New Free Tools To Analyze Your Instagram Followers And Engagement Rate

UPDATE — 18th of January 2016: Iconosquare switched once more back to paid plans (there is only a free trial). Good news though: Compared to the last switch (in April 2015) the new plans are much more affordable. If you don’t care about exports of your reports you can get started with $28.80/year already. I am still convinced that Iconosquare is doing a great analytics job; if you are looking for a completely free tool however, please continue reading…

At the beginning of 2014 I published the blog post Track The Success Of Your Instagram Content Strategy, in which I strongly recommend the usage of Iconosquare, an easy to set up, complete and free analytics tool. Over a year later, my opinion hasn’t changed. Iconosquare is still the king of free Instagram analytics.

However, they shocked their huge and active followerbase a few days ago, when they announced that they had switched their analytics services to paid only. They shortly introduced 3 new plans for different budgets, which I personally considered as way too costly for private users. Their basic analytics pack started at $199 a month. Sniff!

But all is good (for) now. The team behind Iconosquare admitted they “blew things up”, and they rolled back to the version I fell in love with. They have all my respect for that decision; it surely isn’t easy to sacrifice months of work ‘for the mob’. One word only: Crowdsourcing.


Iconosquare’s email from May 2, 2015

Just to be on the safe side in case Iconosquare switches back to paid only in the future, I’ve been doing some research, trying to find free alternatives for all shutterbugs and ambitious photographers, who depend on some basic Instagram analytics to understand what their followers like or don’t like, and who their followers are.

I filtered all tools I found by the following criteria:

  • does not require additional private data to actually get your hands on the report, but offers a direct connect with existing Instagram login data
  • does not charge anything for at least the very basic data I’m after (all tools below will actually offer more analytics for money too)
  • does work through a web browser or on the two major smartphone / tablet platforms (iOS, Android) to guarantee unlimited access from several administrators (if needed)

3 tools to consider:

1. Besides follower growth and overall engagement, the free Locowise Instagram Analyser compares your post interactions (likes, comments, response time; for both image and video posts) with those of similar Instagram profiles (based on the amount of account followers).

This tool runs in any web browser and will give you a basic understanding if your Instagram growth and engagement rates are healthy, or need to be worked on.


Locowise Instagram Analyser

2. SocialRank does not focus on growth and engagement rate (yet). However, their filters allow you to drill deeper into knowing who your followers are and whom to follow back. You can not only filter by “most valuable”, “most engaged” and “best followers”, but also by bio keyword (for example “photography”, “Canon 5D”, “travel addict” etc.) as well as location (city, state or country) and hashtags they used in the past. With only 1 click you can sort out all those accounts who are inactive or never posted on Instagram.

3. InsTrack (aka InstaFollow, by INNOVATTY) is a mobile App, running on both iOS and Android devices. Free App features include a list of gained and lost followers, a list of Igers that you personally follow, but who do not follow you back, as well as a free “fans” list; followers you don’t follow back. All accounts in these lists can be directly followed or unfollowed from within InsTrack.

Under “Media Insights” you will find a short summary of your Total Likes and Total Comments, as well as Average Likes / Comments Per Post. To see your most popular (liked or commented) media, gain better user insights, or learn more about your most and least engaged followers you will have to do some in-app purchases. You can currently unlock all premium features for a total of $7.76 (one time payment). Sounds fair.


INNOVATTY’s InsTrack (InstaFollow)

Iconosquare statistics, which these 3 tools won’t deliver (for free):

  • best time of the day to publish something new on your Instagram profile
  • average lifespan of a post
  • hashtag trends / search / impact
  • filter impact
  • list of all unread comments (plus possibility to reply or delete them)

If you are after the most complete AND free reporting, Iconosquare is still the best choice. Though for various reasons, you might still want to try one of the above mentioned tools; for example if you need to check your Instagram growth and engagement on the go thanks to a mobile App (something Iconosquare does not offer).

If you want to look into further free tools that didn’t match my filters mentioned above, please check:

Did you find another free Instagram analytics tool I didn’t mention here?
Which of the paid Instagram analytics tools mentioned in this Agorapulse article would you recommend for smaller budgets?

Make sure to connect with me on Instagram!

If you like this post you might also like Acronym Galore: #jj, #gf, #gotd, #wu, #rsa, #whp, #ic & #owu on #ig

Track The Success Of Your Instagram Content Strategy

UPDATE — 4th of May 2015: Due to the Iconosquare rollout on April 28, which caused social media specialists without Instagram budget to panic a little (and which was rolled back on May 2), I had a closer look at additional free Instagram analytics tools. Head over to this blog post for more. It surely won’t hurt to be prepared with a set of different tools to analyze your Instagram followers and engagement rate in case Iconosquare still switches to paid only services in the near future. For now, all statistics described below can again / still be accessed for free!

Since most social media marketing blogs agree that Instagram will be “the king of social media in 2014”, or at least they consider a visual content strategy as the right thing to do this year you might be interested in getting a brief overview what Statigram (Update: As of April 23, Statigram is now Iconosquare) can do for you. You should read this if you’re a target focused numbers guy – or if your boss is – and if you are motivated to boost your website traffic or (photo) sales through Instagram.

Statigram / Iconosquare is a third-party Instagram webviewer for your PC that, once connected to your Instagram account, analyzes your profile activity and coughs up a few metrics, charts and graphs of interest that I am going to explain to you with a few screenshots from my private Statigram / Iconosquare account.

Curious? Visit Iconosquare and connect your Instagram account for free to get started.

Once you are connected, your “Viewer” page is loading all the content you can basically find in Instagram as well: posts from your friends, your media, your followers, your followings, your likes and also the most popular photos on Instagram right now. I usually don’t spend much time on that summary page though.

I prefer to drill down the “Statistics” tab instead.

The first interesting feature on the Statistics “Overview” page is your score card for follower engagement on your last photo or video (big number on the screenshot below) and the average engagement based on your last 15 media posts (small number).


Engagement Score Card

Let’s say you have 1,000 followers and reach the numbers above. In that case, your last post was liked by 228 of your followers and 128 people who don’t follow you; it generated around 60 comments, though I’d recommend to take that number with a grain of salt as Instagram / Iconosquare counts each comment, even if you made it yourself to thank your followers for their comments or to fill it with a few hashtags to get found.

What to do with these numbers?

According to this Buffer article, for every 1,000 followers you have, you can currently expect about 37 interactions per photo. 37 out of 1,000 is 3.7%. In other words, you can expect about 4% of your followers to like or comment on your photos. If you reach scores like on the screenshot above you know you did very well and you’ve found a piece of content people love. Publish more of it!

If you are constantly below the average 4% you know you need to change something about your photo quality, or image descriptions, calls to action or even your strategy.

The second interesting feature I want to discuss can be found on the “Rolling month analysis” page. It’s a more visual presentation of your most engaging posts and a growth number which indicates at a glance if your photos perform better or worse than during the previous month.

Statigram engagement

Does your engagement rate increase or decrease?

The screenshot above was taken in the middle of March. However, two of the analyzed photos were posted in February already which leads me to the interpretation that you’ll always get an engagement overview for the past 4 weeks compared to the 4 weeks before that (rather than a comparison between March and February).

Since February and March were some good months for me to head out and get some photography done – Auckland lit up in rainbow colours; I visited the film set of The Hobbit; I climbed Mount Taranaki – all my engagement numbers went up quite a lot. I did not only gain more likes and comments because I posted more photos, but the average number of likes and comments per photo increased by almost 10% and 24% respectively. I was pleased to receive a few questions about my trips and glad I could offer advice. Note to myself: I need to do more mountaineering to keep my Instagram engagement rates high!

Your “Rolling month analysis” page also allows you to sort all the photos you ever posted by number of likes or number of comments, which makes it super easy to keep track of your most and least liked media.

The “Content” page will give you a brief overview over your own posting behavior.

Turns out I publish more photos on Mondays than on any other day, and I usually do so around 12pm or 6pm (surprise, lunch break or after work). But all of this information wouldn’t be of much value without the “Optimization” tab on which Iconosquare offers a chart comparing your posting habits with your followers’ engagement habits.

Statigram post times

Find out the best times to post on Instagram

The dark circles indicate when I posted photos during the last 90 days (repartition by hour horizontally, and by day vertically). The light grey circles show when my followers have been interacting more (big circles) or less (small circles or no circles). The biggest light grey circles are therefore the best times for me to post.

To be honest, I am currently not making much use of this chart for my private photo account. I just get my stuff out when I have time for Instagram – including time to look at the profiles of people I follow and catch up, like, comment myself. After all, Instagram is a SOCIAL network.

However, from a marketing point of view this chart could be of high value if you plan a new content campaign which requires a lot of engagement. Apropos engagement, the “Optimization” page has another interesting curve to offer: the average lifespan of a post.

Post lifespan on Instagram

My average post lifespan on Instagram

This graph shows how fast your community comments on a media you post. It also shows after how long you can usually consider that a post will not receive any more comments. Again, this curve is based on your activity over the past 90 days.

Unsurprisingly, most of my photos received most comments during the first 2 hours; there is a small peak for hour 4 after publication and hour 12 after publication. I am living in New Zealand but I do have a bunch of followers in Germany, my home country; they usually check in while I’m asleep and vice versa. Some posts still generate comments after 24 hours, but it’s safer to say that most of my Instagram posts have a lifespan of 12 hours. That’s huge compared to Facebook (3 hours) and Twitter (15 minutes).

The “Statistics” tab and all its sub-pages offer you a few more numbers and charts. Today, I introduced you to the ones I find most useful myself. If you have any questions about the rest feel free to ask in the comments below. I’m happy to help.

If you manage Instagram for a company, Iconosquare is a great way to grant access to all administrators through a web browser, no need to have a smartphone or to use your private phone for work matters. The “Manage” tab sends a notification when there is an unread comment, and you can directly reply, delete or post a new comment within Iconosquare.

If you are an advocate of simplicity you probably prefer to use as few tools as needed to manage all your social network profiles. In that case you’ll be happy to hear that Iconosquare can be integrated in your existing HootSuite dashboard. I expect more social media management tools to follow soon.

And of course, Iconosquare offers you a few tools to promote your Instagram account on your blog or Facebook fan page. I personally made use of their “Snapshots” feature depicting my best moments on Instagram in 2013.

If you like this post you will also like Acronym Galore: #jj, #gf, #wu, #rsa, #whp, #ic & #owu on #ig