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

The Social Media Image Frenzy – Panel Discussion

If you are in Auckland on October 22 and interested in either photography, or social media, or social marketing, don’t miss the following event. I’m sure you won’t regret it — I attented almost all Social Media Club Auckland (#smcakl) meetups during the past 1.5 years and I can truly recommend their monthly panel discussions.

22 October, 6 pm to 8 pm (check your timezone for the live stream)
Where? Vodafone, 20 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland City (New Zealand)

What? Every minute of every day, we share millions of images online. The image is the new visual language of the moment. But by doing so, has privacy become an old-fashioned concept as we become our own gossip columnists, and celebrities bypass the traditional media to become their own press agents?

And with so much noise how do professionals source and sell images when you are one among billions? While we are busy instagramming, pinning, facebooking, and tweeting our daily lives, are we simply creating a commodity for the companies that use facial recognition tech to scan our streets and social media posts to fill big data tanks on how we eat, live, look and think?

Join us as our panel discusses the new distribution models, how to break through the noise, how the social media image frenzy is changing the way we use and share images, and the implications of tracking technology.


  • Arran Birchenough – Senior Account Manager, Getty Images
  • Bradley Ambrose – Professional news and adventurer photographer
  • Associate Professor Mark Sagar – Director, the Laboratory for Animate Technologies, University of Auckland
  • Ricardo Simich – Editor of Spy the Herald on Sunday

How? Reserve your free ticket! Then join the social media savvy crowd at 6 pm for hot pizza, cold drinks and inspiring discussions! Can’t make it there? Join their live stream online (which puts you in charge of pizza and drinks)!

If you like this post you might also like Track The Success Of Your Instagram Content Strategy

Wanaka: That (Instagram) Tree Again


2014: THE tree in Wanaka, New Zealand

When I moved to New Zealand in 2011, for me, Wanaka was all about Skydiving. Now, 3 years later, Wanaka is all about “the lone tree”.

This image shift started on social networks, most notably on Instagram. Filtering by hashtag #GigaTownWanaka, I came across the same idyllic, picturesque, maybe even romantic scenery again and again – a single tree in the middle of a lake. That tree clearly had its followership!

But that’s not the whole story. That tree has its own hashtag! There are currently hundreds of photos tagged with #ThatTreeAgain.


2014: #ThatTreeAgain, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

And as if this wasn’t enough, THE tree also has a name thanks to Instagram. True story! I found several Instagram photos of the lone tree captioned with “Hinemoa, Lake Wanaka”. My first reflex was to ask Google about the background story of Hinemoa. But Google didn’t know! (Also a true story!!)

So I asked a New Zealand photographer who has taken stunning photos of “Hinemoa, Lake Wanaka”. To my surprise he couldn’t tell me where he heard the name first or where it came from. But he referred me to @fi_austin.

Fiona (@fi_austin) used to post heaps of photos of #ThatTreeAgain (on her former account @haweachick). She told me, back then she has been regularly asked if the lone tree had a name. And somehow it was a pity it didn’t. So when a friend of hers stumbled across the Maori legend of Hinemoa, also known as the Lady of the Lake, Fiona started to refer to the tree as a “she” and gave her the name Hinemoa – on Instagram. The name stuck!

Working in Social Media, for me it’s the perfect example of how rumours can go viral on any network without having real control. And now, thanks to my blog post, Google also knows. The tree is only a heartbeat away from immortal fame ;)

If you like this post, you might also like New Zealand Communities On Instagram


2011: My very first photo ever of Hinemoa, Lake Wanaka


Australian Communities On Instagram

Travel guides are out! Instagram is taking over!

Well, at least in my case. But I’m an addict. I personally like to follow regional and national Instagram accounts as part of my trip preparation. It usually helps me to learn fast about a certain location, to stay informed about ongoing or coming events and to get to know some of the best local photo spots and opportunities.

Since I just spent a few weeks in Oz I compiled a list of worthwhile Australian Communities on Instagram. I figured it would be a nice addition to my updated blog post “New Zealand Communities On Instagram”, which I first published in May 2013.

I’m happy to share my Top 10 (alphabetical order) with you. Please note that these accounts are featuring the work of worldwide Igers while they travel through Australia and make use of specific hashtags:

@aussiephotos #aussiephotos
@australia #seeaustralia
@australiagram #australiagram
@australialovesyou #australialovesyou
@bnw_australia #bnw_australia
@discoveraustralia #discoveraustralia
@exploreaustralia #exploreaustralia
@exploringaustralia #exploringaustralia
@icu_aussies #icu_aussies & #icu_aussies_bnw
@wow_australia #wow_australia

Accounts focusing on Oceania in general (also featuring photos of worldwide artists):

@au_nz_hotshotz #au_nz_hotshotz
@wuoceania #wu_oceania
@loves_oceania #loves_oceania

Further tags to instantly find and connect to Insta Aussies locally (partly featuring photos; though most of these hashtags are used by locals and tourists alike to discuss or show regional captures without being featured):

@exploreuluru #exploreuluru
@queensland #thisisqueensland
@tasmania #discovertasmania

Please leave me a comment if you know of any Australian Instagram account that definitely belongs in this list. Thanks a million!

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

Do Photo Filters Have An Impact On You?



I recently came across the article “Top 5 Instagram Filters”. It wasn’t the first text I read about the impact of Instagram filters on the amount of photo likes and comments. But I admit I hadn’t paid attention to that so far simply because I don’t make use of Instagram filters or any editing software promising you the ultimate grunge or vintage look.*

However, the article got me thinking. The next time I visited Instagram I noticed I tend to swipe past images which seem to look completely over edited. Can there be too much HDR? I think so!

How about you? Would you say that photo filters have an impact on you? Do you prefer more or less drama, bleached or glowy look? Does a certain style cause you to like or comment on a photo for sure? Are you a #NoFilter ambassador? Or do you consider the image theme or caption as most important motivator to engage with the photographer?

It clearly boils down to personal taste I guess. As someone being on Instagram on a daily basis I would refrain from saying there is a best or worst filter. It’s interesting though how Social Media Analysts seem to spot a pattern.

Here are a few edits to keep you thinking. Any favorites?


Temperature filter


Grunge filter


Vibrant glow filter




Temperature filter


Glow filter


Vintage filter

*Don’t get me wrong; I do edit most of my photos. I might adjust the brightness, contrast, or saturation. I just don’t apply a pre-fabricated set of filters. 

If you like this post you might also like Track The Success Of Your Instagram Content Strategy

Update: People kindly answered also on Facebook and Google+. My Facebook profile isn’t public, however, I was told there “the more drama, the more likely I’ll like a photo”. And here you can have a look at what’s been said on my Google+ profile as well. Many thanks to everyone who joined the discussion!