The Updated Guide To Instagram Reels and Reels Analytics

By Mike Metzler

July 7, 2022

If you follow social trends closely you are aware that third-party analytics tools have not been able to measure Instagram Reels within their applications. This was problematic when trying to understand the full reach and impact of your content during a time when Instagram was placing an increased importance on Reels within its algorithm. If you wanted Reels stats, you had to get them in the app. That changed this week when Meta announced ‘Reels APIs for developers. Now, you can measure the effectiveness of your Instagram Reels content with Reels analytics a new module within Conviva Social Insights, for all your authenticated Instagram accounts.  Additionally, you can use our Leaderboard to view metrics on Reels for all publicly available accounts.

Why should you use Instagram Reels


In the eternal pursuit of attention, social platforms have found that short form vertical video content is the current preferred vessel of entertainment. These shifting content preferences have made short form video nearly impossible to avoid no matter what social app you prefer. To compete with TikTok and grow their user-base, Instagram has given priority to Reels content within the application. This has a significant impact on content within the app: as an Instagram user this means you are going to see less pictures and carousel posts in your feed, as they are replaced by full screen Reels videos as you scroll. There is also a dedicated feed for only Reels content.

It’s possible to create amazing content using any Instagram publishing format but Reels has one massive advantage: Built in discoverability. Within the dedicated in-app Reels feed, you’re not just limited to the accounts you follow. Rather, the app will surface top trending content based on your interests and content preferences. This also means if your content will be shown to a more broad audience than just the people who follow you, giving you the chance to grow your Instagram following.

How to make a good Instagram Reel


  • Hook the audience. Popular Instagram Reels all have one thing in common: They grab your attention within the first 2-3 seconds of the video. There are multiple ways to do this so before making any video: ask yourself “How can I start my video that will make people stop scrolling and watch?” Some popular methods include:
      • Large text on screen letting viewers know what the video is about
      • Use trending sounds that people will recognize
      • Flashy and bright colors
      • Videos where people talk directly into the camera
      • Unfamiliar settings that might confuse a user
      • Cliffhangers, start the video with a small preview of the video’s climax

Hook the audience and then deliver a surprise.

  • Video quality matters. It’s best to create your Reels content with an aspect ratio of 9:16, and with a size of 1080 pixels x 1920 pixels. You should also do your best to upload your video when you have a strong and stable internet connection and avoid using videos that have been previously compressed.
  • Craft your video natively. You will not have success if you are just uploading old TikTok videos that have a dancing TikTok logo. Don’t upload videos that have TikTok sounds or music already in them, use the sounds and music natively provided by Instagram and Facebook. If you need text on the video, do it within Instagram’s video editor.
  • Sound Design is Back. Your videos need to have active sounds – when’s the last time you used TikTok without sound?  Likely, not recently.  Since the Reels experience is fully immersive (giving your content on the full screen of a viewer) you need to maximize the tools at your disposal, both visually and auditorily.
  • Collab. Collabs remain a significant driver of viewership- make sure you pay attention to which of your brand’s “collabed” videos do best to understand how to deploy content.  For example, if you’re a college sports team, you can Collab your baseball team’s home run video with your main college’s athletics account. If you’re a TV Show you can collab with your Streaming platform of choice. Take advantage of Collab’s ability to drive higher viewership for certain content. However, make sure you don’t over-use the collab feature with any two accounts, every two accounts should be different enough that it gives users a reason to follow both.

Collabs are the easiest way to increase your videos reach.

  • Use Instagram Reels analytics! With the roll out of Instagram Reels new API you can now use analytics to improve your content. Here is the best way to do that.

How to use Instagram Reels Analytics to improve your Reels content


We’re sorry, but there is no one metric to look at when trying to make the perfect Reel. The truth is that every metric has their own purpose, and your strategy should reflect that. Focusing and chasing individual metrics will leave you lost and frustrated. What you need to do to improve your Reels content is to understand how to measure your content based on content categories.

A content category is a group of similar and related content that can be grouped together for benchmarking purposes. Grouping your content together allows you to get benchmark metrics such as average engagements per video or average plays per video, that allow you to identify top and/or low performing content. An easy example would be if an animal focused page grouped all their dog videos together and compared them against all their cat videos. By doing this you would be able to easily identify which type of videos, on average, perform better. At Conviva we recommend any social strategy work to identify 6-8 content categories that can be repeated over time.

It’s much easier to identify why a certain video performed better within its own content category when you compare it to a low performing one.

The Instagram Reels metrics you need to understand


Likes – Likes are the most basic engagement metric for Instagram Reels but are important in that they serve as a baseline for what is considered “good” content. Likes are also the fastest engagement metric to benchmark. We like to think in terms of: How many likes per video is good after one hour? How about 24 hours? You can determine very quickly how successful a video will be if you pay attention to how quickly a video reaches your “average likes per video” metric.

Shares – Shares are one of the most important metrics when it comes to virality on Reels. There are plenty of reasons someone might share a video on Reels; it’s funny, it’s interesting, informative, shared interest, etc. Sharing increases the reach on videos as it exposes your content to accounts outside your normal viewers. When crafting on-screen text or writing your post copy think, “what about this video would make someone share it” and lean into that.

Reach – It’s what we are all looking for. Reach is defined as the number of unique accounts your content delivers an impression on. Higher than average reach on a video will lead to increased follower growth.

Comments – Good comments can drive virality and conversation. Reading the comments can also be one of the best ways to understand why a video is performing well. Create a safe space for comments on your page, and people will spend more time reading the comments than watching videos. If your goal for any particular content category is to drive comments, experiment with what types of cues, visual or verbal, drive conversation.

Plays  – Plays are what Instagram and Facebook define as a view within Reels. Plays is also the closest metric to “impressions” within this content format. Important to note that plays are not included within engagement rate but the result of highly engaged video.

Follower Growth – While not a metric provided by Reels API directly, it’s something that should be paid attention to. What videos move the needle for your account? Reels is currently the best way to grow your followers on Instagram and Facebook right now– some might say the only way.

Engagement Rate – The purest measure of how engaging your content is: does it drive a response?, do people hate it?, do people love it? Engagement rate is calculated as (Likes + Shares + Comments) / Followers.

Frequency – How often should you post? When should you post? These are questions that can only be measured whenever you look at your metrics, in aggregate, using a third-party analytics solution.

What is better? YouTube Shorts, TikTok or Instagram Reels?


The best platform is where you have the most engaged audience that fits your business’ needs. Conviva Social Insights is the first platform for enterprise clients that allows you to measure your YouTube Shorts, TikTok and Instagram Reels in the same place. With Social Insights you can separate and compare you content by platform or by content category within seconds to determine which platform is driving the KPIs that matter to you.