With more than 500 million active daily users, Instagram is the hottest platform for brands to be on right now. But many are still unsure of how to communicate the amazing engagement they’re seeing – and correspondingly unable to demonstrate it in terms of ROI.
We’re here to help marketers prove they’re putting their brand’s money where the engagement is with analytics tool tips that they can implement immediately. Let’s get started!
The Changing Face of Instagram
Capturing relevant analytics to support a brand’s social media spend is challenging in itself, made so much more so when the rules of the road are in a constant state of flux.
And while these changes are a good thing, as having the latest, greatest insight about online audiences enhances your brand’s segmenting and targeting capabilities – it’s only good for your brand if your tool is keeping up with all the awesome intel Instagram provides.
This past December, Instagram made changes to the way brands were able to monitor their own efforts, as well as that of competitors and both partnered/non-partnered influencers. Making the change during the holidays meant many brands had to scramble because their analytics tools weren’t ready to accommodate Instagram’s changes. You can almost hear their end-of-year Instagram ROI reports falling flat if you listen closely.
NetBase customers were able to capture amazing insights to power their quarterly reports though – it was a seamless experience. And here are some of the areas they were able to focus on – and how each illustrates a top-notch ROI story. . . .
What better place to start than with Stories themselves? These promotional snippets live (for 24 hours) at the top of your followers’ Instagram feed, begging for attention – and they do their job well. According to TechCrunch “one in five Instagram Stories posted by a business receives a Direct Message reply.”
Once a story disappears, it’s stored in the story archive – and this is where you can pull content from to create Story Highlights that live on the top of your page:
It makes sense to plan backwards with Instagram stories, and consider how you’d like your highlight reel to look, as every bit of it can only come from archived/previously published stories that were live for a full 24 hours on your account.
So sorting that out (what to post) is an important piece of the ROI metrics puzzle – and will inform your efforts in each part that follows.
Creating a Baseline
How do you meaningfully measure story analytics when they disappear after 24 hours? There are many ways, but it starts and ends with understanding the data Instagram authorizes users (and tools on your behalf) to capture.
Tools are required to store data for each business separately, in its own data pool – and your search is restricted to what you capture. This is good thing, because it helps you focus your search around specific Instagram channels, keywords and hashtags that are most relevant to your brand.
Armed with that info, you’re ready to explore current intel and create a baseline to judge your efforts against as you create amazing posts and stories. And fortunately, with NetBase, you’re able to accumulate up to 27 months from the start of the topic’s date range, so your baseline will be solid.
You can explore who is talking about your brand or overarching category right now and which terms, topics and people are trending – and why (with positive or negative sentiment associated). And then you can drill down further to find out why:
The potential avenues a brand can follow are limitless and should connect back to your overarching mission/marketing goals. For example, a search around summer plans shows trending conversation around concerts:
And a more specific search around airline conversation, finds lots of trending chatter with the same theme – about a popular K-Pop band, BTS, making its way around the U.S. on tour:
Further exploring sentiment around South Korean bands, may lead an airline to partner with and create an Instagram series chronicling this band’s (or one of the many other popular groups trending right now) travels via their airline, complete with an account takeover to cross-promote their efforts. It’s working pretty well for Kia and Black Pink!
Or – being an airline – a possible a contest with a trip to see the band in action would certainly pay off, as user-generated content is always a follower favorite.
The data you capture, specific to your brand, will not only give you baseline info to start out, it will also help focus your marketing efforts on Instagram ahead of digging in, so you can hit the ground running. Or it can help finely tune existing efforts, if you’ve already started. You’ll want to be sure the analytics you’re capturing are powered by Next Generation AI for the most accurate and transparent results though – that’s key.
Tracking Hashtags & More
You’ll want to designate specific hashtags on Instagram to follow in your social listening tool, noting that each authorized Instagram Business Profile is allowed to track a maximum of 30 concurrent #hashtags across all social listening applications. So you’ll want to have as many authorized business profiles as possible to maximize your hashtag tracking.
You can then capture and analyze activity around those hashtags and clearly see what is working, what isn’t and with whom.
And for any owned or non-owned Business Profile specified in a topic (published on or after April 5, 2018), NetBase can analyze all of this data for you:
- Post text and captions
- Media and images
- Like and Comment counts
- Follower counts
- Impressions (based on Follower counts for authors of channel posts and not on Follower counts for users commenting on the channel posts)
- Author information
- Instagram page URL
When it comes to owned and authorized Business Profiles, NetBase also downloads comment text – which comes in handy when monitoring influencers.
You’ll likely want to partner with relevant influencers (not every brand is the right fit for K-Pop bands mentioned above!) to boost awareness and engagement beyond your brand’s typical reach.
After exploring brand and category conversations, you’ll have a good sense of whose voice resonates with target segments, and may want to create partnerships with these influencers. You can then explore exactly what they’re saying to see if it jibes with your brand:
And look closely at how their – and your – activity trends over time, paying attention to where your brand was compared to where it is today based on what you do/contract with them to do for you.
The right influencer can offer amazing ROI, but any influencer engagement requires vigilance throughout the process. There are lots of inflaters out there who look good at first glance, but just aren’t good for your brand. “Pre-canned influencers are typically offering 25% the engagement level a brand can expect from authentic influencers.”
Spend the time in your analytics tool before starting to make sure you’ve found the right people and path, and the rest will be amazing.
Folding It in With Other Social Sites
The options for comparisons are extensive – and you’ll want to combine Instagram insight with other social data for a more complete picture.
You can have a timeline (l) or topic (r) comparison, with trend lines for multiple topics, optionally filtered by multiple themes, tags, or product hierarchies, with a maximum of 60 matrixed items:
Or a side-by-side comparison of insights emerging from one or more topics filtered by one or more themes, tags, or product hierarchies!
Important Final Tip!
You’ll want to actively monitor Instagram as well, of course. Setting aside time immediately after posting to reply and interact with followers is the heart of social media mastery. If you scroll through Instagram and see which accounts have the most engagement (outside of celebrities), you’ll quickly notice a distinct difference between authentic and engaged accounts vs those that are purely promotional. The latter lag far behind their authentic competitors.
Proving the ROI of any social media can platform can be challenging, particularly if your analytics tool isn’t offering transparent results. Reach out for a demo and we’ll show the difference accurate analytics make to your brand’s bottom line!