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What Are The Right Competitive Metrics To Measure For YOUR Business On Instagram?

Do you understand your competitive space on Instagram? No? Well, that’s great news!

For your competitors, that is, because you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re watching what you’re doing like a hawk. They’re gonna emulate the good stuff and steer clear of those whoopsy daisy moments that all brands have in the frontier environment that is Instagram for brands.

Have I sufficiently scared you? I hope so. Now, lets do something about it.

You need to fully understand what you’re up against if you want to find Instasuccess. Every brand is looking for something different from the visual network, and what you should be measuring obviously varies depending on what you want and what your industry looks like, so I’ve broken down some metrics based on categories your brand might fit into.

If you get familiar with these measurement tools, you’re removing a huge roadblock between yourself and your desired outcome for your brand on Instagram. Stay miles ahead of those competitors nipping at your heels, surpass the pack you’re running with, or get on par with the big guns you’re chasing – these metrics are relevant for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

If you’re co-sponsoring an event with other brands…

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Steal eyes away from other brands sponsoring that summer festival before it’s even begun. For instance, Lululemon is a sponsor for Wanderlust Festival, a mega-yoga and music festival that will take place this summer. There are, of course, other sponsors, but Lululemon has done an especially incredible job of staying out in front with regular content that publicizes their connection with the festival.

Now remember: you don’t have to be the main sponsor of an event to maintain a healthy competitive presence on Instagram connected to that event. Just be the sponsor that folks remember. Here’s what you need to measure to make sure you’re on track.

1. Tally your posts daily. 

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 12.37.15 PMKeep tabs on the number of posts you and your competitors are putting up on Instagram, especially in the week leading up to the big event. No, you don’t want to spam your followers and make them click the Unfollow button – but you do want to consistently remind them that you’ll be there and you’re excited – and that you’re more “there” and excited about the event than your competitors, who they might also be following.

If you’re posting fun, fresh, non-repetitive content, you won’t see much of  a backlash. This brings me to the next thing you should be tracking…

2. Keep track of followers. 

Keep an eye on your follower numbers as you deploy your Instagram blitz, too. If you’re gaining followers or staying in the same ballpark, you’re doing something right.

If you’re losing followers and falling behind competitors in this measurement category, experiment with scaling back the daily number of posts or come up with a new spin for your future content.

3. Keep a close eye on engagement.

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As always, make sure you’re tracking whether people are responding to all the content you’re pumping out. Radio silence from followers isn’t as bad as losing those followers, but it’s a close second.

If you’re a retail brand…

1. Get an overview of the space. 

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First, choose your top 5 competitors, and choose them wisely. This means both qualitative and quantitative research. For instance, if I were Billabong, I would want to scan through Volcom’s recent content, and then run some real analysis to see if the connection between what I like (or don’t like) there is reflected in the engagement numbers.

Next it’s time to put together a well-organized competitive chart, like this one from our Instagram Competitive Analysis report.Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 2.35.29 PMBy organizing the information about where you’re strong, where you’re weak, and where your competitors are excelling and failing, you set a firm foundation for making good decisions and doing the deeper dive research you need to be consistently (I’m talking weekly, people) to stay relevant in the oversaturated retail field.

2. Find the meaningful engagement. 

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 2.45.49 PMWho’s getting the most meaningful engagement among your top competitors?

I’m not talking just Likes – I am talking about people commenting on your posts, so moved or drawn in that a Like just isn’t enough.

Click through and check out which posts are winning – then you can see what is causing the stir, what you need to respond to on your own account, how you should be guided by your competitors’ content, and what it’s time to scale back on.

If you’re local…

…or opening a new location. Or dedicated to popularizing your brand in a new city/cities. Or putting up your first brick-and-mortar store after previously maintaining a mostly online retail business.

Basically, if you’re interested in how other brands you compete with have navigated this process, and how you stack up against them in your efforts to build buzz for your latest endeavor, you’ve got to be tracking Top Cities for engagement and tracking the most engaging posts between you and your competitors.

1. Find the top cities for engagement.

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Find out which cities are engaging with your posts the most, and find out if your targeting of specific geographical locations is successful. This could even be a helpful tool for deciding where you should open up a new location or plant brand roots in the first place.

Get similar data for competitors, then zone in on the competitors who are successful where you want to be. That’s when it’s time to take a good qualitative look at what’s been driving engagement in that city you’ve got your heart set on.

2. Look at engagement by post.  

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 2.20.57 PMRun a report like our Instagram Competitive Analysis to see how your competitors are stacking up against you when it comes to engagement in the geographical location you aim to own, and see what they’re doing specifically that’s getting a lot of Likes.

This is a great way to get a quick idea of how to shape your content to fit the new market your entering.

3. Find who’s done it well? 

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The global retail brand just opened a location in Hong Kong. About a month before the opening, J.Crew began periodically Instagramming pictures and even a video to share their excitement for the development. Pro tip: J.Crew also used the hashtag #helloHK on all these posts, which was a great way to simplify the tracking of how their own campaign was going.

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth investing in video content…

Then you’ve got to take a month, and look at the photos vs. videos ratio for your competitors on a week-over-week basis.

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This (measured against the leaderboard I showed above) will give you a wide-spectrum view of whether video content is relevant to your industry and, more importantly, works in driving positive engagement.

How do you get a competitive edge on Instagram?

And what’s important to measure as you shape your content and direction? What’s an example of a brand that has Instasuccess you want? Let me know in the comments below, and click on that emerald green button for a free 14-day trial of Simply Measured if you’re ready to take your measurement to the next level.

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. 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.

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