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Want to know if your Instagram Stories content is working? Wondering how to make sense of Instagram Stories Insights?

In this article, you’ll discover seven key Instagram story metrics that reveal what content piqued users’ interest, where interest may have dropped off, and whether people are taking action and engaging with your stories.
How to Analyze Instagram Stories: 7 Metrics to Track by Nancy Casanova on Social Media Examiner.

Note: This article assumes you know how to access Instagram Stories Insights for your Instagram business account. Read this article for instructions.

#1: Find Out How Many People Watch Your Entire Instagram Story

The completion rate metric can give you a feel for how engaging your Instagram Stories content is. A high completion rate means people are taking the time to watch or tap through each slide (a single photo or video posted on your story) until reaching the end. This can help you determine whether you’re posting too many slides or the right kind of content for your audience.

To calculate this metric, divide the total number of viewers of your last Instagram story slide by the number of people who saw the first slide.

reach of last slide / reach of first slide = completion rate

Let’s say your first Instagram story slide had a reach of 152 and your last slide had a reach of 108. Your completion rate would be 71%.

Example: 108 / 152 x 100 = 71% completion rate

instagram story data showing last slide vs. first slide

Upload a Complete Series at Once

When posting to Instagram Stories, batch-upload all of the slides in a series instead of posting them individually throughout the day. By uploading them in one segment, you can more easily determine the completion rate and analyze how the series performed from beginning to end.

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Do some testing to see how many Instagram story slides are a good number for your content and audience. In general, the shorter the content to consume, the higher the completion rate.

Try sharing 3–5 slides in a story series to see what resonates. Remember that you want viewers to see long lines or dashes instead of dots at the top of the screen, indicating the amount of the content to consume.

diagram showing several lengths of instagram stories: a few is viewed as long lines, several is viewed as dashes, and many stories is viewed as dots

Instagram Stories Reach vs. Impressions

The reach metric represents the number of unique Instagram accounts that saw a photo or video in your story. Impressions is the total number of views on each slide in your story.

Your impressions will always be higher than your reach because impressions represents total views rather than unique views. If the number of your total impressions is significantly higher than your reach, it could mean that your slide was replayed multiple times or that the location sticker or hashtag you used helped increase the impressions.

Tracking your Instagram stories’ reach over time will help you gauge how your content could be impacting your engagement and growth. If you notice your reach is declining as each slide progresses, re-evaluate the type of content you’re sharing. It’s good to mix things up every so often so be sure to track your reach to get a pulse on what’s working.

instagram stories data showing the number of impressions a slide received

#2: Learn How Many People Drop Off After the First Instagram Story Slide

The first slide of your Instagram story needs to grab your audience’s attention so they keep watching. Measuring the drop-off rate after the first slide will tell you how many people dropped off after viewing the first slide in your series.

diagram showing drop-off at the send stories slide of five

To calculate this metric, take the number of users reached on your first slide and subtract the reach from the second slide. Then divide that number by the reach of the first slide.

(reach of first slide – reach of second slide) / reach of first slide = drop-off rate after the first slide

To illustrate, if your first Instagram story slide had a reach of 1,650 and your second slide had a reach of 1,430, your story drop-off rate after your first slide would be 13%.

Example: (1,650 – 1,430) / 1,650 = 0.13 x 100 = 13% drop-off rate after the first slide

Establish a Benchmark

Measure the drop-off rate after your first Instagram story slide so you can create a benchmark for your account. This benchmark will help you improve how you tease or present content and improve your retention rates over time.

#3: Learn How Many People Leave in the Middle of Your Instagram Story

You also want to measure the number of people who tapped out somewhere between the first and last slide of your Instagram story series. This drop-off rate lets you know what percentage of people exited your Instagram story before reaching the end.

diagram asking about drop-off rate on slides two, three, and four

To calculate this metric, take the number of people reached on your first slide and subtract the number of people reached on the last slide. Then divide by the number of people reached on the first slide.

(reach of first slide – reach of last slide) / reach of first slide = drop-off rate

If your first Instagram story slide had a reach of 1,650 and your last slide had a reach of 1,300, your Instagram story drop-off rate would be 21%.

Example: (1,650 – 1,300) / 1,650 = 0.21 x 100 = 21% drop-off rate

Mix Up Your Visuals and Text to Keep Viewers Engaged

Mix up your Instagram story content with videos and images to keep your audience’s attention. Also incorporate animated text, stickers, and polls throughout your story series to encourage engagement.

Additionally, you can use the insights you’ve gathered here to find the sweet spot for how many slides your audience typically prefers to consume.

#4: Discover How Many People Exit the Instagram Story Feed From Your Story

Measuring your Instagram story exit rate helps you assess how many people left your story. An exit occurs when a person swipes down on the Instagram story slide or taps the X in the upper-right corner of the slide to close the Stories feed. These hard swipes/taps are a very deliberate action that users take so pay close attention to this metric. However, also note that it could mean the person needed to exit Instagram for another reason.

instagram stories data showing viewers who edited the stories feed from your story

Story exits are bound to happen but if you evaluate your Instagram story series, you can start to identify which stories had a higher-than-average number of exits. Is there something you can learn from that? Perhaps you can apply a different approach in the future.

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To calculate this metric, take the number of exits on a slide and divide it by the number of impressions.

number of exits / number of impressions = exit rate

For instance, if you had 2,200 impressions and 160 exits, your exit rate would be 7.2%.

Example: 160 / 2,200 = 0.072 x 100 = 7.2% exit rate

Identify What Content Works and What Turns Users Away

You might notice your exits happen in the first and last slide of your Instagram story series. Perhaps you could tweak your first slide to better entice users to keep watching. Analyze your exits to help improve your copywriting, visual aesthetic, and engagement (with question and poll stickers, animated video or text, and other optimizations).

diagram evaluating what might have happened with each instagram stories slide: teaser needs work, no text on video, too much text, boring visual, missing call-to-action, etc.

On your last slide, did you have a call to action (CTA)? Maybe people weren’t interested in taking action and moved on. In this case, you could experiment with your CTAs by placing them in the middle of your story series instead of the last slide. When analyzing exit rates, see if you had a CTA, too much text on the slide, or other visuals that may have turned users off.

Exit vs. Next Story Metrics

The next story metric represents a hard swipe that takes viewers to the next account’s story. It carries a more negative weight than exits because it means that person disengaged with your content and opted to move onto someone else’s.

Find out where people are tapping to the next story to identify opportunities for improvement. For instance, if people are tapping to the next story at the beginning or end of your story, that could be an opportunity to improve your introduction, CTA, or engagement tactics for your audience.

#5: See How Many Actions People Took on Your Instagram Story

Instagram Stories lets you measure the actions people took when they engaged with your story such as shares, replies, profile visits, website clicks, sticker taps (hashtag, location, @mention, and product), and link clicks (swipe-ups). If you have an Instagram business account with more than 10,000 followers, you’ll have access to the Swipe-Up feature for links.

instagram stories data showing actions people took on your story

Measuring your engagement rate on Instagram Stories is essential to building an engaged community on the platform. Incorporate polls, ask questions, and encourage your followers to share their feedback or questions with you and sprinkle these interactions throughout your slides.

To measure your engagement rate, take the total number of interactions you received and divide it by the number of impressions.

interactions / impressions = engagement rate

If you had 1,900 impressions and 96 interactions, for example, your engagement rate would be 5%.

Example: 96 / 1,900 = 0.05 x 100 = 5% engagement rate

Look for Unique Elements That Boosted Engagement

Be mindful that impressions and interactions will fluctuate from slide to slide in an Instagram story series. That’s why it’s important to examine whether there was something unique on that slide that could have boosted the engagement rate, such as interactive stickers, a video, text overlay on the slide, and so on.

Identify what could have contributed to a higher or lower engagement rate on a slide to help improve future content.

#6 and #7: Find Out How Often People Tap Back and Forward on Your Instagram Story

Taps back is the number of times viewers tapped back to repeat the previous photo or video in your Instagram story. Think of a tap back as a replay of your slide, which increases the total impressions on your story. While there may be several reasons why a user would do this, generally it means your slide had noteworthy information that required a second look. This metric is an indicator of sticky, quality content.

instagram stories data showing taps back taken on your story

Taps forward is the number of taps to see the next photo or video in your Instagram story. If you have a series of back-to-back photos or creative tap-worthy content (i.e., stop motion frames or “tap to reveal” content), taps forward may make sense; however, a high number of taps forward in your story can also be a sign that your slides aren’t very engaging.

instagram stories data showing taps forward taken on your story

Think of ideas for thumb-stopping content (a.k.a., taps back content). If you have too many videos or photos back to back, try adding a quiz, poll, or text on the slide to allow users to engage.

To measure your taps back rate, take the number of taps back you received and divide it by the number of impressions. You’ll do the same to find your taps forward rate.

taps back / total number of impressions = taps back rate

Suppose you had 4,150 impressions and 275 taps back. Your taps back rate would be 6%.

Example: 275 / 4,150 = 0.06 x 100 = 6% taps back rate

Identify What Makes Users Tap Back and Replicate It

Between the two metrics, it’s better to have a higher taps back rate than taps forward rate. Take note of what makes users tap back on content because it’s a good indicator of what’s working and can help influence future Instagram story content that will resonate with your audience.

Conclusion

These seven key Instagram story metrics can help you better understand how your audience is interacting with your content and inform future content. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by analyzing all of the engagement metrics at once, focus on one at a time until you find what works for your content delivery and audience.

You could start with the Instagram story completion rate to help determine your optimal number of slides. Or you could explore your engagement rate and measure the number of replies you receive at the end of each story.

Perform an Instagram Stories content audit on a weekly or bi-weekly basis so you can gain insights quickly and apply actionable changes as you learn. Write down your observations, tactics, and insights as they trickle in. Once you have enough data to validate an editorial or engagement decision, move on to improving another engagement or growth metric.

What do you think? Which Instagram Stories metric are you trying to improve? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

More articles on marketing with Instagram Stories:

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