Instagram Insights: What They Are and How To Use Them

Mastering the business of social media is no easy feat. Even experts have to update themselves on new tools, algorithms, and best practices constantly. Using Instagram’s various tools to help improve your profile and get the necessary views and interactions you desire may seem complicated. Instagram Insights can help improve your social media strategy. 

Not sure how to use Instagram insights? No need to worry. This article will explain how to use Insights to benefit your Instagram account. You’ll master it in no time.

What are Instagram Insights?

So what exactly are insights, and how do they work? Any business account on Instagram will have access to the Insights feature. Insights help you to find out what appeals to your audience and what makes them interested enough to engage (or interact) with your profile. 

The many parts of Insights allow you to improve your business strategy.

Let’s discuss some of the terminologies you may come across when using Instagram Insights. Metrics (a word you’ll see that defines most of, if not all, the data) is divided into different groups and different tabs within Insights. These are:

  • Activity
  • Content
  • Audience

 So what is the difference between all of these metrics?



Instagram breaks Activity down into two categories: Interactions and Discovery. Interactions show you what your audience has responded to or the “action” they may or may not have taken on your profile. 

For instance, if your audience (or anyone) on Instagram visits your profile, clicks on your website link or tapped on your email, you will be able to see the number of people who have done this.

You can also see which one of these has the most interactions. These metrics will be different weekly, so you will want to keep up with them quite often.

To use Insights, the Instagram profile must be a public business profile. If it is, you should see the Insights icon, and you can get started.



The “content” tab of your Instagram insights offers information on your unique posts, stories, and promotions. You can filter by type of content, date, and by metric.

This tool is useful for seeing which posts perform best, which can help you learn what works for your account. 



The “audience” tab simply offers information about your audience on Instagram. This provides various metrics, like common audience demographics like age, gender, and more. We’ll go over all the metrics that you can find on Instagram Insights below! 


What Can You See on Insights?

instagram insights
Source: valeriy eydlin

Once you’ve clicked the icon, you will see a menu where you can select “Insights.” When you do, you’ll see the Recent Highlights that show you general information on your followers and who is engaging with your profile. 

There are plenty more detailed analytics for you to see on Insights as well. So let’s look into those.



Typically in metrics terms, impressions mean how many visitors you have had to your site. In Instagram’s case, it is more specific to how many views your story has received. 

While you can add multiple photos to your story, a single impression counts for the whole story, whether someone has seen just one or all of them. This rule also applies to when one user sees your Instagram story multiple times. Their many interactions still count as one impression.



instagram engagement rate

Reach usually means how many individual users have seen your content. Impressions mean who has come across the content, while reach translates into who has seen or interacted with it.

From here, the terms are simpler to understand and are all related to stories. The following terms are:

  • Taps Forward – This will show how many times someone has tapped through your story (be it a photo or a video) to skip to the part of the story.
  • Taps Back – Likewise, Taps Back are just what they sound like. It reflects how many times someone taps back to see the previous photo or video.
  • Replies – Also straightforward are your Replies, or how many times users have replied to your story by sending a message via the story’s text box.
  • Swipe Aways – This differs from the taps forward in that users will swipe to the next account’s story rather than tap ahead in yours.
  • Exits – This particular insight calculates the number of times someone leaves the stories section entirely to return to their main feed.

All of this data will help you understand what is and is not working on your profile and aids in you planning a strategy to improve. After analyzing the data, you can create new content that will receive more engagement. 

You can also keep track of the improvements of the data, or find what you still need to work on.

One thing to be aware of is that if your metrics are all suddenly performing poorly, it may be a change in Instagram’s algorithm. The algorithm changes come about with the intent of improving problems with previous algorithms. 

Instagram also aims to get the most popular posts or content they would like to receive more views to receive them. 


Other Helpful Metrics

There are more details on how to improve your reach on Instagram. A little tip is to keep track of who your audience is. This may help you to find out why certain posts are appealing to people and who is making your account grow. 

Audience is a tab within the Instagram Insights menu, and it allows you to see the location and demographics of your followers, as well as how the numbers of your followers may have changed since the week prior.

You will have access to the following in the Audience tab:

  • Age – As it sounds, this will show you the age of your followers. This does not mean you will have access to each follower’s age, but rather the age groups that have the most interest in your content. Just as an example, you may find that your audience is mostly made up of 18-34-year-old women.
  • Gender – Again, a general percentage of followers’ genders that are interested in your profile and content. You may see an audience that is a balance of all genders, or perhaps you sell a product that is specific to females and you’d like that percentage to be higher.
  • Locations – You will be able to see the cities and countries that your followers live in. This can help in terms of what language or writing style you would like to use to appeal to a certain audience.
  • Followers – This shows when your followers are the most active on your profile from days of the week to the hour of the day. If you see your audience is most active between 5-8 PM on a Thursday, you’ll want to see why and post more during that time


How To Access Instagram Insights

instagram profile followers

To access Instagram Insights, you must have a business profile on Instagram. Follow these steps to find Insights: 

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Tap “Insights” OR Tap the three lines at the top right corner, and then tap “Insights” 


Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve seen the basics of Insights, you are one step closer to strategizing and improving your business profile. Keep up with these metrics and you’ll be surprised at how simple it is to have an active audience.

Written by Erin

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