Written by David Pagotto
Instagram ads are highly targeted advertisements that are easily customizable. They offer an effective way to reach an audience of two billion active users, mostly 45 years old or younger. Instagram ads are also highly accessible and easy to incorporate into your social media strategy.
However, you must keep testing, evaluating, and adjusting your Instagram ads to ensure you get the most out of your content. But you can’t track and measure everything. You need to identify the crucial Instagram ad metrics that can give an accurate picture of your campaign’s performance.
In this article, you’ll learn six Instagram ad metrics you should track. Whether your ads are on Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, or individual posts, here are some key performance metrics to look at:
Reach tells you the number of people who view your ads. More specifically, it is the number of unique people who got to see your Instagram ad. That means that even if the same person views your ad more than once, it will only count as one person reached. The viewer does not have to interact with the ad for it to count as reach.
Reach is one of the key Instagram ad metrics essential for building brand awareness and recognition. The higher your reach, the better, of course. When your ads reach more people, the chances of you generating more Instagram followers, comments, and shares are high as well. That means more chances for conversions.
Social channels automatically count your ad reach for you, making it simple to track how your ads are performing. As long as you have an Instagram Business profile or Creator account, you’re good to go.
A pro tip is to incorporate hashtags into your ads to increase their reach. Use trending and popular hashtags for the best results.
Instagram impression measures how many times the ad is displayed on a screen, regardless of whether or not the user viewed the ad. Impression is different from reach, even though they seem similar. Again, reach measures how many people actually viewed your branded content or other types of content. So, the act of seeing should have been consummated.
One user can count as multiple impressions as long as the ad was displayed on their screen more than once.
If you notice that your impressions are way more than your reach, it means that each of your audience members is viewing your ads more than once. This is a call for you to restrategize and help newer audiences see the ads to learn about your brand. So, you might want to target different audience demographics using Instagram Insights, for example.
3. Engagement Rate
This metric measures what percentage of your audience who actively interacts with your ad or any other piece of content. In essence, the engagement rate shows the likes, comments, and shares your content gets. While some social media marketers consider them vanity metrics, they may also provide some valuable insights. They show how well your content is resonating with your audience. When these are high, it may also mean you’re effectively using social media to build brand loyalty.
The engagement rate is calculated as follows:
But don’t just keep track of ad engagement to know which campaigns resonate more with your Instagram target audience and enhance your content strategy.
You also want to keep an eye on it to ensure good customer service. By looking at comments on Instagram ads, for instance, you can know possible issues your customers are facing that are related to your product. You can, therefore, provide quick answers and solutions to these issues. We’ll talk about the comment rate later.
4. Click Through Rate (CTR)
The click-through rate is a good way of knowing whether your ad made enough positive impact on the audience for them to click and learn more. It is calculated by dividing the total clicks on your content by the number of impressions.
Let’s say you’re running a campaign for your new business app on Instagram. The ad gets 10,000 impressions and 500 clicks. Your click-through rate will be 5%. You can measure this metric manually or use a social media analytics tool to do the math for you.
Many factors impact the click-through rate. These include the keywords used, hashtags, imagery, and call to action. To determine the success of your Instagram campaign, compare your results with the current industry benchmark. Any Instagram ad that has a CTR of higher than 2% is performing well.
A pro tip is to try different kinds of ads with varying images, ad copy, keywords, hashtags, and CTAs during your A/B testing. Then compare the CTRs of all those ad variations. You’ll want to retain the ones with the highest CTRs.
5. Comment Rate
The comment rate measures how often users, well, comment on your Instagram ads. Comments as engagement metrics can be positive and negative. They’re a good indication that your ad had an impact on your audience. Why else would they bother to leave a comment in the first place? It takes time to compose one, after all.
But, of course, you want to strive to get positive comments instead of negative ones. These positive comments can serve as social proof. When other people read these comments, they are more likely to patronize your brand as well. Based on a Brightlocal survey, a whopping 46% feel that online business reviews are just as trustworthy as recommendations from family and friends.
That’s not to say you’ll discard negative comments, of course. You can also use these to improve, not just your Instagram ad, but also your products and services. See negative comments as your opportunity to win over a frustrated or disgruntled customer.
You should make it a habit to respond to Instagram ad comments, whether positive or negative. Over 80% of the same Brightlocal survey respondents said they are “fairly likely” and “highly likely” to support a business that responds to both positive and negative reviews:
To do this effectively, manage Instagram ad comments. Consumers may just want to give their feedback on your Instagram ad or brand, or are already close to making a purchase and are just asking some final questions. Either way, they’re expecting a quick answer from you. You can’t give them that prompt response if you have to switch between different campaigns and dashboards to respond to each comment.
6. Custom Conversions
Custom conversions measure the number of people who were sent to your website from Instagram ads and were converted. Conversion can take multiple forms. It depends on the specific campaign you’re running.
For example, if you’re running a campaign to encourage people to sign up for your email list by downloading a lead magnet, successful email signups will be your conversions. To get the most out of this ad campaign, make sure you verify email addresses before sending your marketing emails.
On the other hand, if you’re marketing a SaaS product and want people to sign up for a free trial, you’ll look at successful free trial signups.
Therefore, custom conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of people who completed your desired action by the total ad audience:
Custom conversions show whether you’re getting a good return on investment from your Instagram advertisements. If people are taking the action you intended, then the ad is giving you your desired conversion goals.
You can keep an eye on these conversions on your website using tools like Google Analytics or its latest update, Google Analytics 4. Use UTMs to track the source of custom conversions and determine which ones came from Instagram ads.
To wrap up, you’ve learned six key metrics to measure the effectiveness of your Instagram ads.
Reach is the number of people that saw your ad. Impressions, meanwhile, refer to the number of times an ad was displayed for viewers to see. The engagement rate tells you which percentage of your audience is interacting with your Instagram ad. The comment rate, in particular, is the frequency with which users leave comments on this content type and others. The click-through rate, on the other hand, is the number of clicks on an ad divided by impressions.
Then there are custom conversions, which refer to that portion of your ad audience who clicked on your ads and took your desired action.
You can choose one or more of these Instagram ad metrics to measure the effectiveness of your content. Then use these insights to make data-driven decisions about your Instagram advertising strategy. You’ll surely reap advertising success. Best of luck!
David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne. He has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping organizations get more customers, more reach, and more impact.