The savviest social marketers aren’t throwing pasta at the wall to see what sticks anymore. Social media marketing has become a more data-driven endeavor, with an emphasis on analytics and the insights gained from using data to make decisions.

As social media networks mature, they usually release a native analytics platform that marketers can use to hone their campaigns. These analytics often include standard metrics, such as reach and engagement, as well as proprietary metrics, such as shares, retweets, and snap replays.

Over time, as the social platforms mature, they release analytics APIs. These APIs empower developers to create tools that enhance marketers’ experience with the platform.

Now Instagram, which has kept its analytics under lock and key since it was founded, will soon be releasing the company’s analytics API.

Instagram has already presented incredible opportunities for social marketers. The launch of the API will provide marketers will the final missing piece: meaningful analytics! This article shares what marketers can expect from the launch and how it can help their campaigns.

Cashing in on Instagram marketing

Even without native analytics at their disposal, a handful of brands have used Instagram as a primary driver for sales and revenue. Caeden, a fashion-centric wearable technology company, found great success marketing on Instagram. With the goal of driving purchases, and a tertiary goal of feature-benefit education, Caeden was able to increase its reach as much as 50 percent and increase revenue by 17 percent.

instagram-account-caeden

In the right hands, there is massive potential with Instagram Marketing. The most pressing issue right now, however, is how inaccessible and complicated the analytics are.

It’s almost impossible to track the outcomes of marketing efforts on Instagram. Short of navigating a time-consuming labyrinth, your options for insights are limited. Trackable links in bios, vanity coupon codes, and spreadsheets detailing who liked what, where, when, and how are your best bets for gleaning any meaningful insights from your Instagram activity.

Instagram analytics will bring mission-critical insights

According to Instagram for Business’ latest blog post, brands will soon be able to create business pages that boast enhanced features, such as calls to action, contact capabilities, insights, and content promotion. This is not an afterthought or a “nice to have.” This is huge news for data-driven social marketers.

Currently, analytics tools can only measure the most top-level metrics when it comes to Instagram. These metrics include follower growth over time, daily engagement, and the best times to post, based on historical data.

Instagram-analytics-tools

Above: Instagram’s Insights tool. Source: Instagram

Image Credit: Instagram

Instagram had previously banned third-party apps that used the API to pull in posts from Instagram. The third-party apps had essentially recreated Instagram inside their product.

Instagram made this move because it only wants to work with third-party developers that are accretive to its ecosystem. Facebook, for example, highly values its third-party partners because they help clients manage their accounts, buy ads, and report metrics. Instagram, a company that is owned by Facebook, has the same preference. It wants tools that helps brands manage their Instagram account, buy ads, and analyze their results. It doesn’t want partners who just replicate Instagram, taking away eyeballs in the process.

What the analytics API means for social marketers

The release of Instagram’s API will give social marketers opportunities that weren’t possible before. Third-party tools will be able to provide cross-platform insights and link your social data to your website data. Here’s how that can help social marketers:

social-analytics

Social channel comparison capabilities

Tools developed by parties outside Instagram make it possible to compare your metrics against other social platforms. Wouldn’t it be great to know how the value you’re getting from your Instagram campaigns compares to that offered by Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn? You wouldn’t get those insights from Twitter’s Native Analytics Tool.

Continuity between web and social analytics

Instagram’s analytics can’t tell you what a user is doing once they leave the app and reach your website. Once a user’s interaction with your brand goes outside of Instagram, Instagram simply cannot account for that user anymore. As a result, you’re only seeing a very small part of an extremely important story.

Instagram, like most social channels, is the top of your conversion funnel. Once a user is on your website, they can progress further to becoming a paying customer. Missing out on those web activity insights could be a critical oversight in measuring and improving your ROI on social.

What’s next?

Needless to say, we’re extremely excited for Instagram to release its analytics API. The impact of the release could extend far beyond the platform itself. With the ability to compare your marketing efforts on Instagram with other channels, and the way Instagram activity links to website activity, the API gives unprecedented access to data. This adds a critical new dimension to how marketers can measure and increase their ROI.


Graham Gullans is the cofounder and COO of LiftMetrix, a social media ROI measurement solution for enterprises. Graham is also a prolific angel investor and board member of Zoomcar, the largest car rental company in India. Graham spends his free time flying planes and earning air miles through credit card points.