How Instagram Insights Compares To Iconosquare Analytics

How Instagram Insights new analytics tools compare to Iconosquare analytics. A comparison of Instagram analytics tools, how they can help you grow an engaged Instagram following, and whether or not investing in analytics tools makes sense.

Earlier this week I was pleasantly surprised to see a popup notification after I updated to latest version of Instagram letting me know that Instagram analytics have arrived! Instagram announced last month that their “Instagram Insights” analytics information as well as other other business tools would be rolling out, but after a quick google search and asking around in various social media communities, I found very little concrete information around the who/when/whys of the tools are rolling out other than “business profiles, insights and the ability to promote will be rolling out in the US, Australia and New Zealand in the coming months, and will be available in all regions globally by the end of the year.”

I might of done a little happy dance when I realized I had access to Instagram Insights – if you don’t already know, I’m a HUGE data nerd and am excited to see analytics information directly within the Instagram app! I currently use and recommend the paid service Iconosquare for Instagram analytics (Squarelovin is similar + free), though Iconosquare just announced their “PLUS” level membership (the lowest tier) is going up from $28.80/year to $49.00/year starting July 11, 2016, so I thought this would be a good time to evaluate whether or not it makes sense to continue to pay for analytics information when Instagram itself is now providing it for free.

INSTAGRAM INSIGHTS

If you haven’t seen the new Instagram Insights, it is similar to the analytics for Facebook pages in that it gives you data on your followers and your Instagram posts. This type of information is sooo valuable in determining if you’re actually reaching your target audience and the types of content that are resonating with your audience.

Mochi Instagram Dog Profile

To access Instagram Insights, there is a bar chart icon next to the settings icon at the top of your Instagram profile. If you don’t see this yet, then the analytics haven’t rolled out to you yet – your Instagram account may need to be associated with a Facebook account for Insights to work (I had to confirm my Facebook Information to access Instagram Insights the first time) so if you haven’t connected it already, you may want to do that now!

Instagram Insights: Impressions, Reach, and Engagement

The first section you see tells you your number of post “impressions” for the week (number of times all of your posts have been seen) and if you swipe left, you’ll see your “reach” for the week (number of unique accounts that have seen any of your posts). These numbers are interesting because (to my knowledge) Iconosquare and other analytics tools I’ve used in the past have only tracked likes / engagement / growth but haven’t been able to provide insight as to how many people are actually seeing your posts. On a weekly level, the numbers don’t mean a ton to me, but on a per post level this is really helpful information!

Instagram post insights for @mochiandthecity Instagram celebrity dog

Looking at my Instagram posts from the last week, I can see the post specific impressions / reach / engagement by clicking on the “View Insights” tab below each photo. It’s interesting to see engagement in relation to reach because to me, this is more indicative of audience preferences than looking at engagement in relation to overall followers. With that said, I’d love to see percentages in addition to raw numbers! #hinthint

Unfortunately, Insights are not available for historic posts beyond the last week (I’m guessing this is the last 7 days from whenever you get access to Insights), but moving forward this will be less relevant as you’ll be able to see up to 2 years of analytics.

Instagram Insights: Top Posts

Instagram Insights Top Posts for @mochiandthecity

Going back to the main Instagram Insights area, you can see a “Top Posts” section that you can sort by type of post (all posts / photos  videos), by time period (7 days / 30 days / 3 months / 6 months / 1 year / 2 years), and filter by impressions / reach / engagement / likes / comments). This is an easy way to get a sense of what types of content your audience is engaging with so you can do more of what’s working (and less of what’s not).

Instagram Insights: Followers

Instagram Insights for @mochiandthecity Instagram dog

Possibly the most exciting part of the Instagram Insights information is the follower demographic analytics. You can see the breakdown of your followers by gender, by age, and by location. You can also further breakdown the age ranges for either male or female followers. I’d love to be able to see more specific numbers rather than just %s or ranges, but it’s still great data to have in terms of knowing if you are attracting the right people. Mochi’s target audience includes female millenials so seeing 84% women and the largest demographic segment from 18-34 is a good sign!

Instagram Insights Location analytics

For location, you can view followers by city or country – I think this would be particularly helpful for any one with a local business or local target audience, but it’s also helpful in determining which time zones the majority of your followers are in so you can post accordingly. There’s also an hourly breakdown showing when your followers are active (it’s no surprise Mochi’s audience is less active between 1am – 7am ET since the majority are in the U.S. and specifically in NYC) – and which days of the week your followers are more/less active (in Mochi’s case, it doesn’t really matter). 

This level of demographic information is unique to Instagram Insights vs. other Instagram analytics tools (which makes sense since Facebook owns Instagram), and combined with the other analytics information like reach / engagement, this is definitely a helpful in knowing how to position your best content in front of the right audience at the right time.

HOW INSTAGRAM INSIGHTS COMPARES TO ICONOSQUARE ANALYTICS

While Instagram Insights provides a lot of great information, there are still a number of ways that Iconosquare sets itself apart. In particular:

  • Custom time periods – The ability to sort by custom time periods is extremely valuable for evaluating campaigns whether you’re looking at top posts/ engagement over time / follower growth or other stats.
  • Follower growth over time + gain/loss – Iconosquare provides more information about account growth over time both in numbers and in graph form. It also shows daily gain / loss information as well as specifically which followers followed / unfollowed so you have additional insights.
  • Community details – I don’t pay a lot of attention to who’s following back / who’s not, but if you’re looking for more account specific detail regarding your followers, Iconosquare is a more helpful tool.
  • Engagement as a percentage – While it’s nice to have the impressions / reach information from Instagram Insights, I’d really love the see engagement as a percentage instead of just the total number of likes / comments.
  • Change from week to week or month to month as a percentage – Tracking growth or engagement from one time period to the next is something I look at pretty often, and there’s no way to really do that with Instagram Insights.
  • Daily reporting – I really like getting a daily report (by email) from Iconosquare showing a quick overview of the previous day’s activities. Instagram currently doesn’t have it’s own reporting tools beyond what you see in the app (and to my knowledge that’s not something they have planned to roll out in the coming months).

OVERALL THOUGHTS

For the average Instagram business user, Instagram Insights are simple (free!) way to get key analytics that can help you grow an engaged Instagram followingYou probably don’t “need” additional analytics – and for the initial release of it’s business tools – I think Instagram has done a great job at providing the most valuable information in an easy to access manner. I’m interested to see if / when / how they update the Instagram Insights capabilities as they roll out additional features like business profiles and in app advertising capabilities.

With that said, I’ll probably continue to pay for Iconosquare (at least for Mochi’s account), because I like the more detailed analytics and daily reporting feature. To me, these things are worth the $4/month Iconosquare fee, but if you’re just looking for straightforward analytics, Instagram Insights might be your new BFF.

If you have access to Instagram Insights already, I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Instagram checklist - free checklist of the 8 things you should be doing for every Instagram post

What I learned from 4 launches in 3 months

Lessons learned from shifting from a client-based business to incorporating passive income products like online courses and a membership site. Read if your an entrepreneur or small business owner planning to launch!

 

Some of y’all may know that in March I started to shift my business from primarily client-based work to incorporating online courses and other more “passive” forms of income. I kinda hate the term passive income because (in my experience) A LOT of work goes into creating / marketing digital products, but it is pretty damn cool to literally make money while I’m sleeping. With that said, I still enjoy one-on-one client work and am (currently) not trying to replace it completely with other income streams. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about launching, so I thought I’d share a few lessons I’ve learned from launching 3 online courses + 1 membership program during the past few months!

Fail Fast + Get Better

I’m somewhat of a chronic over-planner, but for some reason this hasn’t translated to my business – and I’m thankful for that. Instead of spending months planning + agonizing over every aspect of my launch plans, I can go from idea to live sales page in less than a week. I set a “minimum goal” for pre-sales and once I hit that, I create + launch within 2-3 weeks. My first launch wasn’t perfect. My second launch wasn’t perfect. There’s always something to improve or try differently the next time and I don’t really think there’s such a thing as a “perfect” launch.

My “plan” for the last 3 months was essentially, fail fast + learn + tweak + repeat. I actually closed the cart on my first launch + opened the pre-sale for my second launch exactly 12 hours later. I wouldn’t recommend that timeline to anyone else (take a freakin’ break y’all!), but if you’ve been planning your launch for awhile and haven’t just DONE it already – make it happen. I wouldn’t consider any of my launches actual failures – I hit my minimum sales goals every time, and I hit my target sales goals most of the time. I still haven’t hit my “stretch goals” for any of my launches, but I’m continuing to grow my email list, try new strategies, and tweak my sales funnels.

Key takeaway: Assuming you have an audience (even a small one) – create an MVP and put it out there. You can always make it better, but you’ll never know unless you just do it.  

The More Specific The Better

I talked about how finding a niche made SUCH A DIFFERENCE in my first launch vs. my second launch in this post. And a couple of launches later, I still feel the same way. As long as you can find your audience and validate your idea, I think the more specific it is, the better.

It’s a little weird because you’d think a general course on something like “Photoshop for bloggers” would attract more people than something really specific like “Photoshop for nomadic food bloggers in Europe” – but in that example, I’d bet most of the nomadic food bloggers in Europe get excited about the course because it’s REALLY specific to them. If you create a generic product or service, you’re probably going to have a lot of competition. And if you can stand out, that’s great – but it’s much easier to stand out when you’re doing something that no one else is doing in a particular niche! 

Key takeaway: If your idea is so specific that it makes you a little uncomfortable, that’s probably a good thing.

There’s A Good Reason I’m My Own Boss

I’m kind of a control freak. I prefer being in charge of (most) things because I know I’m picky about the way they get done. So it’s probably no surprise I was never big into team sports (I was a competitive swimmer) or group projects (my “less-motivated” friends loved being on my team for group projects because they knew I would do all the work and just put their names on it).

When it comes to launching, I like to get a LOT done in a short amount of time. My schedule is a bit manic and I wouldn’t impose it on anyone else. It wouldn’t be fair. While I’m not great at delegating, I’m working on it. I love my VA but we basically just check in once a month so it’s not like we’re actively communicating all the time. And my solo webinars have all been more profitable than my joint webinars. It’s not that I can’t play well with others, but I’m just more comfortable working on my on terms. And that’s ok.

Key takeaway: The “best” way to launch something is the way that works for you.

FOMO Is A Big Motivator

I’ve done both open/close cart launches and evergreen launches. I’ve experimented with price increases, bonuses, upsells, downsells, bundles, etc. but urgency has been the biggest motivator for generating sales. Meaning EVERY time I send an email about an offer ending soon, I get sales. FOMO is real y’all. People don’t like to miss out.

Limited time offers are your friend, but that doesn’t mean you constantly have to have “sales” or discount your products / services – on the flip side, you can always give MORE value for a limited time by offering a bonus.

Key takeaway: Wish you were getting more sales right NOW? Launch a time sensitive offer.

It’s Easier To Sell To Your Existing Audience Than To Find A New One

There are a lot of articles (and a few well-known courses) out there that will tell you that you don’t have to grow your audience before you launch, because you can launch with a small audience and/or grow your audience while you plan your launch. I agree to an extent (you gotta start somewhere) BUT, from my experience it’s easier to create something that your existing audience already wants, rather than find a new audience to buy the thing you want to create. For my first course – I chose my course idea before I had a targeted audience (don’t do this). Even though I had over 1,000 people on my email list when I launched, but only about 300 were really interested in the course. I felt like I had to spend a lot of time trying to convince people WHY they would benefit from it, and in the end it didn’t convert as well as well as I wanted.

For my most recent launch – I had quadrupled the size of my email list, and I also realized that I had over 1,000 people interested in a specific product, so I created a membership based on something that I already knew people wanted. I didn’t need to convince people it was good idea, because they already wanted what I was selling. It was a much easier (and more profitable) launch. 

Key takeaway: Give your audience want they want, not what you think they need.

List Building + Nurturing Is Sooo Important (So Important)

Speaking of email lists, it’s worth repeating that while you can launch with a small audience (especially if they are SUPER engaged), list building is soooo important if you want to sell digital products and especially if you want to sell evergreen products. If you want to sell (and keep selling), you need to keep growing your list + converting more subscribers into customers. So if your list growth is stagnant, it taps out. BUT a bigger list isn’t necessarily better IF it’s not targeted. Meaning if 2,500 people opt in to your email list because you gave away free stock photos, and then you try to sell them a ecourse on Facebook ads – its probably not going to convert very well. So make sure your opt-ins relate to your paid products (or services)!

Key takeaway: Focus on growing your email list if you want passive income! 

What’s Next

So those are a few of the key things I’ve learned from 4 launches in 3 months – though there could easily be a part 2 of this post with even more of the technical lessons I learned from launching (comment if that’s something you’d want to see)! Now that the year is halfway over, I’ve been re-assessing where my business is and where I want it to be at the end of 2016 so I can plan for the next few months. Even though I keep track of things month-to-month, it’s been helpful to take a step back and look at my overall goals for the year. I put together a mid-year review workbook to help you figure out what’s working / what’s not / what you can do to crush your goals in the next 6 months. If that sounds like something you could use, just click below to download!

If you’ve launched digital products, can you relate to any of these lessons? And if you’re thinking about launching – what questions do you have?! 

5 Reasons I Didn’t Read Your Blog Post (And How To Fix Them Right Now)!

You're dedicating time to blogging but you need to get people to actually read your blog. These are 5 reasons people aren't reading your blog posts, and what you can do about them. Click through if you're blog posts aren't converting into subscribers or you want higher quality blog traffic!

You worked hard to make your blog beautiful and put together a blog post PACKED with value… so why aren’t more people reading it? The blog world is so saturated that sometimes even getting your blog in front of the right people (or any people) can be a challenge – but once, you do, there are still a number of reasons that prevent people from actually reading your blog posts or scrolling all the way down to see that content upgrade you spent so much time putting together. So here are 5 reasons I didn’t read your blog post and (+ how you can fix them), because if you’re taking the time to create valuable content, you want people to actually read it, right?!

5 REASONS I DIDN’T READ YOUR BLOG POST

Your Blog Post Title Didn’t Sound Interesting

If your headline doesn’t immediately catch my attention, I have no reason to click through to read your blog post. According to Copyblogger, on average 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will go on to read your blog post.  When you craft your blog post titles, are you keeping your target audience in mind? Your blog post titles should tell them what they are going to get out of reading your post. Are they going to learn something? Be inspired?

Solution: You have the opportunity to be better than average by taking the time to craft blog post titles that are 1) Urgent 2) Unique 3) Useful and 4) Ultra-Specific. For example, the title for this blog post, “5 Reasons I Didn’t Read Your Blog Post (And How To Fix Them Right Now)!” can be broken down into: 5 reasons [number is ultra-specific] that I didn’t read your blog post [post is uniquely targeted to bloggers] And How To Fix Them [how this post is useful] Right Now [creates sense of urgency]. #practicewhatyoupreach

Your Pop-Up Got In The Way

If I click through to your blog post and something pops up right away, it better be an offer for something really irresistible. Many people are anti-pop-up all together, but I don’t mind them when used appropriately. Give people some time to actually READ your content before you assault them with a pop-up asking them to subscribe. And please don’t just ask them to subscribe to your newsletter – no one needs another newsletter in their inbox – make sure you’re clear on what they’re really getting out of that newsletter (tips? promotions? pictures of cute puppies?) or even better, use your pop-up to offer a freebie (checklist, ebook, email course, etc.) that’s actually super helpful.

It’s also important to take a look at what your popup looks like on mobile devices – often pop ups can seem unobtrusive on large screens but completely take over on mobile!

Solution: Plugins like SumoMe and Ninja Popups allow custom settings so you can activate popups only when a user has scrolled 3/4 down the page or when they are navigating to leave your site (exit intent popups). SumoMe also allows you to create forms that slide up from the corner that are much “friendlier” popups since they don’t get in the way of people reading your content!

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Your Posts Contain Long Paragraphs of Plain Text

Save the novels for Kindle. The best blog posts are easily digestible, and that means breaking up large chunks of text into smaller bites. If your posts are just large paragraphs of text, it’s hard to quickly determine what’s important. And there’s SO much content out there, that if it’s not easy for me to consume yours, I’m going to move on. #sorrynotsorry Research has shown that the average reader is only reading about 20% of your post anyway – so make sure that you’re calling attention to the 20% that you really want them to see.

Solution: Break up longer paragraphs into shorter blocks of text. Utilize formatting options like headings, bold text, italics, quotes, etc. They’re there for a reason!

You Aren’t Using Eye-Catching Graphics

Speaking of breaking things up – using eye-catching graphics is a great way to do this. It’s 2016 y’all, there’s no excuse for bad visuals – but I still see them all the time. According to LifeLearn, when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of it 3 days later. But when a relevant image is paired with the same information, people retained 65% of the information 3 days later. Do you want people to remember you? Then always include visuals.

Solution: At a minimum you should include a branded post graphic that includes the title of the post + bonus points if it’s a longer/taller “pinable” image. If your post calls for more visuals – make sure you’re using them. For example, if you’re sharing a tutorial, include step by step images (or a video). If you’re sharing a lot of information, think about how you can translate it into an infographic. You don’t have to be a Photoshop / Illustrator expert to create great visuals (though they can definitely come in handy) – free programs like Canva make it really easy for anyone to create eye-catching graphics!

If you struggle with taking photos for your blog, there are always stock photos – you can easily find them on Etsy or Creative Market, or join the Styled Stock Society for stock photos that are just $10/month (or less)!

I Didn’t Know Your Blog Post Exists

Finally, it’s obviously hard to read your blog post if I don’t know it exists. If you’re not consistently sharing your content, it’s kind of hard for people to find it when there’s SO MUCH STUFF on the Internet. Sure it’s nice to have Bloglovin or Feedly subscribers, but do you know how many times I’ve clicked “mark all as read” this year? (I have no idea to be honest, but its more definitely more than 5) I’ve worked with some clients who’ve said they want more traffic from Instagram – yet they never tell their Instagram followers about their new blog posts. I’ve blown people’s minds when I tell them that I pin and repin and repin and repin and repin and repin and repin and repin and repin and repin the same blog posts and continue to get new traffic to them over and over again. Remember, build it and they will come is not a thingIf you want people to find your blog posts, you need to share them. And keep sharing them.

Solution: Every time I publish a new blog post, it automatically gets shared to any blog subscribers on Bloglovin, feedly, or by email. It’s automatically shared via Twitter + then added to my Edgar library to be shared over and over again on Twitter and Facebook. It’s pinned to my blog post Pinterest board, to any relevant topic boards, and to 10+ group boards (and then automatically set to be shared over and over again using BoardBooster‘s looping feature). It’s shared in relevant Facebook groups + on Instagram a couple of times. It’s mentioned in my email newsletter + it’s shared in the Pretty Profit Society. And if you click any of those pink buttons on the left of your screen (or the bottom if you’re on mobile), you can share this post with your audience too! The point = share, and keep sharing. 

WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO READ A BLOG POST?

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