Business Instagram Insights 101

Are you using Instagram analytics to optimize content on your business profile?

If not, let’s just say you’re missing out on a BIG chunk of free insight and data about your target audience.

90% of Instagram users follow business profiles.

Optimizing your business profile and analyzing feedback on your content is one of the most effective (and did I mention free?) marketing campaigns you can do as a business owner.

If you’re not entirely sure what I’m talking about, it’s okay I won’t tell anyone.

What is Instagram Insight?

Instagram offers free analytic software called Insights for business accounts to help them reach their target audience more effectively. All business accounts with 100+ followers have access to Instagram insights.

You do have to make sure your account is public and a business profile to have access to these insights. If you aren’t sure how to do that, it’s super easy and can be done in 3 simple steps found here.

I understand if the word “analytics” is a bit off-putting for those of you who aren’t the savviest when it comes to technology and social media. But I promise it isn’t as complicated as you think and the rewards make the learning curve worth it.

This article is perfect for business owners who want to learn the basics of Instagram insights to improve their content and increase engagement on their business profiles.

Instagram insights can be accessed three different ways.

Story Insights

We’ve already talked about how using Instagram stories make the Instagram algorithm gods happy. But they also provide additional insight that you otherwise might miss. 

Access story insights by clicking the bar graph icon next to where you see who’s viewed your story.


Interactions show the amount of engagement you have on a particular post. Engagement includes simple emoji reactions and direct message replies to story posts.

This is useful when trying out new content. It shows what content receives the most engagement and what content falls short.


Discovery stands for the way people come across your content. 


Impressions are the number of times your story is viewed.


Follows show you the number of people who started following you after viewing your story.


Navigation shows you the number of viewers who did one of three things,

Back: When someone taps back on a story, that usually means they’re interested enough in it that they want to keep looking at it longer than the allotted time a story post is given. If you have a high number of backs, then take note of what kind of content is spiking the interest of viewers.

Forward: This represents the number of people who have clicked past your story before viewing it to completion.

Next Story/Exited: This is pretty self-explanatory. Keep in mind people do have lives so don’t take it personally if they exit out of your story without finishing it. If a story has a higher number than usual of people who exited than take a look at the content and see how it can be improved to hold audience attention.

Polls and questions are great tools to increase engagement in stories.

Post Insights

Post insights can be accessed through profile insights (see below) or by going directly to the post and clicking “View Insights” on the bottom left corner.

First, you’ll see all these fun symbols.

  • Heart = likes
  • Thought bubble = comments
  • Arrow = people who either a) shared post to their post or b) shared post with a friend through direct messages
  • Bookmark = people who saved post

Then if you swipe up, you’ll find even more data to sink your teeth into.


Just like story insights, post interactions represent the number of actions viewers took after viewing your post.


Discovery data shows how many people viewed your content and how they found it.


This number indicates the number of people who followed you after viewing a particular post. You can use this data when running contests or campaigns to measure effectiveness.


Commonly confused with impressions. Reach counts the number of individual accounts that have viewed your post, NOT the number of views.

This means that if your impressions outnumber your reach, people are looking at your posts multiple times.


The number of times your post is viewed. 


When a post does particularly well with followers, you might want to consider the option to promote it to reach a wider audience and gain additional followers.

Profile Insights

Profile insights are the most useful analytic tool on Instagram. They can be accessed on your profile in the top right corner of the screen, below settings. Your profile settings are divided into three categories.


Content displays an overview of posts and stories. It automatically displays posts in the last week but if you click SEE ALL you can view data related to posts from up to two years ago.

You can quickly see which posts had the highest reach, engagement, comments, saves, shares, likes, and more. It’s already organized by most popular, not chronological. This data helps you understand things like,

  • Kinds of posts your audience like

  • What hashtags seem to be most effective

  • Which content promotes the most engagement


Activity data measures the number of people viewing your profile and how they’re accessing it. It’s a great way to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.


Discovery shows the number of accounts who have viewed your profile and total impressions of all your posts in the current week. It also gives you a handy bar graph to show what days people were the most active on your page.

Remember, reach represents individual accounts. Impressions represent the number of times your posts are viewed. A high number of impressions compared to reach means people are coming back to view your content multiple times.

Instagram insight also automatically compares reach and impressions of this week with the previous week to measure profile growth.


Another handy bar graph shows the number of actions taken on your account within the last week. Tap on blue bars to get the actual number of profile visits per day.

Actions are sorted into profile visits and website clicks if you have your website link in your bio section (which we strongly recommend you do so if you haven’t already).


The audience tab displays data associated with growth and basic demographics of your current audience.

The line graph is a helpful visual aide to measure growth patterns and retention rate of followers. You can click on the graph to see statistics for certain days. A high unfollow rate is a good way to pinpoint bad content.

Demographic data includes,

  • top locations of your followers
  • top cities and top countries
  • age range
  • gender

All good information for ad targeting.

These demographics gives you a better understanding of your target audience and can help you further develop your voice as a brand.

Just keep in mind this data is based on followers, not impressions. It doesn’t collect demographic data of people who don’t follow you but still view your content.

Understanding your audience can help develop your brand voice but I would avoid excluding groups entirely.

Demographic data also sheds light on the type of content needed to reach a wider audience.

Have a ton of female followers but still relate your brand to males just as much? Try creating content that will boost male following. And thanks to Instagram analytics plus this awesome guide, you now know how to measure how well this content does.

The last bit of data under the audience tab is one of the most helpful. So important that I wrote a separate article about how to use Instagram insights to know when the best time to post is. I promise it’s not as long as this one.

Knowing optimal posting times is useful because the Instagram algorithm boosts content that is liked most in the first hour or two of being posted.

Understanding Instagram insights is important, but it isn’t everything.

Does posting and optimizing your own content constantly stress you out? If so, I don’t blame you.

User-generated content can be just as (if not MORE) effective. Talking about your own business can only do so much. The REAL trick is getting others to talk about your business for you.

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