How to Analyze Competitors on Instagram? Free & Advanced Methods

Instagram is an overcrowded digital channel where your competitors are always trying to outperform you. So, there’s no

A competitor analysis on Instagram compares your brand to your key competitors to identify where you succeed and where there’s room for improvement.

Instagram is an overcrowded digital channel where your competitors are always trying to outperform you. So, there’s no better way to understand how your brand stacks up against them unless you examine their performance.

By looking at various factors like the type of content your competitors share, their volume of Instagram mentions, and their engagement rates, you gain valuable insights into what’s working for them and what you can improve upon for your own brand.

You can use this helpful information to refine your Instagram strategy and achieve your social media marketing goals.

In this article, you’ll learn how to analyze your Instagram competitors both manually and with an advanced method.

Why Do You Need an Instagram Competitor Analysis?

First things first, let’s explain why you have to perform an Instagram competitive analysis once in a while.

To understand your audience better

The foundation of any successful Instagram marketing strategy is a deep understanding of your target audience.

But it can be challenging to pinpoint exactly who you should be talking to. This is where competitor analysis comes to the rescue.

Analyzing competitors’ audiences gives you a better understanding of their interests, demographics, and preferences.

You can take a look at the comments on their posts, their followers, and the hashtags they use.

This information will help get to know your audience better. This in turn allows you to craft Instagram posts that speak directly to your target audience.

This is what you need to build an engaged brand community.

To benchmark your performance and set realistic goals

You may have lots of followers and a high engagement rate but what if your competitor posts are doing better?

Competitor analysis serves as a benchmark, allowing you to compare your brand’s KPIs against your rivals to see what’s considered “good” performance within your niche.

For example, if you have 2K followers but your competitors have more than 10K that means you’re falling behind. In contrast, if you have 5K followers but your rivals have less, then good job!

So, analyze their follower growth rate, engagement, and branded hashtags to set achievable goals for your Instagram strategy.

To identify content gaps and opportunities

While competitor analysis helps understand what’s working for others, it also shows content gaps.

For instance, if your competitors are neglecting a specific hot topic in your niche, that’s an opportunity for your Instagram content strategy to differentiate.

Also, do they avoid posting reels? Then, this is your chance to stand out! Start investing more in short videos.

By identifying these content gaps, you can create fresh, engaging content that addresses a specific need of your target audience.

To learn from their success and mistakes

Analyzing competitors on Instagram isn’t only for identifying their misses. It’s for learning from their triumphs too!

So, examine their top-performing posts and find the strategies behind them. What is making their posts gather so much attention and interaction from the audience?

By understanding what resonates with your shared audience, you can adapt these winning tactics to your own brand.

On the other hand, it can also expose their missteps. Look for content that generated low engagement or even negative comments. What went wrong?

Learning from their mistakes will help avoid the same pitfalls and refine your own strategy to get consistent results.

Now, let’s get down to business. In the next section, you’ll find out how to analyze your Instagram competitors the manual way.

How to Manually Analyze Instagram Competitors? (Free)

Here is a simple way to analyze Instagram competitors for free without using any tools.

Step #1: Find your competitors on Instagram

To find your competitors on Instagram you have to use a combination of the following methods:

Industry research

If you have no clue which brands are competing in your league, take some time to find relevant industry reports, articles, and award winners via Google search.

That way you can discover leading brands who are likely active on Instagram too.

Instagram search

Instagram’s search bar is a handy tool for identifying your competitors’ Instagram accounts.

First, select relevant keywords.

For example, let’s say you’re working for a vegan food brand. The phrases that describe your brand and niche could be “plant-based food,” “vegan meals,” or “alternative protein”.

After that, enter your chosen keywords — one at a time — in the search bar and tap the “Accounts” tab at the top. This will display a list of Instagram accounts that have those keywords in their usernames, bios, or even post captions.

How to find competitor using Instagram search

Now comes the crucial part: analyzing these accounts.

Look for brands offering similar products or services, catering to the same target audience, and potentially even featuring content that overlaps with yours.

By carefully reviewing their profiles and content, you can identify your key competitors on the platform.

Hashtag search

Hashtags are another gateway to find competitors.

With the same keywords used to find accounts, you can also tap the “Tags” section and search for Instagram trending hashtags in your niche. Tap each one in the results and explore the top posts and accounts.

searching for competitor hashtags on Instagram

These accounts are likely competitive brands to keep an eye on.

Now that you know how to find your competitors on Instagram, let’s move on.

Step 2: Define your KPIs

To understand how you stack up against your competition you have to establish which metrics you’ll compare your brand to your competitors.

We suggest you use the following to get a holistic view.

Followers count & growth

Your follower count is an important Instagram analytics metric to compare your brand’s reach with your competitors’.

As for the follower growth rate, this KPI shows if your brand’s Instagram audience is growing faster than your competition.

Bonus: 5 Confirmed Ways to Get More Instagram Followers

Engagement & top posts

The engagement shows how well your content is resonating with the target audience.

Especially your top-performing posts can show why certain content types work best for your brand.

Branded Hashtags

Comparing your branded hashtags’ performance to your competition helps understand if your UGC campaigns generate more buzz than theirs.

Publishing schedule

Also, the number of posts you create per month is another important factor that can lead to better or worse performance compared to your competitors.

For instance, if you’re posting once per month but your Instagram competitors are posting daily, chances are your engagement and follower metrics will be lower because your account is not that active after all.

Step #3: Collect data on your competitors

Now, visit your Instagram competitor profiles and analyze their key metrics and the types of content they share.

Additionally, go a step further and analyze their captions and hashtags to understand their brand voice and the main topics they focus on.

However, we shall admit that manually tracking competitor data can be time-consuming and lacks the precision of advanced analytics tools. Not to mention that it’s too difficult to track historical data or analyze large volumes of information effectively.

Step #4: Analyze data & set up a report

As a final step, organize all this data in a spreadsheet.

For drawing better conclusions you should visualize the data with charts and graphs for easier comparisons.

Try to identify patterns and trends in their strategies. Analyze their strengths (e.g. high engagement) and weaknesses (e.g. lack of video content) compared to your own performance.

That’s it. Now you have your Instagram competitors report ready.

Nonetheless, if it feels like too much manual work, why don’t you try a competitor analysis tool to automate the process?

Keep reading to find out how to use it.

How to Perform an Advanced Instagram Competitor Analysis?

Instagram competitive analysis tools eliminate the manual work. They track vast amounts of social media data, automatically calculate advanced key metrics, and offer historical insights as well.

So, let’s dive into this advanced method using Mentionlytics as our competitor analysis tool.

Step #1: Add competitors to your Instagram competitor analysis tool

To begin with, add all your competitors’ brand names and accounts to your tool. Then, it’ll start tracking their social media analytics.

How to add keywords for competitor analysis in Mentionlytics

Step #2: Check their Instagram performance

Start checking your competitors’ performance on Instagram using the Mentions feature and select Instagram in the filters. Then, go to the Mention Trackers and choose only Competitors.

How to Choose Instagram and Competitors in Mentionlytics

This is how you can calculate their total mentions, social reach, and engagement, and see the sentiment analysis only for your competitors’ Instagram activity.

Also, examine all their Instagram posts gathered in one place by scrolling down to the Results section.

This feature saves precious time from visiting all your competitors’ Instagram profiles scrolling through their posts and collecting their metrics into a spreadsheet.

You can use this time to focus on analyzing their content strategies and what users truly like about them.

Step #3: Compare the Share of Voice

No competitor analysis is complete without comparing your Share of Voice against your competition.

With our platform, you have it automatically calculated in no time. Just go to the corresponding feature and ta-da!

Share of Voice in Mentionlytics

The Share of Voice can tell where you stand in your niche, how much publicity your competitors are gaining in contrast with your brand, and who gets more positive or negative publicity.

Greater publicity doesn’t always mean good publicity. Maybe your competitors are going through a PR crisis. And that’s why there’s much negative talk around them on Instagram.

Step #4: Analyze their hashtags & find new content ideas

To continue, analyze the performance of your competitors’ hashtags. We don’t mean just their branded ones but also the industry-related and trending ones to discover new topics to tap into.

In Mentionlytics you can conduct hashtag tracking through the Top Keywords feature. This shows the number of total mentions, reach, engagement, sentiment, and top countries of your competitors’ hashtags.

Top Keywords in Mentionlytics

Furthermore, for a quick overview of their best-performing hashtags, look at the Keyword Cloud.

Keyword Cloud in Mentionlytics

Then, go deeper! Look for industry hashtags they miss.

These are content gaps. Exploit these opportunities to reach a wider audience by incorporating those untapped hashtags into your strategy to differentiate your brand.

Step #5: Discover opportunities with sentiment analysis

Another clever way to identify golden opportunities to make your brand stand out is by digging into the sentiment analysis of your competitors’ mentions. Especially the negative ones.

To find all the negative Instagram mentions of your competitors go to the Mentions feature. Select Competitors in the Mention Trackers box. Then, select Instagram in the Sources and Negative in the Sentiment filters.

Voilà! All their negative mentions in a single dashboard!

Instagram Mentions Feature

Go through negative chatter around your competition. See in which areas they’re not successful and people are complaining.

Use this information to create content showcasing your superiority in these areas.

Step #6: Discover potential audiences with a world map

What’s more, with a competitor analysis tool you can see the geographic distribution of your competitors’ mentions. This is a way to identify new audiences to reach with content as users are already familiar with similar brands.

With our platform, you have a visual representation of all your competitors’ mentions in an interactive world map. Plus, you can see the top countries and languages in which their mentions are written, so consider creating multilingual content for targeting specific regions.

World Map in Mentionlytics

Step #7: Create an Instagram competitive report

The cool thing about competitor analysis tools is that you can have all this intelligence organized in customizable reports, tailored to your needs with a click of a button.

Specifically, in our platform, click on the Reports feature from the left menubar and build your own competitor analysis report in no time. Just remember to set the filters as we said in the previous steps.

The platform automatically puts together an insightful report with all the information you need, from KPIs and hashtags to top posts and the geographic distribution of your competitors’ mentions.

Now Over to You

To wrap it up, now you know how to analyze your competitors on Instagram to benchmark your brand against your rivals and see who prevails in your niche. So, what are you waiting for?

Start your Instagram competitor analysis with Mentionlytics now for free — 14 days, no credit card required.

Go, go, go!


What is the competitor analysis on Instagram?

On Instagram, a competitor analysis is a deep dive into how you’re doing compared to other brands in your niche. It helps see what’s working well for your strategies and in which areas your rivals are doing better.

How do I analyze another Instagram account?

Analyzing another Instagram account involves observing its content types, audience engagement, follower growth, and other KPIs.

What is the best Instagram competitor analysis tool?

There’s no single “best” tool, as each tool offers different features and suits specific needs. Consider factors like budget, desired features, and ease of use when choosing. However, Mentionlytics is a popular choice along with Hootsuite.

Are there any free tools to analyze competitors on Instagram?

Yes, there are several free tools, but most are free for a limited period. For example, with Mentionlytics you can have 14 days of free access to the platform to analyze your Instagram competitors and take advantage of its powerful insights.

Maira Volitaki

About Maira Volitaki

Just a content manager here who loves researching and writing about all things marketing. But when off-duty, you’ll find me lost in a mystery book or binge-watching TV shows... or petting the nearest dog! 🐶 Feel free to drop me a line on LinkedIn.