No one really knows how many people actually had a chance to see one of their Instagram posts. They know the potential audience based on how many people follow their Instagram account, but they have no idea how many people are checking their feeds soon after that photo or video is posted or how many other people might come across it when checking a profile page or the Explore tab. That’s starting to change, at least for brands.
Instagram is finally opening up about new tools it’s adding for businesses, which include business-specific profiles and a way for brands using these business profiles to track how many times their posts actually popped up on people’s screens.
It’s worth pointing out that Instagram is reporting impressions, not views. That distinction means that brands will be able to see how many times their organic photos and videos were served on someone’s screen. They will not be able to see whether someone actually paid attention to the post or skimmed past it while scrolling through their feed.
Brands will be able to see the total number of impressions for their cumulative posts and see breakdowns for the photos and videos that received the most impressions. Those breakdowns include the total number of impressions and engagements an individual post received, as well as a third category that’s not clear in Instagram’s screen shot of the analytics tool. I’ll update this story when I hear back from an Instagram spokesperson.
In addition to the impression info, businesses will be able to get a better view of their audience on Instagram. The insights tool will break down a brand’s follower base according to age, location and gender, as has already been reported. The insights also include hourly and daily looks at how many new followers a brand has accrued.
To get your hands on this data, you’ll need to convert your Instagram account to the service’s business-specific profile. Instagram had said back in March that those business profiles were coming. Some of them have already started cropping up. But over “the coming months,” they’ll start to roll out as a free option for businesses in the US, Australia and New Zealand, and then globally by the end of the year.
As has already been reported, Instagram’s business profiles are basically its version of parent company Facebook’s Pages. The conversion is free and adds a contact button to the account’s profile page, which people can use to call, text or email a business or get directions to its location.
Business profiles come with another perk beyond the contact button and in-app insights tool. Brands that convert to a business profile will be able turn one of their organic posts into an ad without leaving Instagram’s app. They’ll just need to pick a post, add some kind of call-to-action button and specify a target audience (or outsource the targeting decision to Instagram’s technology). They’ll be able to promote that post as an ad for however long they want, according to Instagram.