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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Union Metrics Instagram account checkup (asks you to create a Union Metrics account)
- Simply Measured Instagram user report (asks for an email address to send the report to)
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?
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I edited this photo with the updated Snapseed mobile app version (2.0). Their new transform and brush features are pretty neat. Did you give it a try yet? If you haven't read about Google's Snapseed update yet, please visit my blog (link in my IG bio). You can see the original and edited + uncropped version of this image, and find a list of new and erased App features.
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