MARKETING STRATEGY

How Instagram Insights Compares To Iconosquare Analytics

How Instagram Insights new analytics tools compare to Iconosquare analytics. A comparison of Instagram analytics tools, how they can help you grow an engaged Instagram following, and whether or not investing in analytics tools makes sense.

Earlier this week I was pleasantly surprised to see a popup notification after I updated to latest version of Instagram letting me know that Instagram analytics have arrived! Instagram announced last month that their “Instagram Insights” analytics information as well as other other business tools would be rolling out, but after a quick google search and asking around in various social media communities, I found very little concrete information around the who/when/whys of the tools are rolling out other than “business profiles, insights and the ability to promote will be rolling out in the US, Australia and New Zealand in the coming months, and will be available in all regions globally by the end of the year.”

I might of done a little happy dance when I realized I had access to Instagram Insights – if you don't already know, I'm a HUGE data nerd and am excited to see analytics information directly within the Instagram app! I currently use and recommend the paid service Iconosquare for Instagram analytics (Squarelovin is similar + free), though Iconosquare just announced their “PLUS” level membership (the lowest tier) is going up from $28.80/year to $49.00/year starting July 11, 2016, so I thought this would be a good time to evaluate whether or not it makes sense to continue to pay for analytics information when Instagram itself is now providing it for free.

INSTAGRAM INSIGHTS

If you haven't seen the new Instagram Insights, it is similar to the analytics for Facebook pages in that it gives you data on your followers and your Instagram posts. This type of information is sooo valuable in determining if you're actually reaching your target audience and the types of content that are resonating with your audience.

Mochi Instagram Dog Profile

To access Instagram Insights, there is a bar chart icon next to the settings icon at the top of your Instagram profile. If you don't see this yet, then the analytics haven't rolled out to you yet – your Instagram account may need to be associated with a Facebook account for Insights to work (I had to confirm my Facebook Information to access Instagram Insights the first time) so if you haven't connected it already, you may want to do that now!

Instagram Insights: Impressions, Reach, and Engagement

The first section you see tells you your number of post “impressions” for the week (number of times all of your posts have been seen) and if you swipe left, you'll see your “reach” for the week (number of unique accounts that have seen any of your posts). These numbers are interesting because (to my knowledge) Iconosquare and other analytics tools I've used in the past have only tracked likes / engagement / growth but haven't been able to provide insight as to how many people are actually seeing your posts. On a weekly level, the numbers don't mean a ton to me, but on a per post level this is really helpful information!

Instagram post insights for @mochiandthecity Instagram celebrity dog

Looking at my Instagram posts from the last week, I can see the post specific impressions / reach / engagement by clicking on the “View Insights” tab below each photo. It's interesting to see engagement in relation to reach because to me, this is more indicative of audience preferences than looking at engagement in relation to overall followers. With that said, I'd love to see percentages in addition to raw numbers! #hinthint

Unfortunately, Insights are not available for historic posts beyond the last week (I'm guessing this is the last 7 days from whenever you get access to Insights), but moving forward this will be less relevant as you'll be able to see up to 2 years of analytics.

It's interesting to see engagement in relation to reach because to me, this is more indicative of audience preferences than looking at engagement in relation to overall followers.Click To Tweet

Instagram Insights: Top Posts

Instagram Insights Top Posts for @mochiandthecity

Going back to the main Instagram Insights area, you can see a “Top Posts” section that you can sort by type of post (all posts / photos  videos), by time period (7 days / 30 days / 3 months / 6 months / 1 year / 2 years), and filter by impressions / reach / engagement / likes / comments). This is an easy way to get a sense of what types of content your audience is engaging with so you can do more of what's working (and less of what's not).

Instagram Insights: Followers

Instagram Insights for @mochiandthecity Instagram dog

Possibly the most exciting part of the Instagram Insights information is the follower demographic analytics. You can see the breakdown of your followers by gender, by age, and by location. You can also further breakdown the age ranges for either male or female followers. I'd love to be able to see more specific numbers rather than just %s or ranges, but it's still great data to have in terms of knowing if you are attracting the right people. Mochi's target audience includes female millenials so seeing 84% women and the largest demographic segment from 18-34 is a good sign!

Instagram Insights Location analytics

For location, you can view followers by city or country – I think this would be particularly helpful for any one with a local business or local target audience, but it's also helpful in determining which time zones the majority of your followers are in so you can post accordingly. There's also an hourly breakdown showing when your followers are active (it's no surprise Mochi's audience is less active between 1am – 7am ET since the majority are in the U.S. and specifically in NYC) – and which days of the week your followers are more/less active (in Mochi's case, it doesn't really matter). 

This level of demographic information is unique to Instagram Insights vs. other Instagram analytics tools (which makes sense since Facebook owns Instagram), and combined with the other analytics information like reach / engagement, this is definitely a helpful in knowing how to position your best content in front of the right audience at the right time.

HOW INSTAGRAM INSIGHTS COMPARES TO ICONOSQUARE ANALYTICS

While Instagram Insights provides a lot of great information, there are still a number of ways that Iconosquare sets itself apart. In particular:

  • Custom time periods – The ability to sort by custom time periods is extremely valuable for evaluating campaigns whether you're looking at top posts/ engagement over time / follower growth or other stats.
  • Follower growth over time + gain/loss – Iconosquare provides more information about account growth over time both in numbers and in graph form. It also shows daily gain / loss information as well as specifically which followers followed / unfollowed so you have additional insights.
  • Community details – I don't pay a lot of attention to who's following back / who's not, but if you're looking for more account specific detail regarding your followers, Iconosquare is a more helpful tool.
  • Engagement as a percentage – While it's nice to have the impressions / reach information from Instagram Insights, I'd really love the see engagement as a percentage instead of just the total number of likes / comments.
  • Change from week to week or month to month as a percentage – Tracking growth or engagement from one time period to the next is something I look at pretty often, and there's no way to really do that with Instagram Insights.
  • Daily reporting – I really like getting a daily report (by email) from Iconosquare showing a quick overview of the previous day's activities. Instagram currently doesn't have it's own reporting tools beyond what you see in the app (and to my knowledge that's not something they have planned to roll out in the coming months).

OVERALL THOUGHTS

For the average Instagram business user, Instagram Insights are simple (free!) way to get key analytics that can help you grow an engaged Instagram followingYou probably don't “need” additional analytics – and for the initial release of it's business tools – I think Instagram has done a great job at providing the most valuable information in an easy to access manner. I'm interested to see if / when / how they update the Instagram Insights capabilities as they roll out additional features like business profiles and in app advertising capabilities.

With that said, I'll probably continue to pay for Iconosquare (at least for Mochi's account), because I like the more detailed analytics and daily reporting feature. To me, these things are worth the $4/month Iconosquare fee, but if you're just looking for straightforward analytics, Instagram Insights might be your new BFF.

If you have access to Instagram Insights already, I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Instagram Resource Guide for shooting, editing, scheduling photos

5 Reasons I Didn’t Read Your Blog Post (And How To Fix Them Right Now)!

You're dedicating time to blogging but you need to get people to actually read your blog. These are 5 reasons people aren't reading your blog posts, and what you can do about them. Click through if you're blog posts aren't converting into subscribers or you want higher quality blog traffic!

You worked hard to make your blog beautiful and put together a blog post PACKED with value… so why aren't more people reading it? The blog world is so saturated that sometimes even getting your blog in front of the right people (or any people) can be a challenge – but once, you do, there are still a number of reasons that prevent people from actually reading your blog posts or scrolling all the way down to see that content upgrade you spent so much time putting together. So here are 5 reasons I didn't read your blog post and (+ how you can fix them), because if you're taking the time to create valuable content, you want people to actually read it, right?!

5 Reasons I Didn't Read Your Blog Post

Your Blog Post Title Didn't Sound Interesting

If your headline doesn't immediately catch my attention, I have no reason to click through to read your blog post. According to Copyblogger, on average 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will go on to read your blog post.  When you craft your blog post titles, are you keeping your target audience in mind? Your blog post titles should tell them what they are going to get out of reading your post. Are they going to learn something? Be inspired?

Solution: You have the opportunity to be better than average by taking the time to craft blog post titles that are 1) Urgent 2) Unique 3) Useful and 4) Ultra-Specific. For example, the title for this blog post, “5 Reasons I Didn't Read Your Blog Post (And How To Fix Them Right Now)!” can be broken down into: 5 reasons [number is ultra-specific] that I didn't read your blog post [post is uniquely targeted to bloggers] And How To Fix Them [how this post is useful] Right Now [creates sense of urgency]. #practicewhatyoupreach

Your Pop-Up Got In The Way

If I click through to your blog post and something pops up right away, it better be an offer for something really irresistible. Many people are anti-pop-up all together, but I don't mind them when used appropriately. Give people some time to actually READ your content before you assault them with a pop-up asking them to subscribe. And please don't just ask them to subscribe to your newsletter – no one needs another newsletter in their inbox – make sure you're clear on what they're really getting out of that newsletter (tips? promotions? pictures of cute puppies?) or even better, use your pop-up to offer a freebie (checklist, ebook, email course, etc.) that's actually super helpful.

It's also important to take a look at what your popup looks like on mobile devices – often pop ups can seem unobtrusive on large screens but completely take over on mobile!

Solution: Plugins like SumoMe and Ninja Popups allow custom settings so you can activate popups only when a user has scrolled 3/4 down the page or when they are navigating to leave your site (exit intent popups). SumoMe also allows you to create forms that slide up from the corner that are much “friendlier” popups since they don't get in the way of people reading your content!

Tailwind - best Pinterest scheduler for bloggers

Your Posts Contain Long Paragraphs of Plain Text

Save the novels for Kindle. The best blog posts are easily digestible, and that means breaking up large chunks of text into smaller bites. If your posts are just large paragraphs of text, it's hard to quickly determine what's important. And there's SO much content out there, that if it's not easy for me to consume yours, I'm going to move on. #sorrynotsorry Research has shown that the average reader is only reading about 20% of your post anyway – so make sure that you're calling attention to the 20% that you really want them to see.

Solution: Break up longer paragraphs into shorter blocks of text. Utilize formatting options like headings, bold text, italics, quotes, etc. They're there for a reason!

If you're not consistently sharing your content, it's kind of hard for people to find it when there's SO MUCH STUFF on the Internet.Click To Tweet

You Aren't Using Eye-Catching Graphics

Speaking of breaking things up – using eye-catching graphics is a great way to do this. It's 2016 y'all, there's no excuse for bad visuals – but I still see them all the time. According to LifeLearn, when people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10% of it 3 days later. But when a relevant image is paired with the same information, people retained 65% of the information 3 days later. Do you want people to remember you? Then always include visuals.

Solution: At a minimum you should include a branded post graphic that includes the title of the post + bonus points if it's a longer/taller “pinable” image. If your post calls for more visuals – make sure you're using them. For example, if you're sharing a tutorial, include step by step images (or a video). If you're sharing a lot of information, think about how you can translate it into an infographic. You don't have to be a Photoshop / Illustrator expert to create great visuals (though they can definitely come in handy) – free programs like Canva make it really easy for anyone to create eye-catching graphics!

If you struggle with taking photos for your blog, there are always stock photos – you can easily find them on Etsy or Creative Market, or join the Styled Stock Society for stock photos that are just $25/month (or less)!

I Didn't Know Your Blog Post Exists

Finally, it's obviously hard to read your blog post if I don't know it exists. If you're not consistently sharing your content, it's kind of hard for people to find it when there's SO MUCH STUFF on the Internet. Sure it's nice to have Bloglovin or Feedly subscribers, but do you know how many times I've clicked “mark all as read” this year? (I have no idea to be honest, but its more definitely more than 5) I've worked with some clients who've said they want more traffic from Instagram – yet they never tell their Instagram followers about their new blog posts. I've blown people's minds when I tell them that I pin and repin and repin and repin and repin and repin and repin and repin and repin and repin the same blog posts and continue to get new traffic to them over and over again. Remember, build it and they will come is not a thing. If you want people to find your blog posts, you need to share them. And keep sharing them.

Solution: Every time I publish a new blog post, it automatically gets shared to any blog subscribers on Bloglovin, feedly, or by email. It's automatically shared via Twitter + then added to my SmarterQueue library to be shared over and over again on Twitter and Facebook. It's pinned to my blog post Pinterest board, to any relevant topic boards, and to 10+ group boards. It's shared in relevant Facebook groups + on Instagram a couple of times. It's mentioned in my email newsletter + mentioned again anytime I'm talking about something relevant. And if you click any of those pink buttons on the left of your screen (or the bottom if you're on mobile), you can share this post with your audience too! The point = share, and keep sharing. 

WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO READ A BLOG POST?

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Instagram business myths that you need to stop believing!

Instagram myths that you need to stop believing. Instagram isn't just for product-base businesses or fashion bloggers. If you think you can't use Instagram for your business, read this post!

I've heard a lot of different “excuses” for why people think Instagram isn't a good platform to market their business and some of them drive me insane because I KNOW they're just not true. Over the past few years I've used Instagram for a number of different businesses and blogs, so there's definitely not ONE right way to use it. I really do think that MOST online business owners should be using it to connect with potential customers because it's a platform that allows you to build relationships in a way that's unlike any other platform.

SO HERE ARE A FEW INSTAGRAM MYTHS I'VE HEARD MORE THAN ONCE…

and why I think you should stop believing them now!

My customers aren't on Instagram

There are over 800 million people on Instagram so chances are, your customers are already there. Years ago most Instagram users were on the younger side, but now only about half of those are under 35 – so really everyone (and their mom) is on Instagram now! BUT – your customers aren't necessarily looking for YOU on Instagram, so you may need to do a little homework to find them.

TAKE ACTION: Do your research. If you don't know who your target audience is, you're going to have a hard time with social media marketing across the board. Think about what other accounts they might follow (Who inspires them? What blogs do they read? Who are your competitors?) and the hashtags that are relevant to them (not just the ones that describe your business).

I need a lot of followers to make money on Instagram

While growing your following is important if you want to expand your reach, followers aren't everything! Rather than focus on just getting a lot of followers, I always advise my clients to focus on getting targeted followers who are actually engaged with your content. At the end of the day would you rather have 20,000 followers who never want to buy from you or 2,000 followers who are loyal customers? Followers are often a vanity number (and unfortunately it's easy to buy followers these days – ugh!), but you definitely don't need a ton of followers to make money on Instagram. One of my clients booked 3 clients from a single Instagram post – and she only had 200 followers at the time!

TAKE ACTION: Focus on engagement + building community. You don't need to follow a ton of accounts and hope that they follow you back. “Introduce” yourself to 10 new accounts every single day by liking and leaving genuine comments on their photos. Don't forget to respond to comments, and make sure your profile clearly states who you are / what you do / how people can buy from you or hire you.

Instagram is only for product-based businesses

No ma'am. I've sold $10 statement necklaces, $100 digital products, and $1,000 consulting packages all via Instagram (not to mention my dog charges $1,000+ PER POST as a social media influencer), so I've personally sold a range of things via Instagram. But don't just take my word for it – my clients have sold $30 home accessories, $200 organic skincare products, $2,500 photography packages, and $5,000 coaching packages. So Instagram is definitely NOT just for product-based businesses! If you have a digital product / service based business you can share photos of mockups, examples of your work, behind the scenes photos of your business or office, or other lifestyle photos that are still on brand.

TAKE ACTION: Make sure you're telling people what you offer and how they can get it. Even if you have your business information in your bio, you need to remind people in the captions of your photos what you do or what you sell from time to time. And if you're actively seeking clients or customers, make sure you are also telling them how they can hire you or where they can find your products! For example, if you're a graphic designer you might post photos of your design work on Instagram and then tell people that they can click the link in your profile to find out more about your design services. Don't just assume your followers know who you are and what you do! Here are more ideas on what to post on Instagram for both product and service-based businesses!

Instagram Resource Guide for shooting, editing, scheduling photos

You need professional photography to stand out on Instagram

This is definitely not true!  Most Instagram users are not professional photographers (and can't afford to pay someone to take photos for them) – but that doesn't mean you can't stand out on Instagram! You can take amazing photos with just an iPhone (see some amazing examples right here), and some people use (on brand) stock photos or just repost other people's photos (with proper credit of course). Instagram is a visual platform so the quality of your images / videos does matter, but that doesn't mean you need to be a pro!

TAKE ACTION: Save time by batching your photos once a week or once a month. If you're taking your own photos and want them to look consistent, it's much easier to do that if you take them all at one time! Plan out a few weeks in advance if possible so you can prepare your content and always know exactly what to post. If you have the budget to outsource content creation, make your life easier, then make your life easier!

While growing your following is important if you want to expand your reach, followers aren't everything!Click To Tweet

Instagram won't drive traffic to my website

One of Instagram's “flaws” is that you're only allowed the one clickable link in your profile (unless you're running ads or using the shop feature), but this “flaw” is also one of the things that keeps Instagram from being super spammy! Here's the thing, if you want people to click on the link in your profile you need to give them a reason to do it – don't just assume that because you link to your website or blog people will decide to click through on their own. Most people who are scrolling through Instagram aren't looking for a reason to LEAVE Instagram, so driving traffic to your website requires a little strategy – but it's really not that hard!

TAKE ACTION: Make sure you have a clear call to action in your bio telling people WHY they should click on the link in your profile. Bonus points if your CTA leads them to sign up to get something valuable for free!

I don't have a lot of time to spend on using Instagram for my business 

I'm not going to lie, Instagram is not going to work for you if you don't put in some work – BUT, unlike Twitter or Pinterest where you need to be constantly posting throughout the day, you can post just once per day on Instagram and get great results! Unfortunately (or fortunately really), you can't just post a photo every day and expect to bring in the $$$. You need a strategy and you need to be consistent (as with most things in business)!

TAKE ACTION: Plan your content in advance and schedule it out. If you take my advice above and batch your photos in advance or use high quality stock photos, you can also pre-write your captions (here are 365 different Instagram caption ideas!) and schedule your posts using a scheduling tool like Planoly. Do a little work up front and you can save a ton of time when it come to creating your content – then you can just focus on engaging + building community for a few minutes each day!

Did you believe any of these myths? Are there any other reasons why you think Instagram can't work for you?!

Not sure what you should be posting on Instagram?

Download my guide to 365 Instagram caption prompts that you can use for your online business!