, the more likely those posts are to be seen–increasing both your reach and impressions.


Below the discovery section, you’ll see the followers section. On this screen, it gives you a basic breakdown of gender, age, and location. If you tap the link on the right that says See More, you’re taken to a more detailed look at your followers’ demographics.


At the top of this screen, you’ll see your total number of followers as well as any change in that number over the last seven days. Again, you’ll see a breakdown of your followers by gender as well as a more detailed breakdown of your followers by age range.

Knowing your followers’ gender and age might help you create better content that will be more appealing to that specific audience. For example, if you’re a real estate agent, and you see that the majority of your followers are in the 18 to 34 range, posts that focus more on the needs of first-time home buyers and young families will surely be more successful than posts focusing on empty nesters looking to downsize.

As you scroll down farther, you’ll see a breakdown of your followers by their location. This can be shown by city or country. Chances are, most of your followers are in your primary city of operations, but you may be surprised to see other cities you hadn’t considered. This might inspire you to focus more of your efforts into those areas to better serve those individuals.

The bottom part of this screen (see the image below) is possibly the most important part of it all–when your followers are active on Instagram.


You can scroll through both the individual day and time to see when your followers are most active. Knowing this will help you determine when it’s best to post on Instagram. Many businesses (but especially those that operate on a Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 schedule) make the mistake of posting during those times. However, for the big majority of Instagram users, activity peaks tend to happen later in the evening–often around 8 or 9 p.m. in your local time zone.

This is where it becomes important, then, to be sure we’re posting at the right time. Sure, our 10 a.m. post may still be shown to folks later in the day, but it isn’t nearly as likely. Being active yourself during the times that your audience is active will help you ultimately reach more people. If you aren’t able to personally be active during this time, you can utilize a third-party posting service like Buffer to help you post at optimal times. Read more about that here. Of course, an increase in your reach will lead to greater brand awareness and hopefully more revenue.

Media and Promotions

Now we’re going to go back to the main insights screen and look at the bottom part, media and promotions. To get here, scroll down toward the bottom on the first insights screen. This is a great place to see how each of your posts has done in comparison to the others.


The first section under media and promotions shows you your most recent posts. If you tap the link on the right that says See More (see the above image), you’ll be taken to a screen showing all of your posts over the last year in order of impressions (highest to lowest). This screen is a great place to see your most successful posts. Now can you do a little research: What hashtags did you use? What day and time was it posted? What was the subject? This research will help you create more successful posts in the future.

At first, Instagram insights can be a bit overwhelming. The information provided, though, is really quite straightforward and easy to follow. As I’ve said before in multiple other posts, the more we know our audience, the better we can reach them, connect with them, and establish a relationship that will foster sales.

In a future post, I’ll go into more detail on using hashtags on Instagram, so stay tuned!

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