With more than 400 million daily users, Instagram is one of the world’s largest social networks, behind only Facebook and Whatsapp.
It’s no surprise, then, that Instagram’s ads sales are growing like crazy.
In 2017, it’s estimated that three quarters of American companies with more than 100 employees will start using Instagram to grow their business.
The reason why so many companies are using Instagram ads is simple: it’s good for business.
According to Shopify, Instagram posts have a 1.08% conversion rate, which, compared to Twitter (0.77%) and Pinterest (0.54%), makes it one of the best in the industry.
Also, Instagram users spend on average $65 per referred sale which, compared to Facebook ($55), and Twitter ($46.26), makes it the highest converting social network.
You probably already know this. That’s why you got started with it some time ago.
The key question then becomes, how do you measure the results of your ad campaigns? How can you ensure you’re stacking up to and even exceeding these industry averages?
The answers lie in this guide to Instagram Ad Reporting.
Start with Your Goals
If you want to measure your Instagram ad performance, you first need to be clear on what goals you are trying to reach with your campaigns. This isn’t just a theoretical idea; your Instagram ads depend on the goal you have defined for your campaigns, since the metrics for which you measure the success change with each goal. Otherwise, your metrics will be skewed from the moment you begin your campaign.
Since Instagram ads are under the Facebook ad campaign structure, the goal-setting process for the two are very similar. The only difference is that when you create Instagram ads, you can only choose from 7 of the 11 available goals:
- Brand awareness: Useful to increase your follower rate
- Reach: Best used when trying to put an ad in front of as many people as possible
- Traffic: Great to get more clicks to your website
- App installs: Useful only if you have an app
- Engagement: Relevant if you want to increase the number of likes and comments in your publications
- Video views: Useful only if you have videos
- Conversions: Best used for e-commerce stores and software business that want to optimize their campaigns for conversions (like lead generation, sales, and signups)
Once you’ve chosen your goal, you can then move to analyze the results of your campaigns to see how they have performed.
Customize Your Instagram Ad Reporting
When analyzing an Instagram ad campaign, the first mistake some people make is using the standard reports that you can find on the Ads Manager or Power Editor. The problem is, most default reports aren’t nearly as effective as the ones you create just for yourself, as they use very standard metrics that may not be relevant to you.
Instead, consider creating a custom report that fit your exact needs.
First, go to the Ads Manager, and click on your campaign.
Next, in the Ad Set level, you will see all your ad sets with their basic performance metrics. These metrics are based on the standard “Performance” column arrangement, which in most cases is good to start, but not relevant enough.
To change the order of the columns, you will click on the “Columns” drop down.
Once you do that, you will see the list of column arrangements that Facebook recommends. You can then click around and see what other metrics they show. Some of the best ones you could use (although aren’t recommend) are:
- Performance: Results, Reach, Costs, Amount Spent, etc.
- Delivery: Reach, Frequency, CPM, Impressions, etc.
- Engagement: People Taking Action, Reactions, Comments, Shares, etc.
- Video Engagement: Impressions, 3s Video Views, Cost per 3s Video Views, etc.
- App Engagement: Mobile App Installs, Mobile App Actions, Cost per Mobile App Install, etc.
- Carousel Engagement: Reach, Frequency, Impressions, Clicks, etc.
- Performance and Clicks: Results, Reach, Cost, etc.
- Cross-Device: Website Actions, Mobile Apps Install, Website Action, Conversion Value, etc.
These column orders won’t necessarily be relevant for you. That’s why you will likely want to go to the bottom of that list and click on the “Customize Columns” button.
Once in there, you will have to select the columns you feel are most relevant to you. I can’t tell you exactly which ones you should use. I can, however, recommend which are most suited for each goal:
- Brand awareness: Reach, Frequency, Impressions, Cost per 1,000 people reached, CPM
- Reach: Reach, Social reach, Cost per 1,000 people reached
- Traffic: Cost, Link Clicks, CTR (Link), CPC (Link)
- App installs: App installs, Mobile app installs, Cost per app install, Cost per mobile app install
- Engagement: Post comments, Post engagement, Cost per post comments, Cost per post engagement
- Video views: 3-second video views, 10-second video views, 30-second video views, Video watches at 25%, Video watches at 50%, Video watches at 75%, Video watches at 95%, Video watches at 100%, Video average watch time, Video percentage watched, Clicks to pay video, Cost per 3-second video view, Cost per 10-second video view, Cost per click to play video
- Conversions: Total conversion value, Adds to cart, Checkouts, Leads, Cost of Adds to cart, Cost of Checkouts, Cost of Leads, Adds to cart conversion value, Checkouts conversion value, Leads conversion value
The columns you should always plan on using are the “Results,” “Relevance Score,” and “Amount Spent,” as they give you a good idea of how the whole ad set is doing.
Now, let’s say your Instagram ad campaign’s goal was to increase your brand awareness. The first thing you would do once you are in the “Customize columns” is select the most relevant columns:
Arrange the columns in the order you prefer and click the “Apply button”. Then, click the “Columns” button once again, and where you see the “Custom” button, click the “Save” link.
Give it a name that’s relevant for you and click “Save.”
You can use this same report to analyze your campaigns and your ads. This is an important piece to remember, as in many cases an ad set’s bad performance isn’t related to bad targeting or bids, rather it’s due to the fact one ad is bringing the whole ad set down, and skewing your analysis.
With that report created, now it’s time to start analyzing the data it shows you.
Analyze the Results
Depending on the objective you chose when you started your campaign, your analysis will be focused on different metrics and goals.
In the example used before, if you created a brand awareness campaign, your goal would have been to get the highest reach and most impressions for the lowest cost per thousand impressions possible (CPM). As a consequence, you should follow how those specific metrics perform as the campaign goes. If those metrics don’t perform well enough, then you will have to adjust your ad sets’ bid, your ad’s creatives (image, headline, description), or even change the campaign’s goal.
The same thought process needs to be applied for each of the 7 goals and the metrics recommended for each one. As mentioned before, you should use your report to analyze your whole campaign (or campaigns, if you have more than one), your ad sets, and your individual ads.
Look for big differences of performance between ad sets and ads. If one ad is performing much better than the rest, think what could be causing that. Could it be the targeting? Or could it be the bid? Perhaps you need to cycle in fresh creative? Whatever it may be, write it down, and create a new ad set or ad (depending on what you are analyzing), and double down on what you think works. Then, come back and see if you have replicated the good performance. If so, keep scaling until you stop getting the results you’re looking for.
Today you have learned how to create simple reports for your Instagram ad campaigns. Now it’s time you start playing around with different column arrangements, dig the data and analyze the results.
Ivan Kreimer is a freelance content writer that helps SaaS business increase their traffic, leads, and sales. Previously, he worked as an online marketing consultant helping both small and large companies drive more traffic and revenue.
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