Earlier this month, Instagram management tool Later.com (formerly Latergramme) provided a first look at the new Instagram brand profiles which are currently being tested among a select group of users. The new brand profiles include a prominent 'Contact' button, which allows you to directly e-mail the business or get directions to their store, a business categorization field, which'll help users find your brand, and improved location listings.
And this week, Later.com also got their hands on some images of the new brand analytics options for Instagram. Included within the new business profiles, Instagram's analytics options provide a range of new insights and tools to help businesses make better use of their Instagram profiles and gain more understanding of what's resonating with their followers. Here's how they work.
First off, Instagram's analytics tools will be accessible from the front page of your brand profile - in the top bar of the screen, there'll be a new analytics button to the right.
(Note: These images were screenshots were obviously taken before the latest Instagram update, in which all the blue banners were switched to black and white framing)
Once clicked, you'll be taken to a new screen of analytics tools - Instagram's adopted the Facebook term 'Insights' for the new option.
The first of these tools is a listing of information about where your followers are located, geographically, and at what times they're most commonly active on the app.
In the Location details, Instagram provides an overview of the nations in which your followers are located, giving you a better idea of when would be best to reach them, in relative local time. This can also be broken down to specific cities by clicking on the 'Cities' option at the top right of the graph.
The functionalty's similar to what's on offer on other social platforms - understanding where your audience is located is crucial to contextualizing the other data points on offer. With this knowledge, you can not only better plan and schedule your Instagram activity to best meet the attention of your audience, but you can also get a better idea of the effectiveness of your on-platform efforts - are you reaching the people you need to reach (particularly relevant for local businesses)? Is your audience growing in response to your regionally-targeted ad efforts?
In terms of follower activity, the bar graph shows when your audience is most active, which can also help you better schedule your content to maximize reach.
Of course, there's more to scheduling that just posting at peak traffic times - research on Facebook has shown that posting at the times when more people are online may actually reduce your reach, as your posts will be competing against a lot of other cotent. This is even more relevant on Facebook because the News Feed algorithm serves posts to users based on their affinity with each creator - so if you post at the same time as a whole heap of other people are posting, people who likely have strong, personal connections with other users, the chances of your brand content getting maximum reach are not that great.
Right now, Instagram doesn't have an algorithm so the equation's not exactly the same, but soon there will be a similar system in place, which is an important consideration when determining the best times to post.
In addition to these metrics, Instagram's analytics will also provide a breakdown of your audience by gender and age for further insight.
As you can see, there's also a listing of total audience and new followers gained for the week, and you can analyze your demographics more specifically by breaking down the data into men or women, as well as viewing them all as one group. Knowing who your audience is plays a crucial part in directing your content strategy - by understanding which ages and genders your content is resonating with, you can make more informed decisions about what to post in future.
And the last element is post analytics, with data on how many impressions each of your posts has garnered, which you can list by either the past week or the past month.
The main difference here is Instagram is showing you how many people saw your post, as opposed to how many people 'Liked' it, which provides additional context as to how your audience is responding to your content, and which of your posts are generating the best response.
You'd also expect that there'll be an option to download your data for more in-depth analysis, which would give you the ability to match impressions against actions (Likes and comments). Of course, there are no URLs to click on in Instagram posts, so you won't be able to determine click-through rates based on each as you can on other platforms, but the impressions metric - especially once Instagram's algorithm comes into effect - will give you a better idea of how your audience is responding to your content, and what, specifically, they're responding to, providing you with more direction for your on-platform strategy.
Brands on Instagram have been calling for analytics tools for some time, and these new options look to cover all the major data points that Instagram's able to provide. What'll be really interesting will be if Facebook connects the Instagram and Facebook Insights datasets at some stage, giving you the above information from Instagram, along with additional data insights on your Instagram audience based on their Facebook activity and profile. Facebook's already connected the datasets up, at least to some degree, as you can target your Instagram ads via Power Editor using much the same contextual input as you can with Facebook ads. Even more, Facebook recently announced that ad retargeting is now available on Instagram, which means Facebook has the capacity to track Instagram users across platforms via their website pixel.
While we're yet to see how Instagram's feed algorithm will change the on-platform experience, and we don't know the impact that more ads on the platform will have over time, as of right now, Instagram remains a key platform to consider for all social media marketers.
And as these new changes and updates come into effect, it'll become increasingly important for brands that want to improve their performance on Instagram to ensure that they're providing their audience with content they're interested in, and are responding to. If not, as has occurred on Facebook - your interaction drops, which reduces your subsequent reach.
The ability to provide relevant and consistently valuable content will be critical. Instagram's analytics tools will help you do just that.
There's no set date for a full rollout of Instagram's brand profiles and analytics as yet, but a spokesman told re/code in March that they'll be coming in 'the next few months'.