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These Are The Instagram Metrics You Should Be Measuring

Ed Note: This week, ATAK’s Marketing Manager Sarah Shimoda shares some insight on the real Instagram metrics you should be focusing on. For help attracting, connecting, closing, and delighting your customers on Instagram, schedule a consultation with us today. Enjoy!

Instagram has changed over the past few years and is showing no signs of stopping any time soon. The company launched the Boomerang photo app in 2015, shifted their chronological algorithm in early 2016 to show users the “best” posts first, and introduced their version of Snapchat,  Stories, that transformed the product completely. With all these changes and features Instagram produces and hitting over 600 million monthly active users, it has earned its spot as one of the top social media channels, making it a crucial platform for businesses, big or small.

When it comes to companies using Instagram, posting about their product and using fun hashtags are one thing (or two things, technically), but it can get a little daunting when it comes to looking at the actual numbers and understanding the impact of users responding to posts. Let’s break down some of the most important metrics to measure when it comes to your business’s Instagram account.

Engagement Metric

This goes without saying, but it’s safe to conclude that pretty much everyone likes to be liked — both in real life and in the digital space. When you have an Instagram account for your business, receiving a bunch of likes and comments not only gives you a sense of validation in your product, but also gives you important metrics to help you measure your account’s engagement to give you an idea of how your content is performing and how it resonates with your customers and potential customers.

Key Metric to Pay Attention to

Your profile’s engagement rate is arguably the most vital metric to take into account when it comes to Instagram. After all, Instagram’s new algorithm looks to bump the most engaging posts to the top in order to enhance the users’ experience. According to Iconosquare, the sweet spot for an account’s engagement rate falls between 3-6%. Being available to respond immediately to comments is a crucial component in order to help increase your chances of getting more engagement on your post, and achieving your goals.

We are all familiar with accounts that have thousands of followers, but upon digging deeper in their feed, we find they have noticeably low likes and comments compared to how many followers they have. Not only is it off-putting, but it deters the user from your call-to-action, whether it’s something as simple as leaving a comment or subscribing to your newsletter. Don’t be one of these accounts!

Think of engaging with people on your account as a form of customer service. In real life when dealing with customers, good or bad, you wouldn’t just ignore them, right? You would engage with them. Having conversations with your customers through the comments section is a way to have them return to your account and continue engaging with the content you put out. This is especially important when you are in the process of growing your following. Of course, once you start getting hundreds of comments per post, it’s nearly impossible to keep up and respond to each one, but it’s certainly a good habit to start early on to show your customers you’re a real person.

Audience Metrics

Determining your audience is a vital part of helping you figure out who your customers are — which is one of the first things to think about when mapping out your marketing strategy. In your Instagram account, you can learn some interesting facts about your followers, such as location, age range, gender, and even the day and time your followers tend to be the most active on Instagram. With this type of data in hand, it’s a great place to start to test out different content that aligns with your demographic.

Key Metric to Pay Attention to

Aside from metrics such as gender, location, and age, Instagram has another metric under Audience that provides data on the average times and days your followers are on Instagram. In the example below, we see a good amount of this account’s followers are on Instagram around 3pm on Mondays. This tells us they should plan to release their upcoming posts at this time and assess its performance from there.


Rolled out in 2016, Stories is Instagram’s version of Snapchat, which allows users to post photos or videos that are visible for 24 hours. Stories play a big role in Instagram now, with users interacting just as much with this as regular posts, and we think a part of this is due to Stories being right at the top when you open Instagram. With that, if it makes sense for your business, Stories would be a great thing to participate in, if you aren’t already.

Additionally, Instagram added a feature to this called “Highlights” where you can choose some of your past Stories and make them visible and permanent on your Instagram account, under your bio. Think of these as the best of your Stories that you think are useful and worth having users return to, hence calling them highlights. This would be good to document a product launch, an ongoing giveaway or contest, tutorials and more.

Key Metric to Pay Attention to

Some of the important metrics related to Stories you should take note of are Forward and Back. These are the actions that users do when they are viewing your Stories. If you’re seeing a lot of users tapping forward on your Stories, it’s important for you to try to determine why. Typically, this is a good indicator that your content didn’t resonate with the user, so be sure to make note of that and try to optimize your future Stories to prevent forward taps. On the other hand, if you’re seeing some traction on your back taps, then this could potentially mean your story caught the user’s eye, and they wanted to go back and view it again, which is good! Be sure to take note of that content and test it in future Stories.

Now that you have a better understanding of some of the top Instagram metrics, you have the knowledge to confidently dive into your account to analyze your numbers in order to determine the next steps to improve your content and grow your following.

Purposeful Marketing Method: Conducting Customer List Analysis

Many companies get lost with data and for good reason. First, there are thousands of metrics a company can track and only a few of them actually matter, despite what vendors with outside interests may believe. For companies trying to get a grasp of their data setup, the Customer List is the gateway into beginning to understand their current data landscape. Through reviewing key variables from past efforts, we create a baseline for our upcoming activity.

Step One: Build the List

The list is easy-to-build, but depending on the number of customers you have, it can be a little tedious. To begin, go to QuickBooks or your bookkeeping software. Export your paying customers from the past 12 months and sort from the highest revenue generator to the lowest.

Add a row above and create the following headings:

  • Column A – Customer Name
    • Sort by the highest paying customer
  • Column B – Gross Revenue
    • The amount each customer has paid the past twelve months
  • Column C – Persona Type
    • Not all customers may apply to this. Only put the label on customers you would consider “ideal” if they were not already.
  • Column D – Acquisition Channel
    • Where did the customer come from?
  • Column E – Revenue Streams
    • Which stream did they pay you for? Only identify one stream per customer, and if there are more than one, choose which one they paid the most for.
  • Column F – New Customer?
    • Identify if this customer was a first-time customer within the 12-month period of the export.

Thanks to the bookkeeping export, you should have columns A and B already filled out. Before going in and filling out the rest, add a row at the very top of the document. In Column A, type in “Marketing Spend”. Merge Columns B-F into one. Type in your marketing spend from the last 12 months. If this is not something you’re currently tracking, listing a ballpark figure is alright, but make sure you include EVERYTHING – human capital, systems, events, advertising dollars, etc.

Your sheet should look like the example below:

Now go through and fill out each column for every customer.

Note that if you want to work with a PMM implementor or an outside consultant, but you do not want to advertise your customer list to this person (or go through the NDA process with them), you can simply copy and paste column A from the example below and rename each customer “A,” “B,” and so forth. Who they are will not matter during the data exercises ahead, and the implementor does not need to know the actual company name to help you complete the work.

Before we move to step two, let’s use an example to help us illustrate what we’re trying to do. A young software company, we’ll call them “Young Software, works with professional service companies to streamline their project management, invoicing, and customer service.  

We will fill out their Customer List based on the following criteria of Young Software: 

12 Month Marketing Spend: $400,000 

Customers – 26, which we will name each letter of the alphabet 

Gross Revenue – $2 million 

Target Personas:

  • Accountant Ally
  • Lawyer Lou
  • Ellie Insurance

Acquisition Channels:

  • Referrals
  • Direct Mail Campaigns
  • Website/Search
  • Trade Shows
  • Cold Calling

Revenue Streams:

  • Monthly subscriptions
  • Software Development Kits
  • Enterprise Custom Solution

Here’s what their hypothetical customer list looks like:

Step Two: The Calculations

Alright, we’ve done the tedious part – we got all of the information into the right places. Now comes the fun part – putting these numbers together and learning what they mean. 

Here’s the list of calculations we’re looking to fill in: 

  • Gross Revenue 
  • Annual Value of a Customer*** 
  • New Customers 
  • Average New Customer Value 
  • Cost-Per-Acquisition 
  • Customer Value Per Revenue Stream 
  • Customer Value Per Acquisition Channel 
  • Customer Value Per Persona 

 ***Note: A more popular metric among marketers is the “Lifetime Value of a Customer.” However, this is one of the easiest pieces of data to manipulate, so we strip it down to something more concrete, the annual value.  

Here’s how we calculate each: 

  •  Gross Revenue 
    • Sum of all customers’ revenue 
  • Average Customer Value 
    • Gross Revenue divided by the number of total customers 
  • New Customers 
    • Sum of all customers marked as “new” 
  • Average New Customer Value 
    • New customer total divided by the gross revenue from all new accounts 
  • Cost-Per-Acquisition 
    • Total Marketing Spend divided by new customers 
  • Customer Value Per Revenue Stream 
    • For each stream, take the sum of each account that came from that stream and divide it by the total amount of accounts within the stream. 
  • Customer Value Per Acquisition Channel 
    • For each channel, take the sum of each account that came from that channel and divide it by the total amount of accounts from that channel. 
  • Customer Value Per Persona 
    • For each persona, take the sum of each account that you identify as that persona and divide it by the total amount of accounts listed as each persona. 

Using “Young Software” as our example, below is what we’ve calculated for their company. Notice we highlight in green where we see a positive outlier and in red where we see a negative outlier:

Step Three: What are we Looking For with These Calculations?

 When going through the Customer List, you’re identifying the starting point for your upward trajectory. You want more clients, at higher price points and to get them, you need to understand where you are today. 

One of the most impactful elements of the exercise is identifying outliers. Outliers can be good, and when they are, we highlight them in green. When they are bad, we go with red. 

Looking back at Young Software, we see that they have one revenue stream that significantly brings in larger accounts, their Enterprise Custom Solutions. Yet, ECS accounts are only about 20% of their total amount of customers. What’s happening within the company between the numbers? How much money is being spent on getting these types of customers versus the monthly subscriptions? How many people does it take to staff one of these accounts? Is the profit margin higher for ECS accounts as wellKnowing these accounts are significantly higher in value, how will we take this to our upcoming marketing efforts? 

On the flip side, we recognize that we have a Persona, Ellie Insurance, that makes up almost half of the clientele and yet, is about a 20% lower account size on average than the other personas. Why is this? How is this impacted by the marketplace? Are there just more insurance agents that need the software than lawyers?  

The answers to these questions can only come from getting everyone together to look at what the numbers are. When you go through the entire customer list and put labels on your current clientele based on the work you put in during Brand Day, you’re gathering intelligence on how you will move forward once you draw out your Marketing-to-Sales Maps. You see how your current Revenue Streams stack up, where you’re having success acquiring customers, and which Personas carry the most value to you. You start seeing numbers that you never considered before.   


You’ve calculated the important numbers. You know the variables specific to your business. Now close this exercise by discussing the 7 questions below. Answer in no more than 2 sentences for each question and take no more than 30 minutes to complete. Put the answers away somewhere you can access them because they’re going to come in handy later in the Method. 

1. We are spending $________ to acquire one customer. Knowing this, are we spending this $_________ the most effective way? 

2. What do we think would be more effective – spending more money on marketing or throwing out the things that are not working and lowering our cost-per-acquisition? 

3. How can we increase our Annual Value of a Customer? 

4. Based on the data we have reviewed, what do we need to consider regarding our revenue streams? 

5. Based on the data we have reviewed, what do we need to consider regarding our acquisition channels? 

6. Based on the data we have reviewed, what do we need to consider regarding our personas? 

7. Given our business, what other columns could be added to this sheet that may help us better understand our customers? 

Data Solutions Much More Than Just SEO

Data Solutions: Much More Than Just SEO

There are many ways to bring traffic into your website when you’re working with a digital marketing agency. Within marketing, we call these channels. To clients, they look more like services. The primary channels for bringing in digital marketing traffic are:

  • Social Media
  • Pay-Per-Click and Remarketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • 3rd Party Links (i.e. – press coverage, interviews)

It’s very uncommon that any of these channels will perform on its own. This is almost always a blend of tactics, integrated into one campaign. The better your campaign target and messaging, the more likely it is to resonate with prospects. This is where a data solutions department can be particularly useful.

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