Understanding Instagram Follower Trackers In 2020

A guide to Instagram follower trackers
2nd July 202012 min read

Follower trackers for Instagram have had a bit of a bad reputation over the last few years, and this has really been the fault of some very underhanded tools and bad advice from people looking to grow their accents in ways that we wouldn’t recommend.

Thankfully, many of the terrible apps have either stopped working (thank you API update), or they have become a lot less popular as Instagram moves towards becoming a much more serious social network used by brands and influencers alike as a valuable asset to their marketing efforts.

What Is an Instagram Follower Tracker?

Instagram follower trackers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but the main aim of all apps and services is to provide you with an easy way to keep tabs on your Instagram follower count, see who unfollowed you, view accounts that you follow who don’t follow you back and get an overview of how this changes over time.

The native Instagram Insights on the app is packed with great information about your followers. Still, it does lack the ability to really see in detail more information about who does and doesn’t follow you, and who you do or do not follow. This is why many companies and services have come up with methods to get this information and display it in a way that makes it useful to the end-user.

Why is it important to know who unfollowed me on Instagram?

You may be asking ‘why is it important to know who unfollowed me on Instagram?’ and there are many reasons this could be an essential metric to follow. For businesses selling products or services, it’s essential to keep tabs on how your posts are landing. There are many ways to do this, you can track the rise and fall in likes and comments number, go int more details to see whether the comments are positive or negative, and to see if you’re losing followers, each of these will have an effect on your sales and keeping an eye on them will mean you have a better idea of how your content is performing.

For influencers and brands, the reasons why you should care if someone unfollowed you are much the same. It’s not that you should be too worried if one person unfollows you, people do that all the time, but if you suddenly lose a thousand followers in a week, it might be worth investigating just what kind of content you put out that week and why it landed so badly with your audience? Are you staying current or relevant to your audience right now? If not, how can you change that, and should you change that?

There can be innumerable reasons for losing followers on Instagram, it might be due to a bit of an update on Instagram’s side, clearing out old dead accounts, or compromised accounts, updates to Instagram’s API may mean that bot accounts suddenly don’t work, losing you thousands of followers overnight, or it might simply be that someone decided to unfollow your accounts because it was no longer relevant to them.

Losing followers is not always a bad thing, you’d always rather have active and engaged followers rather than fake followers or followers that never engage, and if you are being authentic to yourself, your core values and your business, then losing followers that aren’t interested in that is excellent.

Sometimes brands chose to put out posts in support of broader issues like the recent black lives matter social media blackout. Many users who either don’t agree with the statement for various reasons or, more than likely, have got fed up with seeing it plastered all over their unrelated feeds, may choose to unfollow your account because they are frustrated. That’s fine, you won’t be able to please everyone, but the lesson here is to ask yourself if it’s worth losing followers just to jump on the bandwagon. Only you can answer that question, and it’s not even an easy question to answer. Sometimes it’s part of your brand’s core values to speak up about something that may upset a proportion of your followers, other times it really isn’t, and you and your marketing team need to decide if it is or it isn’t on a case by case basis.

How Do Instagram Follower Trackers Work? 

Just as the anime implies, Instagram follow tracker apps and services work by keeping tabs on your followers. Each service works in a slightly different way, but most have the same core features. These are:

  • Follower analytics - Age, gender, location, etc. Demographics are an excellent way to segment your audience
  • Users who have unfollowed you - Good for tracking how well your content is being received
  • Ghost followers - Inactive accounts (sometimes known as ‘lurkers’) they may or may not be looking at your posts (there is sadly no way to really tell) but they aren’t interacting in any way via likes, comments, shares, etc.
  • Unfollowers whom you follow - These are users that you follow with your accounts, but they may not follow you back. 
  • Mutual followers - Accounts that are followed by yourself and other accounts that you follow
  • New followers - Great for seeing how many followers you gain after specific posts and how your account is doing overall
  • Related Accounts - Good for discovering new accounts to follow

The popularity of these follower services has really boomed in the last few years, mainly because it’s very hard to use the Instagram app to see who unfollows you or who has recently followed you. Using an app or service to track Instagram followers really will be an invaluable addition to your marketing efforts, and it’s something that we actually encourage people to do.

Are Instagram Follower Apps Safe?

It is, however, essential to mention here that not all follow trackers for Instagram are created equal, and some are very dodgy indeed, even bordering on dangerous.

The reason for this has to do with API access. 

Instagram’s API is not open to everyone; it is provided to authorised third party services to create products as long as they follow specific rules. These rules normally include strict guidelines around the privacy of account details such as usernames, emails, and passwords.

Many Instagram follower apps, especially ghost follower apps, do not manage your private data thoroughly or adequately, and are, as such, not authorised by Instagram to use their API.

It’s actually straightforward to create an Instagram follower manager app if you have a decent level of coding knowledge. Still, it’s much harder to make that application safe for other users. You may be perfectly fine to run the service from your own PC or laptop with a stored password, but this doesn’t conform to Instagram’s own rules on how passwords should be stored and, because you won’t have authorisation from Instagram to use their API, you’ll be breaking Instagram’s terms of service and will risk getting your account banned.

Most Instagram bots and services look something like this behind the scenes:


As you can see, the account details must be typed in, meaning the code would look like this:

insta_username = ‘MyUsername’
Insta_password = ‘MyPassword123’

Official apps and services will encrypt this information so that it can never be shared or viewed by anyone. Even if their systems are compromised, encrypted username and password data are usually safe from being exposed. Usually, not always.

With apps and services that are not official, these checks are not performed, and it’s all too easy for them to be lax with their security. While you may think ‘ok sharing my Instagram password is not great, but it won’t be a complete disaster if someone gets in, I’ll just change my password’ there’s a worrying statistic that around 80% of the Internet’s users use the same password (and sometimes the same username) across multiple accounts meaning that if hackers get access to one username and password, there’s a chance they could get access to other accounts. 

Do you use the same password for Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, your online banking? If so, your whole online life could be at risk. Now you see why this is such a bad idea! If you’re one of those people (and we would really strongly recommend NOT being one of those people), one compromised account could lead to all of your accounts being compromised. There are two ways to avoid this: use a separate username, password, and email address for Instagram, or don’t use these unauthorised apps and services.

We know it can be tempting, and to be honest, some of these services are actually really good and really secure, but spotting them can be tricky.

How to spot an unauthorised Instagram Follower app

If you are serious about tracking your Instagram followers, but you don’t want to risk your account credentials, there are two good ways to check to see if the app or service you’re using is official or not; by checking Instagram’s authorised list, or by seeing if changing your password breaks the access.

To check to see if the app you’re using is on the official list, follow this simple process:

Step 1:

Go to your Instagram account and select the 'Settings' option.

How to spot an unauthorised Instagram Follower app - Step 1

Step 2:

Then select the ‘Security’ option.

How to spot an unauthorised Instagram Follower app - Step 2

Step 3:

Then select the ‘Apps and websites’ option.

How to spot an unauthorised Instagram Follower app - Step 3

Step 4:

Here you can view 'Active and expired' apps.

How to spot an unauthorised Instagram Follower app - Step 4

Check to see if the app you are using is on the list. From here, you can also see some expired apps that you may have been using recently before an API update.

On this screen, you will see the names of official apps you have connected to your accounts and a brief description of their service, as well as the date that you allowed access to the service. You’ll also be able to revoke access to your account directly from the app.

It’s important to note here: this screen is only for third-party apps that are authorised. This means, if your app or services do not show up, it’s not an authorised Instagram app or service. 

As an amusing side note, Facebook’s Creator Studio does not show up here. You may be using Facebook Creator Studio for scheduling and other management, but it won’t show up in the authorised app list. This is because Instagram is owned by Facebook, so you are not giving Facebook Creator Studio access, you are merely using a service in their ecosystem. It’s confusing, but it does make sense if you think about it.

You can also use the Login Activity screen to see where you have recently logged into your Instagram account and from which device:

Check your Instagram login activity

This screen will show you the GPS location of your logins and let you know which devices were used (i.e. Windows PC, iOS, which smartphone brand, etc.). This is an excellent screen for checking any login attempts you aren’t sure of.

Many of the unauthorised apps and services use a proxy to log into your account as if it was you to gain access to your data and follower details. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be using your login details for bad reasons. Still, it’s certainly not the best way to have access to your account, and it’s not really recommended by security experts.

If on this login screen you don’t recognise some of the login times and places, it could mean that either your app or service is using proxies to log in, or that your account has been compromised. If you were expecting proxies, then it’s up to you whether or not you take any action. Still, if you weren’t expecting proxy logins, we’d suggest changing your Instagram password (and any other accounts that use the same password) straight away.

As an added aside: If you are using a VPN service (Virtual Private Network), then you may not recognise some of the logins. VPNs work by bouncing your location details, and you may end up appearing as if you were somewhere else in the world. 

Many of these services will tell you and allow you to be in control of it, so you may decide that you wish to appear as if you’re in the USA instead of the UK for various reasons, if this is the case then your login activity on Instagram is likely to display the location you’ve set your VPN to. This is a crucial thing to bear in mind!

A quick way to see if your chosen app or service is unauthorised is to change your Instagram password. If the app loses access, then the app is storing your password rather than using an official login token from Instagram.

Should I Use Unauthorised Apps or Services?

Here’s the thing: many official apps and services do not offer the same level of follower analysis that many of the unofficial apps and services do. 

There are so many reasons for this, but mostly it comes down to Instagrams Terms of Service. Official partner services don’t want to be seen to encourage behaviour that breaks the Terms of Service, such as mass following, mass unfollowing, and dodgy follow/unfollow tactics like that, but that does mean that once you get over a certain number of followers, it can be tough to manage your Instagram followers.

Ghost follower apps or Instagram follower managers, or other Instagram tracker apps can be so useful to manage users on a mass scale, as well as for discovering other users that are similar to your audience. They can be really good for clearing out inactive accounts, as well as ensuring that you don’t accidentally unfollow accounts you really care about.

Being unauthorised doesn’t necessarily mean apps and services are bad or dangerous, but it’s tough to tell whether or not they are easily compromised. Storing your password may be the only way they can provide you with the service you want, but if it isn’t encrypted, and if their server security isn’t very good, one hack could see your details posted on the Dark Web for all to use.

The bottom line: 

If you want to use an unauthorised app, proceed with caution. 
Use a separate password. Read reviews. If in doubt, don’t use the service.

Our Top Instagram Follower Trackers

Name: Hootsuite

What it does:

Hootsuite has made it onto many of our great Instagram tools blogs, and that’s because it is such a great all-rounder when it comes to social media management.  

Hootsuite can provide some information and activity for your Instagram followers. You can tell who has followed and unfollowed and create lists of either so you can decide later how to manage them.

What it’s good for:

Hootsuite is excellent as an overall social media tool, and if that’s what you’re after, then it’s a great choice.

It doesn’t, however, provide a fantastic array of follower insights or tools. The analytics service is good for finding out about your followers, but not so good for actually doing anything with that information.

Authorised App?

Yes, Hootsuite is an authorised app and is safe to use


Prices for Hootsuite start at $19 per month for the full suite, but this doesn’t include particularly good analytics.

Name: Squarelovin

What it does:

Squarelovin is another popular choice on our blogs, it’s a service that has Instagram and Instagram engagement as its main focus.

The design of Squarelovin makes it easy to use and great for every level of social media management

What it’s good for:

Just like Hootsuite, Squarelovin does provide some follower details. These are more focussed on giving good demographics and analytics and helping you to find new people to follow and interact with.

The follower tracking is limited to just displaying information though, so you will be unable to perform actions such as following and unfollowing accounts.

Authorised App?

Yes, Squarelovin is an official app.


Squarelovin has an impressive free offering and users will need to contact them for a price on their premium service.

Name: Ghost Unfollowers for Instagram

What it does:

Ghost Unfollowers for Instagram is a service targeted towards getting rid of ghost followers, fake accounts that are usually bot accounts who follow your account but do not do any interactions at all.

What it’s good for:

Great for getting a list of accounts that may be fake accounts and mass-unfollowing. Ghost Unfollowers sets the limit at 60 unfollows per hour to stay within Instagram’s rules.

This is not a hard and fast rule from Instagram, and it will very much depend on the age and activity of your account as to whether Instagram will flag unfollowing more than 60 accounts per hour as suspicious, Ghost Unfollowers keeps it at 60 to ensure you stay on the safe side.

Authorised App?

No, this is not an authorised app.


The app is free and available for both iOS and Android, but it has a LOT of ads.

Name: Crowdfire

What it does:

Crowdfire specialises in content curation and gives you some really great in-depth analysis of your Instagram followers.

The main aim of Crowdfire is to expand your account activity by suggesting photos you may wish to interact with given your recent activity. They also offer post scheduling as part of the service.

What it’s good for:

Crowdfire is all about the followers, and the information they give you is actually excellent and very useful. As an added bonus, you can connect many different social networks to it, including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Even Pinterest is supported on this platform!

While Crowdfire does do analysis very well, to fulfil its aim to “help you grow your followers” it does require you to take on a lot of manual interactions. There is no way for you to automate follower tracking or following/unfollowing of users. Crowdfire provides the service, and it’s up to you do work with it.

Authorised App?

Yes, this is a legitimate and authorised app


There are limitations to the free account provided by Crowdfire, but the paid services start from around $8 per month and up.

Name: IG Analyzer

What it does:

IG Analyzer’s sole mission is to be as helpful as possible when it comes to your Instagram followers. You can find users to follow, curate lists of those who don’t follow you or have unfollowed you and take direct action to grow (or shrink!) your followers.

What it’s good for:

IG Analyzer is good for social media managers who need a quick way to manage their Instagram followers on the go. 

You’ll be able to keep track of your followers in an easy to use way, see who they follow, see which followers unfollowed you and decided how to handle it.

As an added bonus with this one, you’ll be able to see which followed deleted their likes or comments on your posts, a service we haven’t seen many apps be able to provide.

Authorised App?

No, this is an unauthorised app


The free account is very limited, but there is a 7-day free trial and starts at just $7.99 per month.

Name: Unfollowers & Ghost Followers – Follower Insight

What it does:

Unfollowers & Ghost Followers – Follower Insight is a really popular app available on Android. It has an average star rating of 4.5 out of 5 and many millions of downloads.

The service can list your followers and categorise them into unfollowers, ghost followers, mutual followers and those who have recently unfollowed you. 

What it’s good for:

This is an excellent service for overall follower management. While it doesn’t give you particularly useful analytics, it does allow you to take actions on your followers which includes whitelisting those you never want to unfollow, blacklisting those you never want to follow and choosing to follow or unfollow other accounts.

An added bonus for some is the ability to be featured and have a ‘global shout-out’. We’re not really convinced that this is a great way to naturally boost your account, but it might be something you want to try.

Authorised App?

No, this is an unauthorised app


This is a free app, but there are a lot of ads. You can pay to remove the ads.

Name: Followers & Unfollowers Analytics for Instagram (WowMaking)

What it does:

One of the best apps we’ve seen for taking actions on your followers.

With Followers & Unfollowers Analytics for Instagram, you can easily follow and unfollow other Instagram users as well as see Instagram follower analytics, your own post analytics, and find out the validity of your audience (whether or not they are bots!).

What it’s good for:

A really excellent all-round service if you want to gain some insights into not just your followers but your entire Instagram account.

Social media managers can see the popularity of their recent posts, get an insight into how their audience feels about the, whether or not their audience is real and of course, take action on the audience.

This app really is good for following and unfollowing accounts and makes it really easy to do.

Authorised App?

No, this is an unauthorised app.


The app is free and supported by (a lot of) ads, but there are in-app purchases to unlock the more advanced features of the service.

Name: Followers Insights for Instagram (MonoMosaic)

What it does:

Another great app for checking your followers. It’s really popular on both Android and iOS with an average 4.5-star rating on both platforms. 

With Followers Insights for Instagram, you can take decisive action to ensure you’re following (and unfollowing) the right people.

With support for multiple accounts, this could be an excellent service for social media managers who run more than just one account and does a great job at keeping all the info separate.

What it’s good for:

This service is really great for learning about your followers and then deciding what action to take.

You’re able to find out who has recently unfollowed you (and who has recently blocked you!), as well as who has recently followed you and where they came from. The service also shows you some information on your most active and engaged followers as well as giving you insights into accounts whom you follow that have been flagged as spy accounts, spammers, or ghost accounts.

Authorised App?

No, this is an unauthorised app.


There are a LOT of ads on this app which can make it really unusable, to be honest, but the main part of the app is free. There are, like many others, in-app purchases to improve your experience and unlock better features.

Name: Follower Plus

What it does:

This is one of the most in-depth trackers we found on the market, with a really pleasing user interface too!

Follower Plus does everything you’d expect of a good Instagram follower app, including checking who has followed and unfollowed, listing out the accounts you follow who don’t follow you back, and those accounts that you don’t follow back. 

One of the biggest bonuses we found is that Follower Plus actually lists who blocked you too! Interesting info for some!

What it’s good for:

As well as giving you a really great insight into your followers and how they are interacting with your account, Follower Plus also gives some analytics on post performance and engagement. This means you can effectively use this tool to do a deeper level of analysis to see which of your posts and post types were more popular with your audience.

Authorised App?

No, this is an unauthorised app.


Free with a sign-up option that allows you access to more info.

Name: Iconosquare

What it does:

Iconosquare is an official partner of Facebook; it provides business-level analytics across Facebook and Instagram, and can really dive deep into your content, looking at what performed well and what didn’t.

Iconosquare does provide some follower demographics and a follower growth chart.

What it’s good for:

Ionosquare is good for business accounts. If you need an analytics tool that can provide some follower insights and it needs to be official, this one is a good one to go for.

Like many official tools, however, Iconosquare doesn’t provide you with the most in-depth follower insights you can get from unauthorised tools.

Authorised App?

Yes, Iconosquare are an official partner of Facebook (who own Instagram)


This tool is a bit pricey, plans start from around $29/per month, but it is quite flexible and provides useful analytics.

Name: Followers Chief

What it does:

Followers Chief is an Android-only third-party app that can act like an Instagram bot as well as provide feedback about your followers. 

You’ll find information such as who followed you, who unfollowed you, who you don’t follow, etc. You’ll also be able to set up Instagram automation, including auto liking, commenting, following, unfollowing, etc.

What it’s good for:

If you’re looking for an easy to use bot with a good user interface that can give you all of the information you need about your followers, Follower Chief is probably going to do it for you.

Just remember, just because it’s available doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to use it. Bots are not allowed on Instagram, and using one may get your account banned.

Authorised App?

No, this is not an authorised app and has been linked to some privacy issues. Furthermore, Followers Chief is not available on the official Google Play Store; you’ll need to install this as third-party software, which means you’ll lack any protection and security sweeps from Google Play.


This tool is actually free.

Name: Cleaner for Instagram, Unfollow, Block and Delete

What it does:

Cleaner for Instagram is such a great tool! It does literally what it says on the tin: it allows you to unfollow users in mass, block users and delete posts, likes, and so on.

It’s a really comprehensive tool and really useful for giving your account that good spring clean.

What it’s good for:

This is great for doing exactly what it says, giving your account a good clean. Tools like this are really useful to use once a month or so to give your account a good going over! Please note, there are limits that are placed on mass actions by the app. There’s a discrepancy between the limits being set or not in the pro version, but in general, limits are there to stop your accounts form getting banned.

Authorised App?

No, this tool is not an authorised tool, and there have been some complaints that the pro version doesn’t really give you anything extra over the free version.


Free with the option of buying the pro version.

Name: UnFollowers for Instagram +

What it does:

UnFollowers for Instagram + is an iOS-only app. Like many others, UnFollowers for Instagram + allows you to track new unfollowers and new followers, track those accounts that are not following you back, and track followers that your account doesn’t follow back.

It’s worth noting here that UnFollowers for Instagram + doesn’t let you do mass unfollowing, rather it takes you to the Instagram app. This is actually quite good as it will limit the number of accounts you can unfollow at once, keeping you within Instagram’s limits.

What it’s good for:

UnFollowers for Instagram + provides a lot of insight and analytics for your account. This includes who followed you, who unfollowed you, which profiles liked and commented most on your content, and it can also manage multiple Instagram accounts.

Authorised App?

No, this is not authorised or affiliated by Instagram. There have been some reports of people being shadow banned or having their accounts suspended due to using this app.


Free with the option of buying the pro version.

Why Track Followers on Instagram?

So, why should you track your Instagram followers, and what can your followers tell you about your brand or business and how well you are performing?

Tracking your followers, is a vital part of ensuring you are on the right track, and making sure your content is landing at the right time to the right audience for the right outcomes, and performance comes in many different ways.

Business Accounts Selling Products or services

Tracking followers on your business account is vital. Knowing your audience and who you are targeting means you will be able to ensure that your products are being showcased to those followers who are more likely to actually buy them, or at least to becomes advocates for others to buy them; not to lots of followers who just like looking at photos of your products.

We’ve mentioned before our idea of ‘audience value’ and if you are in the business of selling products, using Instagram in your marketing plan, then knowing your audience value becomes even more critical.

Tracking your audience adequately will mean you can begin to benchmark and segment your audience along the lines of the marketing funnel idea that we discussed in our Facebook analytics blog, splitting your audience into potential customers or clients, current customers or clients and previous customers and clients allows you to target content towards these segments and more your return on investment while hopefully turning your past customers or clients into advocates, effectively improving word-of-mouth advertising.

Influencer Accounts and sponsorship

If your account is not an account for a business selling products or services, you may be looking to monetise by getting involved in sponsorships and influencer marketing.

This style of marketing requires account managers to know their audience exceptionally well, arguably even more than accounts for businesses selling products or services. For accounts looking to capitalise on sponsorship deals, or for-those whose accounts are a representation of their brand or personality (YouTuber accounts for example), understanding your audience’s likes, dislikes and what kind of paid sponsorship deals they won’t like will be invaluable.

For example, if you run an account about healthy lifestyles, regularly posting about vegan food, fresh shakes, etc. and then suddenly do a sponsorship deal with a company pushing non-vegan unhealthy foods like burgers, your audience will not be best pleased, and you’ll be seen as a fake. This kind of bad sponsorship and influencer marketing has lost many influencers their follow base practically overnight, and it’s really not something that we would recommend!

Brand and personality accounts have a more delicate path to walk than bricks and mortar or product-selling businesses because their audiences are what keeps their accounts valuable. Still, there is almost an unwritten role that personalities and brands can never let their fans know just how valuable they are.

Nobody likes to feel like they’ve been used, and accounts that treat their fans like pure income generators will rapidly lose their fans and audience, thus losing their audience’s value and income.

Targeted Advertising

If your business or band is looking to move into the paid advertising field, knowing your audience and the audience you want to reach is also vital.

Many people find targeted adverts on social media don’t bring in the return they were hoping for, but when this is investigated it is almost always the fault of a bad understanding of audience segments, and how to target adverts to get the best return.

When considering targeted adverts, it’s essential to consider the type of audience you’d like to attract, and it helps if you can really begin to drill down and be specific. Think about this technique like building marketing personas but being even more specific than you usually would.

For example, you may be running a pet training business, targeting the audience that follows you may be a good idea, but a better plan would be to target a specific audience segment depending on the plan you have for your advert; sometimes your most valuable audience is your audience’s Friends. 

You may start off targeting “dog owners within 200 miles of Guildford”. This is likely to generate some interest, but it’s not really going to generate that much interest because it’s so broad. Instagram will be able to show your advert to thousands, sure, but the return on this won’t be as good. A better plan would be to look at your previous customers (or your competition if you are new) and build up a list of characteristics. That list may look something like this:

  • Women or young couples
  • Aged 25-45
  • Living within a 20-mile radius of your location
  • Interested in dog training
  • Interested in puppies
  • Has a popular puppy breed (pub, French bulldog, chihuahua, Labrador, etc.)
  • Interested in TV shows such as The Supervet and Paul O Grady’s For the Love of Dogs

This set of targets means you’re actively targeting people who are more likely to be interested in your advert. You may wish, in this example, to extend it to include dog sitters, dog walkers and dog groomers, any of the connected services that may recommend your advert to others.

There are hundreds if not thousands of options for targeting adverts. Some work better than others, and some work only in certain countries (for example, income level is US-based only), but for many industries, there are some really detailed advert options. Even options such as “Close friends of men with a birthday in 7-30 days”, options like that for targeting mean you can really focus your efforts!

The Problem With Using Unauthorised Apps

By now, we’re guessing you have a nice list of apps that you’re going to check out to really begin to understand your followers and what makes them tick, but you may have also noticed that the apps with the ‘best’ features are generally unauthorised by Instagram.

But, why is this?

There are many different reasons that apps won’t be authorised, and it’s not always a bad thing that they’re not authorised. However, while not all unauthorised apps are selling your data and putting your account at risk, remember, some most definitely are!

We mentioned above the issues surrounding security and unauthorised apps, but now we need to talk about user experience vs. user design. In other words, how you want to use the app vs. how Instagram wants you to use the app.

Since Instagram’s inception, the toxic practice of follow/unfollow was hated by pretty much every user, but on the flip side, Instagram, as well as other brands, seemed to really reward people with a high following. 

One way to grow your following would be to mass-follow thousands of accounts and then unfollow them almost immediately because it’s very difficult to see who unfollowed you on Instagram. This proved to be a method popular by many even though it reeks of inauthenticity.

Interaction Limits on Instagram

Over the years, Instagram has really cracked down on this practice and, although they don’t say officially, there are limits on how many accounts you can follow, unfollow, like, or leave a comment on. There is no official number on the limit, but logic would suggest that it’s somewhere that is reasonable for an actual human being.

If your account is performing 1500 actions (likes, follows, unfollows, and comments) per hour, it’s very, very unlikely that this would be being performed by a real person, and so Instagram’s algorithm will pick this up as potential fraud. 

This is exactly the reason that Instagram removed the option to track unfollowers and ghost followers from its official API. All ‘official’ apps such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Iconosquare, etc., will be using the official API for Instagram and, as such, won’t have access to these features. Unauthorised services and apps aren’t as concerned with what Instagram wants its users to do; they simply provide a service for what the users want to do.

There are no official limits, but conservative estimates suggest a maximum mix of:

  • 100 unfollows per hour
  • 150 likes per hour
  • 50 comments per hour
  • 150 follows per hour

Remember, these are not YOUR limits; they are just an estimate. The age and standing of your account will make a huge difference. If you have a brand new account and you’re suddenly trying to do 2000 interactions every minute, you’ll get booted off very quickly. If you have an older account and you slowly increase your interactions from 50 an hour up to 150 an hour, there is a chance that you’re less likely to be flagged as spam.

How does Instagram’s lack of follower analytics affect businesses?

As a business or brand, it’s strongly recommended that you gain a greater insight into your followers, what they like, what they don’t like, and what makes them follow or unfollow your account. Unfortunately, due to the way Instagram is set up, getting that information in an official way is not as easy as we believe it should be. 

Many social media managers are frustrated that Instagram doesn’t provide deep enough follower analytics for them, and many feel that the only option they have is to use unauthorised apps and services to get the information. It’s a lose/lose situation for many as the analytics can play a vital part in their social marketing strategy. Still, by using unauthorised apps and services, they do risk the privacy and the data of the account. 

For many big brands, the privacy risk is far too great, but for many smaller brands and businesses, they may be more willing to take the risk. 

So, should you use an unauthorised Instagram app to do mass actions on your account? 

There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s not a straight yes or no answer. We’d suggest doing your research, make sure you use the safest app (with the best reviews) and limit your actions to those which a real human could manage. This might mean leaving it 20-30 seconds between each unfollow, only liking 20 posts an hour, and not doing the dreaded spammy follow/unfollow technique on Instagram.

Bottom line: the best way to grow your Instagram account is by producing good content and being authentic with your followers. This does, however, take a lot longer than automating it.

In Summary

We hope that by now, you have a greater insight into how tracking your followers can be a real bonus when it comes to building your special media presence online. 

Tracking your followers, along with the rest of your Instagram analytics, is a vital part of any marketing strategy, allowing you to build up a really decent view of who is interacting with your accounts, why they’re interacting, and which other accounts do they interact with.

Savvy social media managers will use this information not only to keep their own accounts in good standing but also to see how their followers feel about their competition and avoid making the same mistakes as the competition!

Audience insights on the Instagram app can provide a lot of rich data on where your users are coming from, their demographics, and the actions they are taking. Still, we recognise that the data provided isn’t always the data you really need.

There are many apps and services available to help you with this task, and we know that we have only scratched the surface when it comes to the many hundreds, if not thousands, that are out there. 

The difficulty with articles like this is mentioning the apps and services that are not authorised by Instagram. It’s easy for us to say don’t use them (and for the services that have very poor ratings and a lax attitude to security, we really would err on the side of caution). Still, when it comes to actually manage your account, it can seem like the ‘official’ services just don’t provide the tools you need.

On that note, we’d like to say: keep your mind open, look at reviews, and take security seriously. For the most part, most unauthorised services are safe enough to use, but we’d never want to be seen to be recommending something that isn’t. 

Always use a separate password, read reviews, and always act within the Terms and Services of Instagram’s platform. If in doubt, don’t use the service.

Share this story

Latest news & blogs

Check out the latest social media and digital marketing news – including advice, tips, and guides for all business social media users.