How To Get Analytics Insights You Need to Improve Instagram Stories Engagement

Stories have become wildly popular on Instagram, and the amount of people publishing stories has eclipsed Snapchat’s entire userbase. The question is, what analytics are available to help you understand how your Stories are performing, and how to improve engagement?

Getting on to Instagram for business

Instagram is the fastest-growing social network, with over 1 billion users across the world. It has also been one of the valuable tools for marketers: Over 25 million businesses have an Instagram profile and 80% of users follow a brand. Instagram Stories in particular have accelerated the use of the network. Some say “Stories” was Instagram’s smartest move yet. Its 400 million daily users is more than twice the number of users Snapchat has for its entire app. It is arguably the fastest-growing media format ever. Some 31% of Instagram users post a Story every month, according to a recent survey from RBC Capital, up from 21% a year prior. And 47% of users watch them at least weekly, up from 32% a year ago.

In fact, serious business users of Instagram inevitably find that their Stories get about 3X the views of their posts. With a Story people can dive straight into the topic, without scanning a large stream of posts in the feed.  Because Stories don’t have to be posted live, they can be edited and presented very professionally and at the same time with a “designed-interruption” to get people’s attention.  You can take videos from hours ago or days ago and edit more life and flow into them, make them more appealing, and then posts as a Story.

In this way Instagram Stories is much more of a business tool then say, Snapchat. While Instagram can be as casual as Snapchat, it also provides the tools and features to be used much more as a business tool.

The key point about Stories is that they’re ephemeral. They only last a day and then they’re gone. That makes them ideal for promoting short-term offers, flash sales, or for telling the story of a one-off event.

Therefore, being able to measure the performance of Stories is becoming a key issue for brand marketing managers and their agencies. Thankfully, Sprinklr is able to help out.

Measuring Instagram Story performance

The engagement data for Instagram Stories analytics is great for finding out what types of content perform the best. Firstly, let’s start with some necessary definitions:

  • Taps Forward is the number of times a viewer tapped the right side of the screen to jump to the next story in the queue;
  • Taps Backward is the number of times a viewer tapped the left side of the screen to rewatch the previous story. This can be a great sign of what’s working!
  • Exits are the number of times someone has swiped out of your story. For example, if someone exits your story,  it could just mean that the viewer was running out of time to watch stories.

Since a lot of people “speed tap” their way through watching Instagram Stories, Taps Backward, Next Story, and Exits are all better indications of how your Stories are performing.

Let’s take a look at some statistics.

Instagram story metrics

The table above shows the metrics for Stories. We can see that (sorted by % Taps Forward) that many Stories have a Tap Forward rate of 90% and above. That sounds bad, especially if the story media is a video. This is a clue to examine how compelling those Stories were. Perhaps it was a simple message and the video was a few seconds too long. People will tap forward quickly.

This is potential lack of compelling engagement is even more evident if the media was an image. Although a still photo only displays for 5 seconds, that is too long for people to not Tap Forward unless there  a lot of content in the image.

But although those Tap Forward and Exit percentages seem high, it is not all bad news. We have examined over 1,750 stories and it turns out that the average Tap Forward and Exit percentages are 71% and 6.4% respectively.

Instagram Story Statistics Tap Forward and Exit Averages

Therefore it seems that tapping forward is just a part of the paradigm of Stories – it is an ingrained behaviour probably because of the sheer volume of content people browse. Your goal should be to try to beat that average of 71% for your own Stories, and a goal of around 40% is practical, and we see that 25-30% is not uncommon with great content.

The same goes for the Exit Rate. Aiming for zero may be just too ambitious, but achieving a rate of, say, 5% will tell you that your content is being effective.

More replies, lower exit rates

What is interesting is that if we sort the above table on descending number of replies it shows that posts with the most replies have some of the lowest Exit Rates.

It makes sense, since more replies constitute more direct engagement. Since Stories with no replies constitute the vast bulk of Stories, a low Exit Rate can be used as a tool to select “good” content for review, as well as highlighting poor content.

Instagram Exit Rates Versus Replies

The chart above shows, to the right, that where there were a high number of replies the Exit Rate was relatively low.

Video performs better than images

When we examine the Story performance of images versus video there is a clear winner – video.

Instagram Story Metrics Exit Average Impressions Average

The above two metrics show that images achieve only 43% of total Story impressions, compared to 57% for video. On the other hand, images account for 53% of Story Exits, compared to 47% for video. Not only are images exited at a higher rate, but they are seem less often.


Instagram Stories are a powerful tool for business, and therefore making use of the best analytics is a necessary process to ensure that the business marketing goals are being achieved effectively.

Story metrics provide the necessary insight into what content is working best, and also what content is under-performing. By tracking and benchmarking metrics such as Tap Forward Rates and Exit Rates you can map your progress against your new content tactics.

A platform like Sprinklr can provide automated customised statistics and reports to help you achieve outcomes which place you ahead of the average, and ahead of the competition.

See this video to set up Instagram Story analytics in Sprinklr: Sprinklr Training – Reporting on Instagram Stories and Instagram Engagement Features

Contact Us for social media audits, strategy, and for augmentation of your customer experiences enhanced by social data.

—– Walter Adamson
LinkedIn /adamson
Instagram @walteradamson

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