Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels out there, which means its a necessary place for marketers to be if they want to expand their business’ online presence. However, while using Instagram itself is straightforward, achieving your goals necessitates a significant amount of strategy. If you are a marketer or entrepreneur that manages not to spend money on Instagram advertisements, you are still investing a great deal of your time—so the question remains the same: how can you boost your ROI on the platform?

The answer lies in analytics. You do not want to approach social media without guidance, or else you will be stumbling around in the dark, hoping to do something right that attracts a bit of attention to your business. A thorough understanding of how well different kinds of content perform, how far your posts reach, and other aspects of your strategy will help you get the most out of your Instagram efforts.

Improving your engagement

So, what sort of measurements should you be paying attention to? While Instagram beginners might think that high follower counts are what determine success, more experienced Instagrammers will tell you that it’s more about engagement. What use is having over a million followers if only a few people are interacting with your posts and doing business with you?

Instagram’s native analytics tool for business accounts—as well as other third-party resources—can provide you with insights into your audience, profile, and individual posts. Regarding the latter two, you should pay attention to statistics like Impressions (how many times people have seen your posts within a specific timeframe), Interactions (the number of actions visitors have taken on your profile), Reach (similar to Impressions, but refers to number of unique accounts that see any of your posts), Visits, Mentions (how many times people have mentioned your handle), Follows (how many people followed you because of a particular post), and more. When you can see which kinds of content are effective (such as videos, images, stories, or regarding subject matter), you can produce more of the same and eliminate what is wasting your time.

Helping you understand your audience

Analytics will also help you understand who is following you. Every business needs a niche audience—you’ll spread yourself too thin if you attempt to appeal to too many people with different interests—but knowing precisely who to target and who is most likely to find your brand relevant to their interests is tricky. Instagram audience insights can tell you about where your followers are located, what their behaviors are on the platform, how often they are online, when they are online, and more.

What do you do with this information? You increase your ad spend on advertisements that appear on users’ feeds who have expressed interest in your business’s topic before. You focus on attracting attention from new users who live close to where the majority of your followers do. Instagram analytics can also tell you about your audience’s gender and age, so if most of your followers are between the ages of 25 and 34, you don’t have to spend as much time and money trying to appeal to users under 24.

Enhancing your content

The overall reason for understanding your audience and performance is to maximize your content’s reach and intrigue. The videos, images, infographics, and other things you post are the reason why people follow you, so the goal is to both attract people’s attention and give them a reason to stick around. Take a look at what people interact with the most so that you can cultivate a robust content calendar that is both informative and engaging.

You also want to create discoverable content. Singlegrain reports that in 2017, 60 percent of Instagram users noted that they learned about a product or business on Instagram. So, the more people that comment on, like, and share your content, the friendlier Instagram’s algorithm will be to you and feature your posts on the “Explore” tab.

Measuring your click-through rate

If you are using Instagram to drive traffic to your website and boost sales, you can also use Instagram analytics to keep track of who is clicking on the links in your profile and stories (which are the only two ways you can post a link on the platform). Analytics tools can help you experiment with how best to present links, what inspires people to click them, and how to write effective calls-to-action.

Executing a successful Instagram marketing strategy requires an in-depth understanding of how well your campaign is performing and how you can adjust it. How will you use Instagram analytics to improve your ROI?