April 12, 2018 Last updated on September 10th, 2020
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Are you fluent in Instagram metrics?

In other words:

Do you know the difference between reach and impressions?

Can you tell me how engagement rate is calculated?

Do you know what’s better: taps back or taps forward?

Do you have no idea what those taps even mean?

Am I overwhelming you right now?

Do you feel like you’re lost in meaningless buzzwords and silly Instagram terminology?

Welcome to the club.

Don't understand the Instagram metrics? Read this article!

It is not easy to become fluent in Instagram metrics. And yet, it is mandatory if you want to survive in the harsh, cruel world of brands and influencers fighting for their place under the sun.

Without understanding the metrics, how will you measure the effectiveness of your tactics?

Without understanding which tactics are more effective, how will you reach your goal?

See my point?

A good Instagram marketing strategy is made up from having a clear goal, actionable tactics, and measurable performance metrics. If one piece of the chain is missing, the whole chain will break.

So in today’s article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Instagram metrics. What they mean, where to find them, and, most importantly, what you can do with them to boost your Instagram marketing. We’ll cover General, Stories’, and Instagram Ads metrics.

To be able to read analytics, you need to activate your Instagram for Business. If you haven’t done that yet, go to this article explaining what the perks of IG business profile are and how you can make the switch. Note: You won’t be able to view Insights for posts prior to converting to Business account.

Ready? Then let’s go! 💪

Instagram metrics you need to know


Reach is the actual number of people who have seen your post.

Reach rate, however, is the number of people who have seen your post divided by the number of your followers.

Reach is always shown in numbers, reach rate is always shown in percentages.

Then, there’s also average reach rate per post, which is the average reach rate of ALL your posts published in a selected time period.


Impressions are the number of times your post/Stories/profile has been viewed during a selected period of time. Basically, it counts how many times your post has made an impression on someone, as on Instagram, the same post can be seen several times, a profile can be visited several times, and a Story can be, of course, watched several times, too.

For example: if one person has seen your post three times, this will be counted as 1 reach and 3 impressions.


Engagement rate is all your likes, comments, and saves divided by the number of followers at the time of the post.

There’s also engagement on reach: all your likes, comments, and saves for a post divided by your posts’ reach, not followers.

For example:  You have 100 followers, but 150 people have, in fact, seen your latest post that got 20 likes. Traditional “engagement rate” would be 20% for this post, while “engagement on reach” would be perhaps more exact – 13% – if you want to judge the success of your post.

How high should your engagement rate be? Good question. Normally, the more followers you have, the lower your engagement rate. This is a rule of thumb that applies to most Instagram metrics: as the number of your followers gos up, your rates go down. To put it in perspective: I have about 3.2K followers on my personal Instagram account and my engagement rate is 8.57% per photo. However, Kim Kardashian has approximately 108.5M followers and her engagement rate is 1.97%.

Where to look for Reach, Impressions and Engagement? If you have Instagram for Business activated (as I’d hope), you can find these two metrics under a specific post you want to analyze  using Instagram’s Native Insights:

Understanding Instagram Metrics

However, thing about Instagram Insights is that it only offers you actual numbers and not percentages, which are easier to interpret. In that case, go to Iconosquare → Post analytics to have an overview of your actual rates:

Instagram analytics from Iconsoquare


Perhaps one of the most obsessed-over Instagram metrics, followers growth is a surplus of followers gained over a specific period of time.

If you’ve been losing followers like crazy (who doesn’t nowadays?), you might want to try different growth and engagement tactics and see which one works for you.


Mentions: The number of Instagram posts mentioning your Instagram handle either as tagged within a post, or mentioned in the caption.

Currently, you can’t see that in native Insights. However. If you’re a lucky user of Iconosquare ADVANCED plan, you can see your mentions in Media → My Feeds → My Tags, where you can filter them according to their tag type, i.e. photo tag or a caption tag.

Media mentions on Iconosquare


The number of visits on your Instagram profile page.


Email clicks: the volume of taps to email your business in your Instagram profile.
Email click rate: like in the previous example, this is a percentage that shows the number of taps to email your business divided by the number of profile views.

Example: Say, your email was clicked 23 times, while your profile has been viewed 35 945 times in the last 30 days. This makes your email click rate 0.06%.


Exactly the same as the previous two examples:

‘Get directions’ clicks: an amount of clicks made to get directions to your business from your Instagram profile.

‘Get directions’ click rate: a percentage representing the number of ‘get direction’ clicks divided by the total number of profile views.

Example: Your ‘get directions’ button has been taped 147 times in the last 30 days. Your profile has been viewed 35 945 times over the same period of time, which makes your ‘Get directions’ click rate 0.41%.


Website clicks is the number of taps on the website in your Instagram profile

Website click rate is a percentage that represents that number of visits divided by the total number of profile views during a selected time period.

For example: If over the last 30 days you’ve got 833 website clicks and your website has been viewed 35 945 times, your website click rate is 2.32%.

There’s only one place (so far) where Instagram tracks the clicks on the URL, and that’s in your short bio. If you’re looking to drive traffic and increase your brand awareness, do put a URL in your bio. And if you’re looking to add multiple links to your bio (like we do), do check out LinkTree 😉

Where to find Profile visits and Email + Website + Get Directions clicks?
Again, look no further than Native Insights:

Profile visits in Instagram Insights


Saves are the number of saves that your post has gathered.

Average saves is the average number of saves your posts have gathered during a selected time period.

For example: If in the last 30 days, you published 5 posts and gathered 30 saves, your average saves is 6.


Views: the volume of video views your posts gathered based on the date range you’ve selected.

View rate: number of times the video has been viewed, divided by the number of impressions that video has received.

Note: Someone might have seen your post, but not necessarily watched the video. In that case, it would count as 1 impression, but not 1 view.


A branded hashtag is your own hashtag that you created to build a community around your brand and set an Instagram trend. Tags on a hashtag is the number of media posted using your hashtag.

Tracking branded hashtags on Instagram with Iconosquare



Essentially, exits show how many people left your Story without watching it to the end.  Exits happen when:

  • Users closed Instagram while viewing your Story
  • Users have clicked on the X on the top-right corner of your Story
  • Users have swiped down the media, ending back on the main feed

In the meantime, exit rate in Stories is a number of exits divided by the number of impressions.

Example: You’ve got 234 impressions and 21 exits. The exit rate would thus be 8.9%.


Instagram Insights also offers a swipe away metric, which shows how many people people swiped, NOT tapped, left or right to move to another user’s Story.


The number of taps a user made to see the next photo or video.

If you have a high number of taps forward, this might be a warning sign that your Story wasn’t interesting, or was too long and stopped making sense ages ago… A tap forward can also happen if the composition of your whole Story is a bit off: for instance, when you placed a sticker too close to the right side of the screen.


The number of taps a user made to see your previous photo or video.

While taps back can also happen accidentally, a high number of them can serve as a signal that people liked your previous Story enough to re-watch it, or liked your current Story so much that they quickly tapped back and then tapped forward to watch it again. When comparing taps back/forward, to receive a tap back is probably a better Instagram KPI to judge your content’s performance.


The number of DMs associated with your Story you received in your DM box.

Where to find exits, swipes away, taps back/forward and replies:
On Instagram, you need to click on Insights → Stories → apply filter:

Instagram metrics for Stories18. SHORTCUTS

Shortcuts is a total of tap backs, tap forwards, swipe aways, and exits. Basically, this is a number of all “shortcuts” people take to finish the story before it actually ends.


The completion rate allows you to understand which percentage of users have watched your Story until the very end. The formula is simple: 100% minus exit rate.

Where to find completion rate:

As Instagram’s Native Insights don’t offer this stat, you can find your completion rate in Iconosquare, by going Analytics → Stories, and clicking the one particular Story you want to analyze:

Completion rate of Instagram Stories



Going live is one of the biggest Instagram trends right now, so it makes sense to try it out – and measure the success of your attempts. The only metric to measure, really, is the number of live viewers.

Live viewer: Once someone joins the broadcast, this is counted as a view.

There’s also live viewers at any given time: a number of accounts watching your live video at a certain period of time. This number fluctuates, as people are constantly joining in and leaving your broadcast, but it might make sense to track the initial number of life viewers at the very beginning of your broadcast, as it essentially shows how interested your followers are in your broadcasts. If the initial number is too low, work on boosting your engagement rate (activating your followers’ interest) and approach your live thematic more carefully (i.e. don’t go live for any little thing – make it special!).

You can find the number of live viewers at any given time in the upper-left corner of the screen, immediately after you go live.

When you end the broadcast, Instagram will tell you the ultimate number of live viewers who have watched any part of your video:

Instagram live metrics min

Since there’s no analytics on Instagram Live at the moment, I suggest you record the numbers or take a screenshot right after your broadcast, to keep track and see if more and more of your followers are interested in your going live over time.



The number of clicks that your ad received (clicks), divided by the number of times your ad was shown (impressions). Always shown in percentages.


The amount of money you’re charged for one single click on your ad.


Calculated by dividing the total cost of your clicks by the total number of clicks. Say, your ad gets two clicks – one costs $0.20, another one $0.40, meaning you spent $0.60 in total. If you divide $0.60 (total) by 2 (number of clicks), the average CPC is $0.30.


The number of actual clicks your ad received.


This is it! Instagram metrics in a nutshell. If you want to learn how to employ Instagram KPIs within your strategy, check out this article on actionable Instagram Analytics from Iconosquare!

Over to you! Are you monitoring your Instagram metrics?

About the author
Olga Rabo

Olga Rabo

Olga is a LeadGen manager at Iconosquare, based in Berlin. She’s all about creating strategies, increasing clickthrough rates, and sharing her in-depth knowledge of content and social media marketing. She’s a big travel addict, a huge Katherine Ryan fan, and her favorite time of the day is brunch.

More posts by Olga Rabo

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