6 Instagram Testing Strategies for Social Marketers

6 Instagram Testing Strategies for Social Marketers Lucy Hitz Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

2015 Instagram Influencer Report

We constantly recommend testing your social content, but which attributes should you be testing against each other? If you’re looking for some new ways to test and optimize Instagram content, then you’ve come to the right place.

Specific Link in Bio vs. No Specific Link in Bio

Are you struggling to find a way to convert to get your Instagram followers to your website? Whether you sell sweaters or B2B software, this is likely a relevant concern for your brand.

noticed / "turtleneck hair"—the easiest beauty look right now, via our cashmere convertible sweater #everydaymadewell ps, get the look by shopping the link in our bio

A photo posted by Madewell (@madewell1937) on

Here’s one way to test how well Instagram is working as a website traffic driver for your brand.

For one week, post a different picture or video each day which directs followers to your Instagram bio, where you include the same Bitly link to a specific landing page for the entire week.

The following week, make the link in your Instagram bio a generic link to your brand’s main page.

Note the difference in traffic to the landing page from the first week to the second week, and use this as a starting baseline for growing your traffic from Instagram to your site.

Tags vs. New Followers

Instagram is a great place to encourage user-generated content, whether by contests, compelling content, or a mix of both. A lot of brands ask followers to “double tap” (Like) and tag their friends for a chance to win a prize.

Happy #FreeMugFriday! Double tap & tag two friends – you'll be entered to win an A&W Collector's Mug!

A photo posted by A&W Restaurants (@awrestaurants) on

This is a great way to gain brand awareness and, subsequently, followers — but only if it is tested well to make sure it’s effective.

Here’s what you should do to see if the the people being tagged in your comments actually become new followers: First, make a list of all Instagram users tagged in your Comments section.

Next, wait two weeks (you don’t only want to see how many new followers you’ve gained — you want to see how many you’ve retained) and then take a look at your follower growth over that time period, from the start of your contest on.

More specifically, dig into the data and come up with a list of all the Instagram handles of your new followers. Compare this list with the list of folks tagged in the Comments sections of your contest posts.

Come up with a ratio of people tagged: new followers. This will help you set a baseline for future benchmarking.

Product vs. No Product

Every brand active on Instagram should think about a test comparing posts which feature products and posts which don’t.

A few memorable moments with the one of a kind Patek Philippe Ref. 5016A in stainless steel for @onlywatch_official.

A photo posted by Watches By SJX (@watchesbysjx) on

This is a test you can run over the course of two weeks. One week, post a picture or video of your product once daily. The next week, post a picture or video that doesn’t include or even reference your product at all once daily at exactly the same time of day.

Then, run a report to find out which week generated the most engagement, follower growth, engagement as a percent of audience, and/or other metrics you’re interested in. Pay particular attention to the highest performing posts in both the product and non-product categories.

One Product vs. Another Product

Another useful way to test product posts is by comparing one product against another product.

Introducing our NEW Beyond Color Lipstick! Your favorite lipstick has a new look and 10 new shades! 💄💋😍 #AvonMakeup

A photo posted by avoninsider (@avoninsider) on

This is a test you can run over the course of weeks, months, or any other length of time which fits appropriately into a campaign cycle. During one time period, focus solely on one product. The next time period, post picture and videos that include the other product. Complete this for as many products as you wish to include in the test.

In your final chosen time period, post a medley of product pictures from each of the previous time periods.

Lastly, run a report to find out which week generated the most engagement, follower growth, engagement as a percent of audience, and/or other metrics you’re interested in.

This Day vs. That Day

You probably get the most Instagram engagement on the dates and times when you post hte most content.

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 2.51.52 PM

But are you missing a sweet spot for engagement on Instagram by not posting at the right times? The only way to find out is to test.

This is what #MondayAfternoon should always look like! Lucky for @mvataj…it does! 📷 #regram 🍷#WEtaste

A photo posted by Wine Enthusiast (@wineenthusiast) on

This test can be run over the course of one week, but it will require a lot of content. Post a photo or video once an hour, every hour, from 9AM-9PM, every day, for a week.

By finding the repeating spikes in engagement over time, you’ll be able to understand when your followers are most likely to engage with you and when they’re not paying attention.

This Takeover vs. That Takeover

This test is especially useful for brands who are trying to leverage influencers on Instagram.

The Hawaiian poke movement has officially taken over Southern California… and I couldn't be happier about it. Here I made a traditional version tossed in @flavorgod Himalayan salt and pink peppercorn, placed it on a bed of mashed avocado mixed with yuzu kosho, and topped it all with a fried egg and furikake (toasted sesame seeds and seaweed). Serve with tortilla chips, or just a plastic fork… – @dad_beets #TastyTakeovers #YahooFood

A photo posted by Yahoo Food (@yahoofood) on

If your brand does “takeovers,” where an influencer takes over your account for a day or week, then you should be testing your takeovers against one another. This will show you which kinds of influencers are most relevant to your Instagram audience.

Here’s what we recommend: run a period-over-period report for the two weeks that two different influencers took over your Instagram account. Look for strengths and weaknesses in both takeovers, and keep this in mind for future campaigns.

What Did We Miss?

Which testing strategies have you used on Instagram? Let us know on Twitter and download our 2015 Influencer Report below for a little extra food for thought.

Get everything you need to analyze the metrics that matter

2015 Instagram Influencer Report


Lucy Hitz

I’m the Content Marketing Manager here at Simply Measured. I manage our blog, produce longform content, head our co-marketing initiatives, and host the Simply Social podcast, among a few other things. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.