How to Use Instagram Stories Analytics and Insights

In 2016, Instagram introduced Stories which brought an entirely new content format to the platform; you could post photos, videos and boomerangs that would disappear after 24 hours. And, since being launched, not only have they been a great way for brands to stay on top of the feed, they have contributed to Instagram becoming the world’s most popular social media platform.

Plus, since they are short-term in nature, this has led to more innovative and well-developed content being posted which can run in parallel with grid posts.

So, with this combination of content, Stories are an important content format to tackle as part of your overall Instagram strategy. However, the question you still might be asking yourself is how you can measure your performance and track what your target audience is engaging with, so you can define your strategy.

Understanding The Metrics

First of all, it’s important to understand the different metrics. Stories don’t come with the same features as grid posts, so users can’t like, comment or save them. However, they do offer different ways to interact.


This is the number of times that a user responds to a story. This feature starts a direct conversation with you and a user.

Taps Forward

This is the number of times a user taps on the right side of a story to move forward onto the next one.

Taps Backward

This is the number of times a user taps on the left side of a story to re-watch a previous one.


This is the number of times a user swipes down on a story to return back to the main feed.


Impressions are the total number of views that each one of your stories have gained. But, it’s important to remember that impressions also count the number of times a single user has viewed a story multiple times.

How to Use Stories Data to Your Advantage

Now we are going to run through how you can use this data to create and optimize a winning Instagram Stories strategy.

Is Your Target Audience Viewing Your Stories?

The first thing you need to consider and think about is whether your target audience members are viewing the content you are publishing on Stories. This may seem like an obvious thing to suggest, but what’s the point of creating content if no one is going to consume it? And, while they are highly visible on the platform, they are more suited to certain brands than others.

You can view this metric by simply taking a look at each of your individual stories. There will be an eye symbol that you can click on to see how many (and who) has viewed them. Alternatively, you can look at business insights to for a view of how all of your stories have performed. This is a great way of gaining an understanding of whether your audience is interested in your content.

Which Stories Resonate With Your Target Audience?

Once you know (hopefully) that your target audience is viewing your Stories, then it’s time to refine your strategy. And, the best way to do this is by viewing how many impressions you are generating. Now, once you have had a look at that then analyze whether there are concepts or creative content that all have something in common. This will give you valuable insight into what content resonates with your audience and allow you to refine your strategy to your advantage.

Why Does Your Target Audience Tap Backward?

This is an interesting one because it doesn’t mean that your target audience isn’t interested in your content. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. It means that they found your content so interesting that they want to take a second look. Or more importantly, didn’t have time to consume everything.

Replies, Exits and Taps Forward

After gaining insight into what your target audience liked enough to tap backward on, it’s time to look at Replies, Exits and Taps Forward.

Replies are considered to be the most valuable interactions because this stat indicates that users enjoyed your content enough to draft and message to you and send it back. Although this might seem like we are stating the obvious, it’s a valuable metric to keep track of if you’re planning on working with influencers in the near future.

To see what’s not working you can then take a look at Taps Forward and Exits.

Taps Forward typically means that your target audience wants to skip your content for one reason or another. It might be because an image  or video doesn’t resonate with them.

Exits are the most negative thing your audience can do. It means that users have started watching your content and decided to ditch it and return to the grid instead. While some users might exit a story because they are done with it at any specific moment, it is important to look at your content to see if patterns have been occurring. This can help you further refine your strategy.


Making the most of Instagram analytics and insights will not only help you better understand your target audience, but it will also help you tailor your content strategy. There also loads of tools and software out there that can help you manage your Instagram. For example, Hootsuite and SproutSocial are fantastic at doing this.

We hope this short guide has helped you understand why you should utilize Instagram Stories analytics and dig into the available insights to grow your business.

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Lloyd Parkinson

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