3. Engagements per follower

What this metric tells you: Engagement with your content relative to your follower count.

While it may be tempting to compare your Instagram performance to that of the big guns (think Oreo, Starbucks, Nike, etc), you don’t want to do that unless your audience size is roughly the same.


Because brands with millions of followers should be racking up thousands of likes. However, if you have just a couple thousand followers, you’re naturally not as likely to accrue similar results in sum, but that doesn’t mean you’re not still performing exactly as you should be.

And that’s where engagement rate (or engagements per follower) comes in and can help make sure you’re evaluating your account fairly.

The formula for measuring engagement rate on Instagram looks something like this:

Total Engagements / Follower Count * 100 = Engagement Rate

Reporting on this metric over time will give you a sense of overall performance trends, though you can certainly calculate it for specific posts as well to get an idea of the types of content that resonates with your audience.

How to measure Instagram engagement rate with Sprout

In order to find this Instagram metric, you’ll want to first gather the total amount of engagement you received for a given time frame.

Within Sprout, navigate to the Reports tab and under Profiles by Network, click Instagram Business Profiles.

Near the bottom of the Overview tab, you may notice a section with engagement rate already calculated, but note that this rate uses impressions (not follower count).

4. Follower growth

What this metric tells you: Whether your follower count is steadily increasing or declining.

When evaluating a growing (or shrinking) Instagram follower count, context is important, especially if you’re experiencing random spikes or drop offs due to something like a one-time promotion or paid social ads.

Make sure to measure your follower count over time and keep the above context examples in mind so you know exactly what has contributed to the growing numbers. Ideally you’re seeing sustained, gradual growth over time, which indicates that people are liking what they see from your content and they want to make sure they see more of it.

Additionally, understanding what is or isn’t working is also essential within the context of your overall Instagram marketing strategy. You want to make sure you know the types of content to continue creating and which may need tweaking.

Though total followers may be seen as a vanity metric to some, it ultimately represents the potential reach of your content. This impacts the performance of other IG metrics like engagement, so continued focus on organically growing your audience is still as important as ever.

How to measure follower growth with Sprout

Sprout enables you to see all kinds of information about your follower growth, from a comprehensive growth chart to percentage growth. Select the time period during which you want to measure your follower growth and then see the differences in followers gained and lost for that reporting period with the Instagram Business Profiles overview. You can then dive into the Post Performance Report, using the same time period, to specifically see what content resonated and what didn’t perform so well.

How to find Instagram follower growth on Sprout Social

5. Comments received

What this metric tells you: How engaging your content is.

There’s a major difference between likes and comments when it comes to evaluating Instagram performance metrics.

Likes are fairly easy to dish out and oftentimes you can’t be 100% certain a post was truly seen by your followers. With comments, it’s crystal clear. Whether positive or negative, comments left on your posts are an indication that your content had some kind of impact, or at least enough for the individual to take the extra step to leave feedback.

This type of engagement, especially when positive, is a strong factor in community building and establishing a loyal fanbase. Anyone can double tap with ease but those who go out of their way to comment are the ones to keep an eye on.

Managing comments in Sprout

Depending on the size of your Instagram account, it may be manageable to simply review your posts one by one to view and record comment counts. But with Sprout, the work is done for you.

Using the Instagram Business Profiles Report mentioned earlier, comment totals over a specified time period appear alongside other engagement metrics. You can then cross-reference comment counts with the actual feedback being received to determine sentiment and whether or not your content is working as desired.

How to find Instagram engagement

6. Most engaged hashtags

What this metric tells you: Hashtag performance.

While the fickle Instagram algorithm may sometimes wreak havoc on your content strategy, hashtags have proven to be one of the most reliable ways to keep your momentum going.

By using hashtags that are relevant to your industry or what your audience is searching for you can help keep reach and engagement in check.

Instagram users can include up to 30 hashtags on each post, but be sure to use that quota wisely through research and learning from performance over time. You may be surprised by how often less is more when it comes to hashtags.

Measuring hashtag performance in Sprout

To maximize this particular IG metric, you’ll want to spend time reviewing your Instagram Outbound Hashtag Performance within Sprout.

As displayed in the following chart, you get a full breakdown of your hashtags organized by both usage and engagement in the Instagram Business Profiles Report. You can use this data to inform future hashtag decisions, especially when it comes to engagement performance relative to other efforts.

How to find Instagram hashtag engagement

7. Referral traffic

What this metric tells you: Instagram’s impact on your website traffic.

Referral traffic describes the people who come to your domain from other sites, without finding you on a search engine. When someone visits a link from social media or a website and they end up on your, Google analytics recognizes the visitor as a referral. You can also use UTM codes to track precisely where these visits come from.

A common tactic for social media posts involves linking out to a website’s specific landing page, product page or even just the home page depending on the type of action you’d like your followers to take upon seeing your post.

But on Instagram, this can be a bit more challenging because the only place to display a clickable link is inside your bio. You also have the option to include URLs within your captions, but either way, tracking referral traffic from Instagram can be tricky.

How to track referral traffic

As mentioned, because Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links within your posts, one great way to track referral traffic from a particular campaign is with UTM parameters. UTM parameters are tags you can tack onto a URL that lets Google Analytics (or other tools) know exactly where the user referred from.

If you’re implementing any landing pages specifically for an IG campaign, you’ll want to read up on how to set up your own UTM parameters to ensure they’ll work correctly.

You can also check your social network referral traffic in Google Analytics to see how much traffic Instagram has sent your way, including distinguishing between Instagram (your bio link clicks) and Instagram Stories (your story swipe ups).

How to find Instagram website referral traffic

8. Instagram Stories metrics

What this metric tells you: How popular and engaging your Instagram Stories are.

Arguably one of the most essential components to current Instagram marketing strategies involves the use of Stories.

These are useful in a number of ways, most notably because they provide another dimension of content for your audience. The disappearing nature of the photos and videos gives you even more freedom and flexibility than your feed does.

When it comes to Instagram Stories, there are a few good metrics to keep tabs on such as Story Replies, Story Taps Back and Forward, Story Exits and Impressions.

Using Sprout to view Instagram Story stats

If any of the above metrics interest you, locate the Instagram Stories Performance section of the Instagram Business Profiles Report in Sprout to view data for each connected profile.

How to find Instagram Stories metrics
Use Sprout's Story metrics to evaluate performance of your Instagram Stories.

Start tracking your Instagram metrics today

With all the essential IG metrics in hand, you’re ready to start reporting on progress. Be sure to use Sprout’s full offering of Instagram Analytics to go even deeper into your performance.

If you’re not already using Sprout, take advantage of a free 30-day trial or request a personalized demo to get started today.