Iconosquare is a dedicated Instagram analytics tool, but it actually has a wider range of applicability. This article will show you how and why Flipsnack used Iconosquare as their main research tool.
At the beginning of the year, Flipsnack’s marketing team embarked on a 3-month research project, hoping to gain insights into how magazine publishers use Instagram. Janina Moza was a part of the research team and she wanted to share her story with us.
Our aim was to produce an in-depth, actionable report that could help publishers and other brands improve their Instagram strategies. We decided to keep tabs on all Instagram posts published by 15 top magazines including Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated and Esquire. We built a big database, noting down every detail of every post, as well as the audience growth and Stories, on a daily basis, for 90 days. These are some of the aspects that we kept track of: audience growth, engagement, post type, time, date, mentions, hashtags, Stories, emoji usage. As we started out, we were thinking of getting all the data directly from Instagram.
The report was about Instagram, so why use a different tool?
Well, we quickly realized that Instagram alone wasn’t going to work. On day 1 we realized that Instagram didn’t provide us some of the details that we wanted to track. Luckily, we already had an account on Iconosquare. We’d been using it for about 2 years to analyze the growth and engagement for our own account and we’ve been very happy with the results. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Iconosquare was the perfect tool for our research.
Accurate date and time
On Iconosquare you have more details about Instagram posts than you do on Instagram. And just for your own account or posts. You get more information about any post published by any Instagram user. The only condition is that the user has a public profile.
In our case, we needed to know the exact time and date when each post went live. There was no way to get this info from Instagram, because it doesn’t list the exact publishing time. It only shows how much time passed since a post was published.
|Post published:||Instagram displays||Iconosquare displays|
|1 min – 1 hour ago||x minutes ago||DD/MM/YYYY HH:MM:SS|
|1 hour – 24 hours ago||x hours ago||DD/MM/YYYY HH:MM:SS|
|24 hours- 7 days ago||x days ago||DD/MM/YYYY HH:MM:SS|
|7 days ago – Jan 1st, 2017||Month, day||DD/MM/YYYY HH:MM:SS|
|Before 2017||Month, day, year||DD/MM/YYYY HH:MM:SS|
Obviously Instagram’s displayed date and time isn’t good enough when you’re doing research. For us, Iconosquare was more than perfect. It showed us the exact date and time (even the second) when each post was published. If you’re ever in need of a tool that shows the exact time when an Instagram post went live, Iconosquare is the tool for you. It saved us a lot of headaches. Without it there was no way for us to monitor all the posts, especially since we were a little lazier during weekends.
Exact number of followers
A similar thing happens to the number of followers. Instagram displays large numbers using abbreviations: K for thousands and M for millions. Since we wanted to write down daily updates on the audience’s growth, we couldn’t use Instagram for this, because this system doesn’t register small changes in follower growth. What to do? Well, luckily, we discovered that we can “Iconosquare” the exact number of followers!
On every user’s Iconosquare page you have a beautiful header featuring the most engaging recent posts. Just below it there’s an overview: number of posts, followers, and followings. At first, you’ll see number displayed just like on Instagram, but if you simply hover your cursor over these numbers you will see the exact figures.
During our research project, we analyzed over 6000 posts. That’s a huge number! When dealing with huge number of posts, you realize just how perfect Iconosquare is! There’s definitely less scrolling involved when you look back to find the most engaging photo and the most engaging video posted during the last 90 days. It was a lot easier to do so using Iconosquare.
As a side note, the most engaging post of all turned out to be, unsurprisingly, a photo of Selena Gomez, the most followed person on Instagram.
One other thing that we really like is that the overview is quite detailed, so you don’t necessarily have to click on each and every post to see the post type or the number of likes and comments. Everything is displayed right in the user’s feed. Iconosquare turned out to be so effective for us, that we didn’t need to use Instagram to get details about anything other than Stories.