As with anything in social media, you want to make sure you're tracking your Instagram analytics so that you know how you're performing and growing. But because Instagram doesn't provide any in-app analytics, we have to rely on third party tools to provide these insights. And of course, we always looking for free options to keep our costs low 😉
Until recently, Iconosquare was the tool I always recommended. However, they recently announced a change to their platform
which will no longer provide Instagram analytics on the free platform. Yes, this resulted in a minor panic attack - for me and many others. Another popular tool that was readily available (for a paid service) was Totems which closed down as of the end of February.
[Update 11/24/15] Iconosquare is again reverting to a paid platform, although much more cost efficient than their last attempt.
So I've been digging around trying to find the best alternatives and tools for you to use.
Here's what I've come up with. And no, they aren't all free.
Obviously, you can still use the new paid Iconosquare platform to get your analytics. They have announced the new platform
but I honestly don't have a release date or know immediately when this will take effect. And I haven't seen any information or data indicating how much the paid platform will cost. If I get that info, I'll provide that update.
UPDATE 4/28/14: Iconosquare officially changed their platform today and released pricing which you can view here. The prices are high, starting at $199 a month. This is way too high in my opinion, and unless you are an agency or have a lot of clients that warrants these type of monthly/annual costs, there is no justification for this expense to monitor your Instagram analytics. The basic "free" platform is essentially just a viewer and the layout is ok, but nothing extraordinary. As many comments below indicate, Iconosquare will no longer be on my list of relevant tools.
UPDATE 5/2/14: After a LOT of negative feedback from their audience, Iconosquare realized the mistake they made and have resumed providing stats on their free platform. They owned up to their mistake and apologized, and promised to make the site even better going forward. If you want more specific details on how to use Iconosquare for your business, read this previous post I wrote.
I've had a few people reference this new platform for Instagram analytics, called Squarelovin, and after looking into it, you'll really like it if you're used to using Iconosquare. It's currently in Beta but it's FREE and provides almost all the same data that Iconosquare used to provide. It might take a while to populate all your data and any trend analysis will take time for the platform to access your recurring data for analysis.
There is some sign up information required, including setting your country and time zone, providing your email, and a couple other easy steps. But if you're looking for free analytics, it's worth sharing this information!
Instagram Analyser - Locowise
This is a new tool that hasn't even been publicly released yet - though it is poised for public release in the immediate future. You can try the Instagram Analyser for yourself to compare your Instagram account to 2500 other Instagram accounts and see how you stack up against them. This tool is FREE and I've been told by Locowise that it is intended to remain free (they offer a paid service that provides analytics on other major social media platforms).
Log in with your Instagram account, then choose the size range of accounts to compare to (All, Less than 1000 followers, 1000-5000 followers, and other groupings up to over a million followers). I recommend you pick the range that matches your number of followers for the most accurate comparison.
You can compare information related to follower growth, engagement, posts per day, interactions, and response times, among other data points. This information is far from complete, and it won't show you how you are growing. But having a comparison to show your client, boss, investors, or other powers that be how you're performing compared to the "majority" of similar users is always a beneficial data point to have on hand!
Agorapulse is a tool that works as a robust dashboard for management of multiple social media accounts and platforms. They are an approved Instagram partner which makes them a good choice for Instagram analytics. This is a paid platform (they offer a 2 week free trial) and falls in the mid range price for these types of dashboards. But if you manage multiple accounts, have multiple social media clients, or just like a streamlined approach to social media, you will really like this tool. And because it's a dashboard tool, you can do more than just get your analytics. You can respond to post comments, engage with content, and review previously published posts.
Agorapulse offers a variety of analytic data including hashtag monitoring so that you can see all content created around your hashtag. You can also monitor location based content and find out who your most engaged followers are.
One of my favorite aspects of this tool is the reports it prints out for you. It quickly and effectively exports all your statistical and analytical data into a beautiful PowerPoint presentation. You can even add your own branding to the reports so that submitting the data to your clients is professional and easy to read.
Another FREE tool is the analytics tool provided by Simply Measured. You'll have to go through a few steps to get your free report - including validating your account, following them on Twitter (and authorizing their app access - you may not be comfortable doing this), and then providing your name and email address for them to email the report to.
It is a 2 month report broken down into weekly analysis. It provides data and information related to number of posts, total engagement, most engaging post, and numbers of likes and comments. It also provides analysis of engagement related to Instagram posts but from other social media sites (Twitter and Facebook - when you've shared Instagram content to those sites). You can see who your most active commenters are. And, as we all love knowing - what your best day for engagement, and best time of day for engagement is.
Yes, this report does provide a lot of good information. But again, it doesn't show your growth over a long period of time or compare months or years past. I also don't know how often you can access the free report... there may be a limit. Of course, Simply Measured wants you to upgrade to their paid platform for more information (and I'm assuming regular data) so that is always an option.
I've added this tool because the Influencer.db platform is designed specifically for Instagram analytics. This is one of the few tools out there that is focusing on Instagram alone, rather than adding it to their existing dashboards and analytic tools. The platform has a free version and three paid platform options.
This tool analyzes hundreds of thousands of accounts for trend analysis and comparative analysis. You can log in with your account and see your account ranking as well as a variety of basic data related to follower growth and like/follower ratio. It also offers a media value based on an algorithmic analysis to determine the estimated financial value of your posts.
Another really interesting data point you should look at is their "Target Group Analysis". This gives good insight into your followers and their levels of activity on Instagram. For example, a big name brand may have a large proportion of their follower who follow less than 50 accounts, indicating their are highly inactive on Instagram. If 40% of your audience falls in this category, this could explain low levels of engagement or engagement ratios. Or, if the majority of your followers are following more than 1000 accounts, it may explain low levels of engagement ratios because they may not regularly see your posts with all of the other content they are getting daily.
The Research tab is another perk that allows you to search for accounts in certain industries, by size, or like ratio and evaluate them by a digital score (1-100). You can use this as industry data or data comparison for your business account.
Union Metrics has a paid platform that provides Instagram analytics starting at $99 a month. If you want to get your hands on a FREE report, they offer a first-time free downloadable report to give you insight over the last 30 days on Instagram and how you're performing. On a side note, if you manage multiple Instagram accounts, they offer the ability to buy broader plans that allow for multiple account data tracking.
Some of the information they provide in the analysis includes hashtag analysis (including what your competitors are using), best times to post, most active followers, and trends in engagement. It's a robust tool and is essentially the replacement for Totems if you were using that platform or are looking for detailed analyses of your account(s).
This is a FREE new tool that has just recently been made publicly available. The purpose of this tool is to help you better understand your audience and build relationships with them. You can sort and search your followers based on criteria including location, keyword, most engaged, and more. If you're focused on better understanding your audience and brand advocates, this tool will be helpful!
You will have to login with your Instagram account, enter your email address, and wait for your report to generate. It may take a while to get your report so hang tight.
I know, this isn't likely the solution to your problems. And you might not be prepared to pay a lot of money for the various paid platforms. But remember, that sometimes we have to take the time to invest in the right tools to help us grow our businesses. It's up to you whether or not these tools are worthy of that investment.
And, if you decide these tools aren't the right ones for you, you can always look at running your own Instagram analytics. Yes, it'll take more time and you'll have to commit to running your own comparisons, but it can be done.
You can create a spreadsheet and track data across each week or month to best determine what's working for you. Some of the data you may want to track will include:
- Number of followers
- Number of posts in that time period or daily
- Engagement per post (number of likes and number of comments)
- Engagement rate per post (number of likes and/or comments divided by the number of followers)
- Post times (to see which times produce the best results for engagement)
- Track your Instagram traffic to your website (using a bit.ly or trackable link in your Instagram bio)
I hope this list helps you find the information you need to continue managing and growing your Instagram presence successfully. If you think someone else could benefit from this list of tools, please share it with them!