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The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Terminology for Social Media Reporting

Thomas Rankin
November 18, 2015
Last Updated On
May 10, 2024
magnifying glass on purple background to represent looking through terminology

Deciphering the alphabet soup of acronyms and terminology of social media reporting can be a daunting task. There are countless ways to describe interactions, account elements and metrics for reporting. Because of this, we've delved into the depths of Instagram marketing and curated a glossary of essential terms that will elevate your understanding of the platform's intricacies. We'll navigate through the jungle of Instagram lingo, empowering you to wield these terms with finesse and expertise in any reporting situation.

This blog, we discuss: 

  • Instagram reporting terminology.
  • Social media marketing vocabulary.

Instagram Terminology for Reporting

Success metrics for various Instagram strategies and campaigns may vary based on their objectives. That’s why it’s important to choose metrics that align with your desired outcomes. In this section, we'll go through the vast catalog of Instagram terminology, from conversion rates to Instagram CPM. This will equip you with the tools to communicate goals and objectives with ease, leverage insights effectively and explore alternative metrics beyond the normal follower count to demonstrate your accomplishments.

Conversion Rate

The holy grail of metrics, conversion rate measures the success of a brand or publisher's Instagram profile in driving action. This counts how many followers go from looking at your profiles to actually buying something. Conversion rates show how well things like your shoppable Instagram posts are working. The formula can be expressed as follows:

  • Conversion Rate = (Total Clicks from Instagram / Number of Conversions) × 100

Engagement Rate

A barometer of audience interaction, the engagement rate quantifies the resonance of a post by tallying likes and comments relative to the account's follower count. It provides a nuanced understanding of content effectiveness, going beyond just surface-level numbers. To calculate your engagement rate on Instagram, use this formula: 

  • Engagement Rate by Followers = (Total Followers / Total Engagements) × 100

Engagements Per Follower

Engagements per follower is a metric used to measure the level of interaction or engagement on a social media post relative to the number of followers. It’s calculated by dividing the total number of engagements (such as likes, comments, shares and saves) on a post by the number of followers the account has, then multiplying the result by 100 to express it as a percentage. This metric offers valuable insight into the depth of engagement a post garners relative to the size of the account's audience. It's particularly useful for understanding the impact of content, as it ensures a fair comparison without the daunting task of measuring up to industry giants like Nike or Chanel. To calculate engagements per follower, use the following formula:

  • Engagements Per Follower = Total Followers / Total Engagements

Entertainment Score

A custom Dash Hudson benchmarking metric, Entertainment Score evaluates the level of engagement and retention associated with video content. A higher entertainment score signifies that the audience not only watched a greater portion of the video but also actively engaged with it by leaving comments, likes, or sharing it with others. This metric provides valuable insights into the overall appeal and effectiveness of video content in captivating and retaining audience attention.

Followers Earned

This metric tracks the number of new followers that a brand gains on its own social media accounts as a direct outcome of sponsored posts. It focuses on assessing the effectiveness of influencer collaborations in driving new followers to the brand’s social media presence due to specific sponsored content.

Followers Provided

This metric counts the new followers gained by a sponsor (such as a brand) on their social media account as a result of their partnerships with influencers or publishers. It measures how effectively these collaborations are at attracting new followers to the sponsor's account through shared or promoted content by the influencers. 

So, while both metrics deal with the increase in followers due to influencer partnerships, followers earned are more about direct results from specific sponsored posts by the brand, and followers provided are more about the broader impact of having influencers or publishers help promote the brand.

Follower Growth Rate

The follower growth rate is determined by dividing the number of new followers gained within a specific time frame by the initial number of followers, then multiplying the result by 100%. The formula looks like this: 

  • Follower Growth Rate = ((New Followers - Initial Followers) / Initial Followers) × 100% 

Instagram CPM or Influencer CPM: 

CPM, shorthand for cost per mille, AKA cost per thousand impressions, quantifies the value proposition of influencer collaborations. It represents the cost incurred per thousand impressions, offering a benchmark for assessing the ROI of influencer marketing endeavors. Instagram CPM is calculated using the following formula:

  • CPM = (Total Spend / Total Impressions) × 1000

Earned Reach

Also known as Instagram Reach, this metric sums up the expanse of an audience reached through content created and circulated by others. User-generated content (UGC) takes center stage here, amplifying brand visibility beyond the confines of owned channels.

Organic Reach

Synonymous with earned reach, organic reach is defined as the audience reached through user-generated content posted on external feeds. It highlights how genuine support can greatly increase how visible a brand is.

Earned Media Value (EMV)

EMV is a metric used in marketing to estimate the value of the exposure a brand receives through non-paid channels. Earned media value is typically calculated to understand the monetary worth of organic mentions, social media interactions, or other forms of publicity gained through efforts such as influencer marketing, customer advocacy, or public relations, as opposed to paid advertising.

  • EMV = Number of Engagements or Impressions × Cost Per Engagement or Impression

Paid Reach

Paid reach measures the audience size reached through sponsored posts on Instagram. It indicates the effectiveness of paid promotions in enhancing a brand's visibility.

Owned Reach

The bread and butter of brand visibility, owned reach measures how many people see a brand or publisher's Instagram posts. It shows why it's important to have a strong online presence.

Measuring owned reach on a platform like Instagram involves tracking the number of unique viewers who see content directly from a brand's or publisher's Instagram feed. If you have a business or creator account on Instagram, you can access Instagram Insights. This tool provides data on the reach of your posts, videos, stories, etc, which is the number of unique accounts that have seen your content. 

Effectiveness Rate

In the context of video performance on social media, the effectiveness rate can help understand how well a video resonated with an audience, factoring out potential distortions from having a large follower count but low reach. Here’s how you might calculate this effectiveness rate, focusing on engagement and impact rather than just reach or follower numbers:

  • Effectiveness Rate = ((Likes + Comments + Saves + Video Views) / Reach) × 100%

Instagram Impressions

Instagram impressions refer to the total number of times a piece of content, such as a post or story, is displayed on users' screens. This includes each instance in which the content appears in a user's feed, profile, or explore tab, whether or not the user engages with it. Impressions provide insights into the reach and visibility of a post or story on Instagram, helping users understand how many times their content has been viewed by others.

Share of Voice (SOV)

In social media marketing, Share of Voice is a metric used to measure and compare the amount of conversation or visibility a brand has on social media platforms relative to its competitors. It helps brands understand their market presence and influence compared to others in the same industry. SOV is often used to gauge brand awareness, campaign performance and the effectiveness of social media strategies. Use the following formula to calculate your SOV:

  • Share of Voice = (Total Mentions / Your Brand’s Mentions) × 100

Social Media Marketing Vocabulary

As we build on our Instagram lingo for reporting, this section expands into a wider array of a few essential terms that are needed for mastering digital engagement. Here, we cover both fundamental concepts and more specialized, platform-specific terminology. By deepening your understanding of these key elements, You'll be more prepared to handle the challenges of social media marketing.

  • Shoppable Instagram: Shoppable Instagram technologies turn regular posts into online stores where you can shop directly. Whether it's influencers teaming up with brands or brands running their own channels, these tools make shopping easy and enhance the shopping experience for customers.
  • Influencer: Influencers are people who have many followers on social media and can influence their audience's opinions and actions. They're known for creating engaging content that feels genuine, which helps them connect with their followers and promote brands effectively.
  • Content Creator: Creators are individuals who produce content, such as videos, photos, or written posts, on social media platforms. They often have a unique style or perspective that attracts followers and can collaborate with brands to create sponsored content. Creators play a vital role in shaping trends and engaging audiences online.
  • Brand Ambassador: A brand ambassador is a person who is hired by a company to positively represent a brand to help increase sales and brand awareness. Brand ambassadors act as the face of the company, communicating the brand's values and messages to the public. They can be celebrities, influencers, or even loyal customers who have a strong presence and credibility within a specific community or the general public.
  • Whitelisting: Whitelisting is when a brand pays to promote an influencer's post as an advertisement directly from the influencer's account. This provides influencers with an opportunity to earn income and grow their following while offering brands a chance to reach new audiences.
  • Shadowban: Instagram Shadowbanning is a practice where a user's content is deliberately made less visible or completely hidden from other users without the user being directly notified. This can happen if the user violates Instagram's community guidelines, uses banned hashtags, engages in spammy behavior, or is reported by other users. While the user's account remains active, their posts may not appear in hashtag searches or the Explore page, leading to decreased visibility and engagement.
  • User-Generated Content: The lifeblood of brand authenticity, user-generated content comprises photos and videos created by brand enthusiasts. It embodies the power of community-driven storytelling, fostering a sense of belonging and brand loyalty.
  • Photo Tag: A digital badge of honor, a photo tag occurs when users affix a brand's handle to an image, amplifying brand visibility and fostering community engagement.
  • Hashtag: A common feature of the social media lexicon, Instagram hashtags serve as digital signposts, guiding users to content of interest and facilitating discoverability.

With this detailed list of Instagram marketing terminology in your back pocket, you're now well-prepared to accurately describe the success of your social media strategies. Use these metrics to showcase the impact of your Instagram activities clearly and effectively, turning your efforts into quantifiable business results. This will also help you build stronger, more meaningful relationships with your audience. Go ahead and put these insights to work!

Social Media Report Made Easy With Dash Hudson’s Customizable Dashboards

The calculations necessary for effective social media marketing — from measuring various engagement rates to tracking competitive Share of Voice — can be intricate and time-consuming. For many social media managers, balancing these tasks alongside other responsibilities can be challenging, especially when time is limited and the demand for mental focus is high.

Fortunately, you don't have to do all of these calculations manually. Dash Hudson's Customizable Dashboards offer a powerful solution designed to streamline your social media reporting effortlessly. With dashboards, you can automatically gather data, perform complex analytics and generate detailed reports, saving you time and reducing the likelihood of errors. Whether you're tracking daily engagements or analyzing long-term trends, Dash Hudson tailors its tools to meet your needs, making it easier than ever to harness the power of data in your marketing strategy. So, why not let Dash Hudson take the wheel during reporting time? With their expert tools at your disposal, you can focus more on strategy and creativity, ensuring your social media presence is vibrant and effectively measured and managed.

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