Before Instagram became cool, marketers wouldn’t touch it. I don’t think many really understood it at first. Sure, it helped amateur photographers look like professionals but beyond taking pictures of your food and selfies in the mirror, brands couldn’t really identify with the mobile network.
There wasn’t any way of using a desktop computer to navigate the quickly growing community. Combined with no measurement features, Instagram was left out of the social media marketing tool chest.
This was back in 2011. And I remember having conversations with my colleagues whereby I suggested they include Instagram in their clients’ portfolios. My argument was that it gave a personable touch to a mobile network that was being quickly adopted by a younger generation — their target audience.
But without any way of clearly measuring their activity, it wasn’t something they wanted to consider.
That was until Statigram (now Iconosquare) was born. In May of 2011 the website was launched to give users a portal to view Instagram analytics of their accounts. The features were few with a limited amount of data being made available.
Since their launch, the site has changed their name and has added a plethora of features that now make up an arsenal of statistics. The information can be used to help measure your content marketing and give you a head start for an Instagram specific social media marketing strategy.
The best part is that the service is free. At least for now it is. Therefore, if you aren’t using it yet, I would recommend you sign up for an account.
For that purpose, in this article I am going to review Iconosquare and give my opinions about the features and metrics made available on the site. I will discuss specific benefits of certain metrics and how you may be able to apply them to your business.
The home dashboard is your stats overview. The top section tells you the same information that you can see on your public profile. It shows how many posts you have submitted, how many followers you have and how many accounts you are following. What I found interesting was that it also shows how many total likes and comments all of your content has ever received. Using those two data sets you can identify four metrics about your content marketing.
Using the screenshot of @CharlietheChunk’s Instagram account (my bulldog) below as an example, we can find the following:
1. All-Time Average of Likes Per Post
16,853 (Likes) / 255 (Posts) = 66 (Likes Per Post)
2. All-Time Average of Comments Per Post
862 (Comments) / 255 (Posts) = 3.4 (Comments Per Post)
3. All-Time Average Percentage of My Followers Who Like My Posts
66 (Likes Per Post) / 758 (Followers) = 8.7% (Likes From Followers Per Post)
4. All-Time Average Percentage of My Followers Who Comment On My Posts
3.4 (Comments Per Post) / 758 (Followers) = 0.4% (Comments From Followers Per Post)
The middle section (seen below) gives some interesting insights as well. It shows your new followers, lost followers and followers growth for the last seven days. These stats are refreshed every 24 hours. As long as I have a plus sign (+) in the followers growth column, then I consider that a success. I always want to be growing my digital footprint through increase in followers. What I think is more important is the lost followers column. From a content marketing perspective, this column will help illustrate poor content production.
People unfollow others all the time for many different reasons. You may have run a contest and seen a spike in followers whom then slowly drop off thereafter. Or spam accounts, unfollowing you (and following you) every week. And some people will unfollow you for your views, comments and responses to others (unfortunately, but it’s probably for the better). But when you have large amount of users unfollowing you it may be from either the quality or frequency of your posts.
The third and bottom section gives some unique scores that represent your Love Rate, Talk Rate and Spread Rate. It then gives two numbers for each. The big number is the score of your last photo. The smaller one is an average based upon your last 15 photos.
The definition of each score is as follows:
Love Rate – This is about follower engagement and how much they like your content.
Talk Rate – This is also about follower engagement and how much they comment your media.
Spread Rate – This is about engagement beyond your followers. How much of the likes you receive come from people who don’t follow you.
What I found interesting here was the Spread Rate. Because this metric in my opinion relies upon two factors. 1.) The level of interest the friends of your followers have in your followers activity. 2.) The relevancy between the hashtags used on your posts and the content of the your posts.
Rolling Month Analysis
This dashboard gives a glimpse at content, engagement and followers. The engagement section is great (seen below). It gives you the amount of likes and comments you have received for the rolling month. It also displays a month-to-month comparison with an above/below percentage to help you gauge how your doing compared to last month.
It shows your top liked content and top commented upon content. Use this as a KPI for types of content that are resonating the most with your audience. And continue to give them similar content.
In the follower section it shows a top ten list of your most engaged followers (seen to the right). The list shows how many of your pictures they have liked.
Blue and green arrows identify the relationship you have with them. A green arrow means they follow you and a blue arrow means you follow them back.
You may notice that you don’t follow some of your top engaged followers. This is a great opportunity to deepen the relationship you have with them by following them back. It shows you care and they will notice.
Think of these users as brand ambassadors. They support you so support them back. Encourage them somehow to participate in your campaigns and reward them when they do.
The content dashboard gives a quick glance at the history of your account. It shows the post history, density of posts, filter usage, tag usage and geolocation percentage breakdown. The post history is pretty basic.
Graphs show how often you are pushing content to your users in both a month-by-month and week-by-week view. This helps gauge your content production and if your across the map, use this information to better plan your posts.
Tip for planning posts: Plan your posts a week out. A month out is best, but many times spur of moment shots can be powerful so don’t let a schedule prohibit that type of content. The calendar of content helps you decide how often you want to be posting and doesn’t make the planning process overwhelming.
This dashboard is fun! It’s broken down into two sections: Likes received and comments received. The sections show your growth history and source of engagement (follower vs. non-follower). It also includes your top liked and top commented posts too, which is always great to know because this content is deemed your best by way of engagement.
This dashboard is the most helpful. I say this because, like the title says, it helps you optimize your current content marketing strategy. It provides the times you are currently posting the most and plots it in a graph (below) that displays when your followers are most active (brilliant!).
So this graph is telling me to try posting earlier in the day, around 7:00-8:00 AM. It’s also suggesting that I should post earlier in the evening, say around 6:00 PM instead of around 8:00 PM which seems to be my favorite time to post.
This next graph is also really intriguing. It shows the lifetime opportunity of engagement per post on a 24 hour scale. Therefore, it can show you how fast your followers comment on your content after it is posted. It also will tell you how long the shelf life of your posts are too. For @CharlietheChunk, after 18 hours, there’s a great chance the picture or video won’t receive much more engagement.
*Note: Although this metric has some validity, it’s also important to note that many users will re-instate different hashtags on pictures after the initial 24 hours of a post. Therefore, it is still possible that engagement occurs even after 24 hours of the time the content was posted.
But by measuring the first 24 hours, it does help identify the depth of engagement. And what I mean by this this is: The quicker your followers engage with your content after you push it into their feed, the deeper their relationship is with you on Instagram.
This category also includes a graph about the impact of filters used on pictures and videos but I personally don’t think this has a huge impact on your content marketing. I think the popularity in filters is pretty much the same for all industries because it’s more of an aesthetic component than analytical.
At the very bottom of this category it lists the impact of tags comparing your most popular tags against the top tags on Instagram. Try implementing more of the top tags on Instagram as they usually contain millions and millions but also be aware that they may attract users who don’t fit your target demographic. So use hashtags when relevant. And using some of the most popular hashtags, when relevant, can certainly help increase the opportunity for engagement and new followers.
The community dashboard gives you data about how you interact with your community. This includes typology, comparative growth, account growth, people you enjoy and other accounts you may want to follow (reminds me of LinkedIn).
The typology section breaks down the amount of followers you don’t follow back, reciprocal relationships, and followings who don’t follow you back (seen below).
The people you enjoy section shows the top five accounts that you have given likes to. There is also a pie chart that separates the last 300 likes you have given out between posts from people you follow and don’t follow. Below, you will see that 64.15% of the last 300 likes given out by @CharlietheChunk were to users he doesn’t follow. And only a third to those whom he does follow.
There is a reason for this. Charlie likes to use bulldog related hashtags to find new friends and he likes to let people know he exists. He hopes that by liking their picture, they will become a follower of his.
Besides giving you a mixture of metrics to digest and get excited about, Iconosquare also has some other features that were useful. They have a section dedicated to milestones called snapshots. A section to help you promote your content via a Facebook tab, cover image, and photo gallery widget. There is also a section dedicated to contests. Users or brands are allowed to submit contests with details about participation requirements and rewards.
Here are each of the snapshots available for @CharlietheChunk.
The promote area of Iconosquare gives some other ways to be able to utilize your Instagram content. For example, you can request a cover image and a montage image is generated that contains a bunch of your Instagram pictures. You can see @CharlietheChunk’s below:
This advanced widget lets you showcase Instagram photos on your blog or website (as seen to the left).
You can specify between a specific hashtag or a username. Pick your colors, padding preferences and color settings. There is also a WordPress plugin.
This embeddable widget was something I wrote about in another blog post about features I think Instagram needs to make it better for businesses. Because interactive media like this helps brands promote that they use specific networks.
And it makes it easier to be found by those you want to find you.