Instagram nerds (and social media marketers) know and love Iconosquare (formerly Statigram). They offered detailed Instagram analytics for free, including stats on the best times to post and which filters performed the best.
Iconosquare rolled out their new pricing tiers at the end of April that included a free account without analytics, and the next tier up was $199/per month. The comments section has disappeared, but before it was removed, users were vocally unhappy with the pricing change.
I understand Iconosquare needs to monetize. Really, I get it. So I understand their tiers would be marketed towards marketing people (with marketing budgets). The problem is that I’m a casual Instagram user with a love for statistics. Personal power users aren’t shelling out money for a service they’ve gotten for free since Iconosquare was Statigram.
UPDATE 5/1/15: Iconosquare has rolled the pricing changes back:
I thought I had cancelled and removed my account, but I was able to log in again without a hitch. Good or bad, depending on your point of view.
Where can I find free Instagram analytics?
Where else can we find those sweet analytics we crave?
AgoraPulse CEO Emeric Ernault wrote a blog post with five handy alternatives. The problem is that these alternatives also seem better suited to marketers or marketing teams, not individuals. So I did a little work and found
two three viable Iconosquare alternatives for power users (with no marketing budgets).
Websta is a great one that’s been around for awhile. Even though their dashboard is a bit cluttered with advertising, they offered the same stats that Iconosquare does. My personal necessity is the posting optimization, which Websta includes:
Websta offers literally every type of statistic that Iconosquare offered, and they’re free.
Ink361 is another free site that offers a range of stats. They’re colorful and very pretty, much like Iconosquare’s. The only catch is that they don’t have post optimization, which is why I’m not fully onboard.
But I like the look of what they do have, and it’s also pretty cool that you can order prints of your Instagram photos.
My Iconosquare replacement: squarelovin
I found out about squarelovin the morning after I wrote this post, and had to add it. It’s got a clean, beautiful interface. And not only does it have a wide range of stats–including the all-important post optimization–they’re arranged beautifully in fun colors. On top of that, they tell you when not to post!
But make sure you’re aware: any picture can be downloaded from the viewer mode. That means you can download your pictures or other people’s, and they could download yours, too. Don’t be fooled, though: this doesn’t mean your pictures are safer with another Instagram viewer. Just because Iconosquare or Websta doesn’t have a download link doesn’t mean people can’t save the picture or take a screenshot of it.
All three platforms allow you to like and comment on pictures in your feed from the program. There are plenty of similarities among squarelovin, Websta, and Ink361, so I created a matrix to compare an contrast them:
|Yearly stats||Overview||Post history||Filter usage||Likes & comments received||Best times & days to post||Top tags on Instagram||Follower & following analysis|
Update 5/1/15: Iconosquare’s back and so is my Iconosquare account.
Ultimately, I’m not sure which service to stay with. Iconosquare is back, and that’s great. But their statistic updates are slow (mine was last updated April 25), so it seems like they only update when you log in, even if you’re supposed to get email alerts.
And squarelovin is completely overloaded because of the flood of people switching from Iconosquare, so all their servers are overloaded. This means my stats haven’t ever been accurate in the three days that I’ve used the service.
The only statistics that seem accurate are Websta’s. They’ve been around long enough to have enough server capacity and regular updates, which is great. But I sure hate their ad-filled interface.
So we’re really getting what we pay for.
Which brings us back to paying for a service that provides reliable updates. Iconosquare’s mistake was not to start charging for its services. It was to start charging without soliciting the input of its users and fans. Plenty of people tweeted that they’d be happy to pay, but the base price of $199/month was too much.
Do you plan on going back to Iconosquare? How much would you be willing to pay for a reliable Instagram analytics service, as a regular user?