Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Instagram engagement has evolved, and so should your KPIs

By Sandra Chung, Head of Content, Mention

Over the past decade, Instagram has been constantly reinventing itself. At first a humble photo-sharing app it has now transformed into one of the most robust business platforms of our time, generating over 14 billion monthly active users and 25+ million business accounts.

We can agree that Instagram has converted to a highly-influential advertising generator, breeding self-made entrepreneurs such as influencers. It’s safe to say that it’s been helping brands cement a highly-effective marketing channel, to truly connect with their audience.

When we talk about a ‘connection’ to our audience, how does that exactly does that translate to business goals? Well, that’s where engagement comes into play.

The number of likes and comments we get, at the end of the day, tells us if our content is resonating with the right audience.

For this reason, Instagram engagement has become a ‘holy grail’ KPI to track brand awareness. It has been the tell-all way to measure how connected a brand has become to its audience.

Now that most businesses are on Instagram they need to understand how to break through this increasingly competitive space. In short, engagement is still relevant but it has evolved.

It wasn’t until April 2019, that entrepreneurs and brands realized how much they relied on likes, shares, and comments. At this time, Instagram had begun gradually rolling out the removal of public likes — greatly impacting influencer content and KPIs.

Instagram’s engagement has changed. Now, what do we track?

The next step marketers need to take is one back. We must really start to think and asses what metrics make sense to measure based on our goals.

For example, if you’re a new electric scooter brand, you may be more interested in the number of views you get on your daily Stories which show off the features of your product in action, rather than the number of likes you get on your photos. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your community is interacting with your content.

What does engagement mean for businesses in 2020?

To succeed on Instagram in 2020, you need to share inspiring and feel-good content. Aside from content development, paying attention to important trends on the platform and how it’s adapting is key.

You’ll want to make sure that you’re posting consistently and have a good balance of different types of content including image posts and Instagram stories. Taking into account the removal of likes, you may also want your content to start encouraging comments, instead of likes.

Here are some key takeaways based on the Instagram Engagement Report to keep your content enticing and engagement worthy, in whichever way you choose to measure it.

  1. Posts — Users are liking static image posts (27.55%) more, versus permanent video posts or carousel posts. It appears as if users are steering Instagram back to it’s ‘roots’ of traditional photo sharing. This is something very important for businesses to acknowledge, and weave into their content strategy.
  1. Hashtags — Less is more when it comes to hashtags, in fact, 6 is the maximum you should be using. Any more than this and likes, shares and comments begin to decline. You must balance your wish to use popular hashtags against the danger of being crowded out of high demand topics. Start focusing on hashtags with smaller, yet still sizeable followings.
  2. Tagging — The more you tag users in your post, in theory, the more engagement you’ll generate? Yes, to an extent. Tagging between 1-3 users will return the highest amount of likes and comments on your posts. So stick to tagging profiles that are relevant to your post, not random influencers or accounts.
  3. Influencers —   Nano influencers have the highest engagement rate, and they are much more accessible than other influencers. They can reach super-niche audiences, that can complement your hashtag and tagging strategy to optimize your results.

It’s important to acknowledge the role data plays in content development, goals and metrics. If the platform you’re sharing content on is optimising data sets, why aren’t you also adopting an insights-driven mindset?

Leveraging social insights when they’re available is what will give your content the best chance of success.