Instagram Saves and Shares: Metrics to watch.


What are the best Instagram metrics to use right now?

If you use Instagram as your primary tool in marketing, more than likely, the main metrics you are paying attention to is follower growth, likes, and comments. These are what are known as vanity metrics. They look good, but do they really mean much when it comes to your bottom line?

For years these have been the leading indicators of whether a post performed well or if a brand was gaining traction online. Unfortunately, due to a large amount of fraud with accounts purchasing followers, likes, and using comment pods; it’s become harder to decipher if posts are actually performing well, or if it’s a digital trick.

Now more than ever, brands and agencies are paying attention to other metrics that are beginning to mean more to them because they cannot be faked.

Saves and Shares

The bookmark icon denotes saves in Instagram. Users can create collections and save their bookmarked posts in different categories. I use mine for different cities I plan to travel to as I am doing research or places here at home I want to check out. If someone has saved your post, it denotes high value. It could be that they want to remember a location or an item, or perhaps your post had a value-rich caption they want to reference later. Either way, if it was worthy of a save, that’s a meaningful metric.

The paper airplane icon denotes shares. This tells you how many times your post is sent to someone in a direct message. Now, we don’t know who sent our posts, and we certainly don’t see the content of their DM, but for a brand or business, it would be our hope and intention that the post was so share-worthy that action would be taken. Perhaps a visit to a local business or a purchase on a website. It shows how many people are talking about what we posted, and usually, that is a good thing.


Why do these metrics matter?


They are a clear signal of a post your audience and others find valuable. Whether it’s inspiring, educational, or actionable, you created something that caused what some may argue is considerably more valuable engagement than a like or a comment.


As more brands feel like their posts are getting lost in saturated feeds filled with ads and competing posts, Instagram continues to use signals to show our posts to more people. Metrics like saves and shares are a clear indicator that the post is performing well and should be shown to more people or even displayed on the explore page.


Instagram continues to test removing likes on posts in other countries like Canada, Australia, Brazil, and others. While it hasn’t happened in the USA yet, we can only assume that it’s only a matter of time before our likes are gone. Since Instagram does currently use likes as a signal that a post is performing well, you will need to keep in mind what that will mean likes are no longer displayed. Saves and shares will be more critical than ever.


If your business is brick and mortar, it may be hard to know if specific posts drove foot traffic, unless you are getting anecdotal feedback. However, if you are looking to drive digital traffic to your website, Instagram will tell you if you have been successful. Instagram activity insights tell you exactly how many website clicks your posts prompted each week. This directly correlates to the content you post and whether or not it prompted traffic-driving engagement.


So, how do I make people save and share my posts?


Instagram is saturated with more accounts and users than ever before, and each post is fighting for placement. What a waste it is to post content that has no value to your followers frequently. Instead of feeling the need to post every day to appear relevant, make posts that leave an impact, no matter how frequent.


Value is relative and depends heavily on why people have chosen to follow your brand page in the first place. Look through previous posts and determine what had high value based on saves and shares. Let that be a guide to you as you plan your content, so you are continually offering value in your feed.

Additional note: As brands continue to work with influencers, their saves and share are metrics they should be ready and willing to disclose on relevant posts.

If you are interested in more in-depth information as it relates to marketing campaigns, strategies, best practices, or an overall consultation on your current state of digital affairs in the restaurant or retail world, feel free to reach out.