If you’ve been trying to step up your Instagram Reels, your head is in the right place. And now the platform has made it easier thanks to the recent rollout of Instagram Reels insights.
Because digging into your data can help you figure out which types of short-form video really resonate with your target audience.
As Reels become integral to brands’ content strategies, analyzing your data should be a top priority moving forward.
In this guide, we’ll teach you how to use Instagram Reels Insights, what you can learn from them, and how analytics help you produce better video content.
Instagram Reels Insights: What Your Metrics Mean
The official Instagram Creators account broke the news about launching Insights for Reels and Live as of May 2021.
Right now, Reels Insights are currently available to business and creator accounts (and can be accessed via the “Reels” tab of your Instagram profile page). Here’s a snapshot of what the dashboard looks like:
The data is broken down into two categories: “Insights” and “Interactions.”
For starters, Reel Insights cover the following metrics for individual posts:
Duration: how long your Reel is (working within Instagram’s current limit between 15 and 30 seconds).
Reach: how many unique people saw your Reel (this includes views from your profile and views earned via the “Home” feed or search).
Plays: how many times your Reel was played (this accounts for loops and people who viewed your real more than once).
Then there are Reel Interactions, which are basically your Reels’ engagement metrics. This includes:
Likes: how many people “Liked” your Reel.
Comments: how many comments your Reel received.
Shares: how many times someone shared your Reel with another Instagram user (hint: this can help highlight potential viral or share-worthy content).
Saved: how many times someone “saved” your post to view or share later.
Reels Insights also highlights your total number of Accounts Reached across all of your Reels for both followers and non-followers.
What are the most important metrics to monitor here? Ideally your overall reach and individual play count should tick upward as your account grows. That said, engagement metrics are arguably more valuable for the sake of understanding what your audience wants to see and assessing how Reels fit into your Instagram strategy.
How to Use Instagram Reels Insights to Create Better Content
At a glance, Reels Insights might seem straightforward. Optimizing videos that are so short might seem like a challenge, too.
But the potential takeaways from these numbers can be a game-changer in terms of not only how you approach Reels but also your content strategy at large.
Below are some ways that Instagram Reels Insights can help.
Understand How Your Reels Perform Versus the Rest of Your Posts
In-feed posts. Stories. Carousels.
You have a ton of creative freedom in terms of what you publish on a day-to-day basis.
And each piece of content requires different considerations in terms of creatives (think: captions, images) and how much time you need to spend on it.
For the sake of schedule and sanity, it’s important to identify your top-performing content. That includes your reels.
Regularly monitoring the performance of all types of content can clue you in on what you should publish more of and which pieces of content might be underperforming. Instagram Reels Insights tells you directly the content types that are your biggest winners.
For example, you might learn that your Reels are killing it with your current followers while your Live videos are getting the most engagement among non-followers. Rather than throw out random pieces of content and see what sticks, Reels Insights can clue you in on proven ideas.
Figure Out How Often You Should Publish Reels
Piggybacking on the point above, you need to be able to find a balance in terms of how frequently you publish Reels and where they fit into your content strategy.
After all, you can’t only publish Reels. Switching up your content formats is key to keeping your feed fresh and making sure your followers don’t get bored by your posts.
You also need to consider how pushing out less resource-intensive pieces of content such as Stories, user-generated content, or memes encourages you to fill up your content calendar without burning yourself out.
Below is an awesome example of a diversified Instagram feed via Sunbum. The mix of Reels, shoppable posts, and influencer snaps represents a fresh, attractive brand feed.
Remember that Reels are (relatively) new to Instagram and the algorithm tends to prioritize newer formats and features. With the help of Reels Insights, you can make a better judgement in terms of where they stack up against the rest of your content.
Identify Content with Viral Potential
If you have a piece of content that gets a surge of views from non-followers, chances are it was picked up in the Home or Instagram search feed(s). Taking the time to find the common threads between these types of Reels can help you recreate the same types of content. Some elements to pay attention to include:
Captions and hashtags
Category tags (see below)
Determine Which Instagram Reel Formats Work Best for Your Brand
Again, Reels might seem simple at a glance.
But the wealth of content formats available to creators is staggering. This includes:
How-tos and factoids
Try-on hauls and product show-cases
Skits and challenges
For example, if your how-to Reels score the most engagement it would probably make more sense to focus on a series of posts focused on customer education.
So, which types of content does your audience like best? You won’t know until you look at your Instagram Reels Insights and conduct a sort of content audience yourself. You can then try to spot the difference between content formats and their creatives.
Check out the difference in performance among Anthropologie’s most recent Reels. What separates the 2+ million view posts from the 200k ones? Putting your Reels under the microscope can help you understand why a piece of content does so well (hint: it’s probably not random).
Fine-Tune the Length of Your Instagram Reels to Maximize Engagement
The difference between 15 and 30 seconds may not seem like much, but we’ve seen firsthand via TikTok how content length in short-form video impacts engagement.
There is no “right” answer here. The upside of shorter videos is that they typically have a higher completion rate. That said, videos that run longer give you more of an opportunity to make an impression on the viewer.
We recommend experimenting with different Reel durations to find a happy medium and see what your audience prefers over time.
Uncover Influencers with Engaged Audiences on Reels
Let’s say you’re interested in collaborating with Instagram influencers and you want to double-check that their engagement rate is legit.
Well, with Reels Insights you have a clear-cut answer in terms of their typical views, engagement from non-followers, and more.
Speaking of which, we totally understand how difficult it can be to both find and vet influencers. That’s where a platform like IZEA can really come in handy. Working with legitimate influencers with documented performance, you can find collaboration opportunities with peace of mind.
“How Often Should I Analyze My Instagram Reels Insights?”
You should obviously keep a close eye on your Instagram Insights.
However, it’s important to monitor big-picture trends alongside your individual posts. That’s why we recommend looking at your Reels performance on either a week-to-week or month-to-month basis.
Because Instagram Reels Insights puts all of your numbers front-and-center, doing so is easy. For example, you might use a social media reporting template (like the one below from Later) and slot in your Reels numbers alongside your Stories or in-feed post metrics.
Then, you can make notes to put your performance into context.
Over time, you can identify the following:
Benchmarks for views and engagement across your Reels
Whether your Reels audience is growing (among followers and non-followers)
How well your Reels perform against other types of content
See how that works?
Are You Keeping an Eye on Your Reels Insights?
Reels are becoming more and more integral to Instagram.
Meanwhile, the rollout of Reels Insights really drives home how they’ll likely become a staple content format moving forward.
Through Insights, you can better determine what’s working, what’s not, and how to approach your Reels content with a sense of confidence. If you’re already running a business or creator account, start tracking your numbers today to drive growth in the near future.