Instagram is more than just taking pictures of what’s for lunch; it’s a great way for brands to connect with their fans and followers. The network has introduced different features over the past couple of years, including direct messages, caption editing, and sponsored posts, but one thing it was, and is still, lacking is a native analytics platform.
So in comes Statigram in May 2011, which rebranded itself as Iconosquare in April 2014.
It allowed you to not only post your pictures and view your feed, but do some behind the scenes digging on your account’s performance and engagement. It also created a video montage of your year’s most-liked pictures. Iconosquare was a godsend for bloggers and brands alike, because all that was free.
Until today, when it appears that they’ve reneged and pulled the rug from under everyone.
Many users logged in today to realize they couldn’t access their Instagram data. It was the equivalent to showing up at your house and seeing your clothes got thrown in the street. No courtesy email, no heads up, no nothing. That’s because the company made a swift change to a freemium model, and their price point is, well, out of control.
In the words of Ronnie Tyler of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com, you can’t get rich off free stuff. It’s just not possible, and we understand that. However, with this new pricing model made me take my glasses off, clean them, and put them back on again.
Bruh. This is their monthly price. They want you to pay (starting at) $199 each month for things you used to get for the free! $199. A MONTH. Not a year. a month. What’s left for us broke folks? Oh, a search engine and “advanced web viewer” which is basically a whole lot of nothing.
What gives, Iconosquare? What’s the line between premium pricing and just plain greedy? How can you possibly think that your audience, which includes bloggers, not just Fortune 500 brands and agencies, can afford this? Hell, for a one time payment of $499, I can hire a developer to make another Instagram analytics platform. Maybe. I’m not sure. Don’t quote me.
Honestly, it sucks because they are the Instagram analytics platform. Ain’t nobody effing with their clique, and they know that. But that leaves so many of us that used their platform out in the cold.
Maura Wall Hernandez, who blogs at The Other Side of the Tortilla, used to recommend Iconosquare to bloggers at conferences.
“What I wish they would offer is a package in between the free and compact plans with just the analytics. Most bloggers don’t need features such as customizable feeds, conversation trackers or hashtag and competitor tracking. If a package with just the analytics was offered at an affordable price for bloggers, they would pay for it. But instead, they exclude the little guy with their price point.”
Methinks that the company got their ego stroked, because you can now see a seemingly endless scroll of big name companies that use the service, like Ikea, Coca Cola, Gap and ‘dem. They went Big Tymers on us like Birdman and Mannie Fresh, and I don’t appreciate it.
In their first week, then-Statigram had 20,000 free users register for the platform. Obviously, this was a clear indication that they were on to something. They were meeting a need in the market. In their blog announcing their changes, the one they posted after folks got the boot and sticker shock, the team tried to justify that they’re still serving 95% of their users who use their “user-friendly webviewer”.
Of course we use it; it’s the first thing you see when you log in! The company stated, “4% of you are hungry for Instagram stats to check out the growth of your community or to improve the way you engage your followers.” Just 4%? I need to see those receipts.
Folks are upset in their comments section too, and all the team has for us who are angry are a bunch of apologies, too little too late. Who has $199 to spend each month on something that doesn’t put food on my table and doesn’t keep a roof over my head? One of the Iconosquare staff responded to an upset comment, stating that “In order to deliver a high quality product and effective customer support, we had to make this hard choice.” HMPH!
We’ll keep our ears to the Internet streets, as we’re sure someone will take on the task of taking that us forgotten 4 percenters who are now without a platform to check our Instagram stats. They could have changed their model and started charging but did they have to price out so many of their customers?
Edit: As of Saturday, May 2nd, Iconosquare realized the error of their ways. After the flood of emails and social media mentions telling them that analytics was used by much more than the 4% they originally though, the company decided to make Instagram analytics part of their free account features again.
In an email to their users, Iconosquare admitted, “We appreciate how much you liked what we have been offering to you and how much you disliked our recent changes. Our team is already at work to build a better version. Please accept our sincere apologies.”