How to Analyze Competitors on Instagram

If you want to improve the quality of your Instagram marketing, you need to analyze your competitors’ accounts – it’s as simple as that. Not only will it provide you with great insights on what and when to post, but also which type of content performs best amongst your target audience. This useful information will help you fine-tune your social media strategy and stay on top of the game. And believe me, it is worth the effort – brands experience 10x higher engagement on Instagram than they do on Facebook.

Why should you analyze your competition on Instagram?

Before we get into the how, let’s first discuss the why. There are quite a few strong reasons as to why you most definitely should monitor your competitors’ Instagram accounts, so let’s break it all down.

It helps you establish your own KPIs

By analyzing your competitors’ Instagram activity, you put things in perspective – you find out how well your content is doing in comparison to similar brands. Benchmarking your business against a successful company of comparable size and resources will help you set your own business goals on Instagram. This process of careful benchmarking is crucial in deciding which key performance indicators you wish to pursue. Say you need to know how many posts a week you should publish – just take a look at how often your competitors publish content on Instagram and draw conclusions.

It gives you ideas for content creation

It’s really difficult to stand out with your content on Instagram to promote your product or service. It seems like everything is already there and every brand has squeezed the platform dry. Well, that’s not entirely true. While the social network is indeed oversaturated, a solid strategy still works there. The key is figuring out what kind of content your target audience holds most valuable.

Sure, you can figure it out on your own, but this may turn into a trial and error nightmare consuming countless of your precious hours. Instead, check what kind of content works best for your competitors. If you notice anything peculiar, don’t copy it – take notes and try to apply similar techniques into your own top-notch Instagram content strategy.

It’s cost-effective

Competitive analysis can be a hard task, which is exactly why it’s often outsourced to external agencies for a lofty price. But you can try and do it yourself. Now, doing it manually could take you days or even weeks. However, there are some magical social media analytics tools that can do all of the dirty work for you – one of them being our very own NapoleonCat.

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Analyzing your competition on Instagram

With competitor analysis tools such as NapoleonCat you can conduct real-time benchmarking within seconds. You can create competitor sets and extract all the data that you need. Furthermore, you can view results for different time periods – days, weeks, months, or even set up completely custom time ranges.

The example below shows a quick summary of the Instagram activity of 4 popular automotive brands. Using comparative sets, you can quickly notice which brands made progress compared to the previous period.

Analyze your comptetitors on Instagram - general summary
We can see BMW and Mercedes holding it down with substantially higher engagement rates.

What content works best?

As I mentioned before, you can explore the realm of content creation all on your own, but that comes with a price. It’s risky and and time-consuming – the trial and error method can go both ways. In order to get an idea of what content you should create and what resonates with your target audience, you can simply take a look at what your competitors are doing.

With NapoleonCat, you can quickly notice which of your competitors’ posts generate the highest engagement and how they are received in general. This overview will also help you establish a general theme for your content and decide on the kind of messages you’d like to communicate in your captions.

Analyze competitors on Instagram - content analysis

Finding best times to post

You should try to maximize your organic reach – but how, exactly, can you do that? Well, one crucial factor here is time. You need to find which days and hours tend to generate the highest reach and engagement from your target audience. And since you and your competitors share the same – or very similar – target groups, you can easily extract this kind of data. 

Analyze competitors on Instagram - post engagement by days of the week

We can observe that Wednesdays seem like pretty good days to post content. However, given that you should post content every day, you can simply save Wednesdays for more important and more valuable posts.

Analyze competitors on Instagram - post engagement by hours

You can also check post engagement broken down by hours to find out at what exact times during the day your audience is the most active.

Pro-tip* Don’t get lost in time-zones. In the table above we’re set to Europe/London. You can easily change it in the general settings of your NapoleonCat account.

How often should you post on Instagram?

How much is too much? Should you post every day, a few times a day, or only from time to time? We can easily see who’s got the highest engagement rates and how often they post. As seen a few visuals above, Mercedes and BMW have substantially higher engagement rates than Honda and Audi. And yes, the first two brands post most often – more than once a day.

Analyze competitors on Instagram - number of posts
Analyze competitors on Instagram - how often should you posts

By clicking on the graph, you can even see exactly how many posts your competitors publish daily. 

Which hashtags should you choose?

Hashtags can boost your organic reach even 20x, or more. Choosing the most relevant hashtags that will actually work and boost your reach can be difficult, which is why NapoleonCat also offers an insight into which hashtags your competitors are using.

Analyze competitors on Instagram - hashtag cloud

We can see that our automotive companies mostly use branded hashtags and those hashtags generate the highest Instagram engagement.

Analyze competitors on Instagram - hashtag analysis

Generate comprehensive reports on your competitors’ Instagram activity

You can call it a bonus, a big bonus. To further improve your social media game, NapoleonCat also allows you to generate comprehensive reports about your competitors’ marketing efforts. The reports include even more in-depth information, are generated within 3 clicks, and take just a few seconds to make. Now imagine doing it all by hand – that would be mission impossible. The video below shows a report for Mercedes Benz’s Instagram (to get a full view, make sure the video is set to 1080p and is playing in full-screen mode).

Competitive analysis on Instagram is of crucial importance when developing your social media marketing strategy. It helps you figure out the wheres, the whats, the whys, and the whens. Conducting such analysis requires a lot of time and effort, but thankfully there are powerful tools that make life easier. Start your FREE TRIAL and see for yourself.

For more Instagram tips, check out our other articles:

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How I used hashtags to grow my organic reach 20x

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