Are you fluent in Instagram Stories analytics? If not, you should be.
Instagram Stories have 400 million daily users now, which is a 100 million jump in less than two years. People loooove Stories, just like Kanye loves Kanye. And Instagram is doing a pretty good job at releasing more and more Stories features to encourage more and more people – and businesses – to join the tribe.
According to Instagram itself, one-third of the most viewed Stories are coming from businesses, which means that it’s time for you to step up your game. Stories should become an essential part of your Instagram marketing strategy, and for that, you need to learn how to measure your Stories’ performance.
This guide will teach you to do exactly that 😉
It covers each and every metric that is currently available for Instagram Stories analytics, gives you info on how to interpret those metrics – and actionable advice on how to improve.
If that sounds good to you, then keep reading!
Instagram Stories Analytics:
The Ultimate Guide
Instagram Stories metrics
Ok, now let’s acquaint ourselves with the full list of metrics currently available on Instagram Stories. You can get these metrics using a combination of Instagram’s Native Insights and Iconosquare, which is, so far, the only platform that offers detailed analytics on Stories besides Instagram itself 😇 #Proud
Here’s the list of metrics. You can also click on any of them, to jump straight to the one you’re most curious about:
Reach: the number of actual users that saw your Story. This is perhaps THE most important analytics metric for Instagram Stories, as it gives you a precise overview of how many people you’re actually reaching.
While reach tells you how many people watched your Story, the impressions metric shows how many times your Story has been watched. So, for instance, if one person has seen your Story 3 times, this will be counted as 1 reach and 3 impressions.
Typically, you’ll get a higher number of impressions in comparison to reach – but never the other way around.
If you notice that your reach is decreasing, try to understand why. More often than not, this happens for two reasons.
First, you normally see reach going down with every next Story you publish. If you’re posting a long sequence of Stories in one day, it’s natural for every next piece to attract less eyeballs. Here is, for example, a sequence of 6 Stories I recently published on the same day. As you can see, the first Story (to the very right) was seen by 306 people and generated 323 impressions. However, as more Stories were published, the last one had 185 reach and 202 impressions, which is almost 1,5x lower.
Don’t freak out – this is absolutely normal. However, if you notice that the curve is becoming too negative, then you’re probably posting too many Stories in too short a period of time.
The second reason for your reach to be declining could lie in the fact that you’re not sharing the type of content your audience finds to be engaging. Don’t be afraid to switch things up once in a while, and track your results for spikes of reach depending on the different type of content you post. Also, you can do a little Instagram audience research and use Instagram Stories polls to ask your followers directly about what it is that they’d like to see. Maybe they’re sick of your Promotional Product content and want to see more Behind the Scenes? You’ll never find out if you never ask!
If you’re interested to know how many users click to see your next Story, look at tap forwards. This metric tells you exactly that!
If the tap forwards number is too high, this might indicate that your Story isn’t interesting enough – or, perhaps, was simply too long. A lot of people “speed forward” when they’re watching Stories, so if you’re getting a lot of tap forwards, this means your audience is rushing through your content instead of staying on it.
However, tap forwards can also happen accidentally if you positioned a hashtag or a poll sticker too close to the right side of the screen and forced users to tap forward, when what they intended to do was to actually engage with your Story.
Tap back is the number of taps a user makes to see your previous Story. If you’re seeing that your Story is getting a lot of tap backs, check what was the Story posted right before it. After all, that’s the one people are coming back to watch again.
Which taps are better, backs or forwards?
This is a question that doesn’t let many sleep at night, and yet the answer is pretty simple: it’s tap backs.
See, to receive a tap back is a better Instagram Stories KPI because you’re sure to get an extra impression on your Story. It’s an indication that people might be interested in watching it again, after all. Whereas, if you receive lots of tap forwards, it is, sadly, an indication of the opposite: that people are speeding through your content because it failed to engage them.
Interactions are quite self-explanatory. In a nutshell, this is the number of actions taken from a particular Instagram Story, say, a click on hashtags you’ve included, name tags, replies, etc.
If you click on Insights for a particular Story on Instagram, you’ll be able to see easily where people actually click. This is particularly important if you want to direct your followers’ action to a particular sticker if, for example, you’re giving a shoutout to another user, or want them to click on your brand hashtag, etc.
Are your Stories engaging enough for people to reply to them? Do they provoke a conversation? Are you actually asking your followers a question, in order to give them an opportunity to reply? Or do you, perhaps by accident, have the Stories’ replies disabled? 😱
Lots of replies on Stories is a good indicator that they’re engaging, entertaining, and are relevant to your audience.
The golden metric of Instagram Stories analytics, link opens is the number of times that the URL in your Story was opened. Note, however, that you’d need 10,000 followers on Instagram to be able to include links and start driving traffic from Instagram Stories.
While link opens would give you a good overview of how many times people click on your link, you’d probably want to track this additionally with Google Analytics in order to see how much traffic you’re actually getting, what’s the time spent on site, etc. This is something Instagram can’t tell you because these stats are outside of its own domain.
People can exit your Story without watching it to the end. Even the best of us get Stories’ exits, so don’t despair if you’re seeing this metric.
Exits can happen for three different reasons:
- If a user closed the Instagram app while viewing your Story
- If a user clicked on the X on the top-right corner of your Story
- If a user swiped the media down, ending back on the main feed
Of course, the lower the number of exits, the better. If the exit number is too high, this probably indicates that people aren’t interested in your Stories. What to do? Rethink your Stories content strategy!
Another action people can take on a Story is to swipe away to the Stories of the next user. This is almost as painful as an exit.
You can see Swipes Away in native Instagram Insights, if you go Insights → Content → Stories → See all → and click Next story. There, you’ll get an overview of how many people swiped away from your Stories completely, without finishing the whole sequence, in order to move to the Stories of another user.
Completion rate: another super valuable stat in Instagram Stories analytics. It gives you an idea of what percentage of users watch your Stories until the end. The formula is simple: 100% minus the exit rate.
Native IG Insights don’t offer this metric, so you either have to calculate it manually (hello, Google spreadsheets!) – or, use Iconosquare. Go to Analytics → Stories, click into the one particular Story you want to analyze and you’ll see the completion rate for that Story:
Naturally, if the completion rate is too low, this means that people aren’t finishing your Stories. It’s like they’re walking out on a boring movie in the cinema. On the opposite side, if the completion rate is close to 100%, this means that the Story is particularly interesting and you’re doing a great job at posting the right content 👍 Well done!
General Instagram Stories Analytics
Now that you know everything about specific Stories metrics, it’s also useful to understand more general analytics.
What’s your average posting frequency?
What kind of Stories, photos or videos, receive a higher number of impressions?
What Story has the highest reach and completion rate of all times?
With Iconosquare, if you look at your general stats for all your Stories over a selected period of time, you’ll get a quick overview of your overall performance. You’ll also be able to see other metrics, such as Stories repartition, average reach rate across all Stories, etc.
In addition, you can also evaluate what your best time to post Stories is, and compare it with your actual posting habits. After all, if you’re striving to reach more people with your Stories, posting at the most optimal time is a good strategy:
Native Instagram Stories Analytics give you an overview of the last 7 days only, so if you’re looking for a more extensive overview, it might make sense to backdate your analytics report. You can do that by simply selecting a specific period of time. Just do note that backtracking is only available from the moment you verified your Instagram Business Profile on Iconosquare.
Understanding the analytics behind your Instagram Stories is the first step to creating a data-driven content strategy for your Stories. If you know what performs best – and why – you can easily replicate the success.