April 29, 2019 by Alexz Miller

The Ultimate Ranking of Time Saving Instagram Automation Tools

Instagram Automation Tools

It’s no surprise that Instagram can be an enormous time-suck, so if you’re looking for time-saving Instagram automation tools, you’re not alone.

The average Instagram user spends 24-32 minutes a day on Instagram.

But for Social Media Managers, the time spent on Instagram each day can easily be 5 times that amount. Plus, you aren’t just mindlessly scrolling — instead, you’re doing the hard work of curating a brand image.

gary vannerchuk on Instagram

Right now, 79-80% of my time is spent on Instagram because it’s the most popular. I’m going the hardest on it.

Gary VannerChuk, The 79/21 Rule


Spending time on Instagram becomes even more of a struggle as your business begins to grow. The bigger your company gets, the more time you have to spend on Instagram, juggling your multiple clients and brands.

Sound familiar?

As a Social Media Manager, your time is probably spent:

  1. Planning and creating posts
  2. Trying to grow your following
  3. Creating reports for your clients

But you don’t have to spend all day on Instagram. There’s a better solution — several of them, in fact.

We’re here to tell you that ALL of this can be automated to save you time and lessen your workflow.

With these Instagram automation tools, you can streamline your most tedious tasks — and you can do it all in less time.

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Here are the top time-saving Instagram automation tools for Social Media Managers, compared and ranked.

Time Saving Instagram Automation Tools to Schedule Posts

First up, the Instagram schedulers.

Let’s compare the 3 most popular IG schedulers to see which tool has the best Instagram automation feature to save you time.

Later

Later is an Instagram scheduling tool that is efficient and simple to use — no learning curve required.

Later’s Scheduling Options

Later has a “drag and drop” feature that lets you plan your feed in advance before scheduling any posts.

You can also utilize Later’s “auto-publish” feature, which means no notifications and more time saved. The platform lets you schedule stories as well as posts in your feed.

later's Instagram automation feature
Image Source: Quinn Tempest,Later vs. Planoly

This Instagram automation can easily save you hours a month and you can be sure that all of your posts will be published right on time.

With their “best time to post” feature, Later’s algorithm analyzes your historical post data and then highlights which times you have received the most engagement in the past.

NOTE: In order for there to be enough data to get an accurate reading, it will take a little work on your end testing out different posting times and using the app to post at least 50 pictures in a 6-month period.

But hey, you’re a marketer. We live for a good A/B test.

Later’s Time Saving Features

With the “auto-post” feature, you can also tag users in your post as well as specify geo-locations. This is great for not only increasing your reach, but also giving credit to re-posted images.

how to tag users with Later's Instagram automation

Speaking of increasing your reach, Later didn’t forget about the importance of hashtags. The “saved captions” feature allows you to save lists of hashtags to re-use and quickly add to posts.

With some of their paid plans, you can gain access to Later’s “hashtags suggestions” feature that can help you find and plan more hashtags to use.

Other ways Later keeps you organized and efficient: You can sync photos to the platform from just about anywhere (Dropbox, your phone, Google Drive, your desktop).

It’s easy to label those photos and keep them organized. And if you have more than one business account, you can sort photos into different content libraries for each one.

labeling photos on Later's Instagram automation features

Image Source: Quinn Tempest,Later vs. Planoly

Later has a free version that has many of the features you need to get started. Their paid plans range from $9/month to $49/month with the main difference between tiers being the number of Instagram accounts (max of each).

Planoly

Trying to keep your Instagram feed aesthetic on-brand?

Planoly eliminates the guesswork by letting you lay out the pictures you’re considering posting to pre-determine what they’d look like on your profile.

You can choose to schedule the posts, or just mess around with the layout with the “drafts” feature.

It’s also a very user-friendly app, with a clean interface, so you won’t need to spend any extra time learning how to use it.

How to plan posts with Planoly Instagram automation
Planoly’s Scheduling Options

With Planoly, you can schedule Instagram stories, multi-photo carousels, and regular single photo posts.

Similar to Later, Planoly’s Instagram automation allows your planned posts to be published straight to your Instagram account with no unnecessary steps from you.

You can tag locations and Instagram users in your posts giving you all the features you would use if were posting directly in the app.

How to Tag a location on Planoly's Instagram automation

You can also save hashtags lists to add to your post and increase your reach.

Planoly’s Time Saving Features

A unique Planoly feature allows you to crop images as you are uploading them, which can be incredibly helpful if you repost a lot of user generated content. Simply upload your screenshot and crop it to your desired size.

Where Planoly really shines is their “Discover” section, which can be a huge time saver if you feel like you’re constantly running low on content. Let’s face it, we can always use more content.

In this section, you can search for specific hashtags, users, or free stock images to transform into posts all directly on the Planoly Dashboard.

Instagram Automation with Planoly Discover

This can be great if you’re working with Influencers who are posting quality images of your product shots or have a branded hashtag with an active community.

Planoly has a free plan that allows you to post up to up to 30 photos for one Instagram account. They also have paid plans for added features that range from $7-$150/month. With their premium plan, Planoly allows you to add up to 10 Instagram account and 10 users, which can be great for digital agencies with larger teams.

Hopper HQ

Hopper HQ is the new kid on the block, but is quickly rising to the top of the Instagram scheduler list.

This scheduling tool lets you retrieve photos from 20+ cloud sources and upload up to 50 photos at a time.

If you’re the type of person who tends to get distracted by your phone (we’ve all been there) and prefers to work on desktop only, Hopper HQ can help you save potentially hours of time.

Their interface is sleek and clean; it was clearly designed for marketing professionals.

Nicola Cronin From Hopper


“All Hopper HQ’s features are designed to save social media managers switching between mobile and desktop, and generally to spend less time on their phones at work or in the evenings and weekends “

Nicola Cornin, Marketing Manager at Hopper HQ

Creating posts is very user-friendly with the ability to preview your Instagram feed and drag-and-drop to make changes.

How to use Hopper HQ's Instagram automation

Like the two tools mentioned before, Hopper HQ’s Instagram automation seamlessly posts your scheduled content for you, including photos, videos, and carousel posts.

They also have Instagram automation triggers to instantly post your first comment on a post as well as the caption. This is great news for anyone who is trying to place their hashtags in the first comment of their post and boost engagement.

The platform costs $19 per month, but it’s worth the investment. Plus they have bulk pricing discounts that drop your price to as low as $10 per month for each account.

The Best Instagram Automation Tool For Scheduling: Later

When it comes to saving time while scheduling Instagram posts, these three Instagram automation tools are dominating the Instagram scheduler niche and are guaranteed to cut down your workload.

But if we had to name our favorite, Later is the best option. In fact, we use the tool ourselves to plan all our posts.

The interface is extremely user-friendly with great organization tools.

Later has all the features you need to plan your posts once and then feel confident that they will be published right on schedule.

quote from Taylor from Later

“Pre-planning your Instagram aesthetic with a visual Instagram planner like Later is key, it helps you make sure your feed flows by allowing you to see all of your upcoming content at-a-glance.”

Taylor Loren, Head of Marketing at Later

Later’s Stand Out Features:

  • Auto-Posting
  • Suggested Hashtags
  • Saved Captions
  • Best Time to Post

Time Saving Instagram Automation Tools for Growth

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Set yourself apart from other businesses in your niche!

Increase your following and engagement on Instagram organically with Kicksta.

Organically growing your Instagram following takes time, but an engaged, relevant audience is crucial to success on Instagram.

After all, what’s the point of posting quality Instagram content, if no one is going to see it?

Now, let’s compare the 3 top Instagram growth services and their methods for gaining your followers.

Kicksta

Kicksta helps you securely reach your ideal Instagram audience on autopilot.

As seen on Forbes, Entrepreneur, and SocialMediaToday, Kicksta helps you get more real followers for your brand.

The way it works is pretty simple: First, give Kicksta a list of Instagram accounts whose followers you’d like to attract. Kicksta likes a few photos from each user on your behalf — about 30,000 photos each month.

This gets your name in front of as many people as possible, which in turn helps you add followers on Instagram.

Think of Kicksta like another team member to whom you can delegate work, while you work on more important tasks like maintaining client relationships.

Nic Bivens from Kicksta

“What really sets Kicksta apart is our commitment to Social Media Managers. The Kicksta dashboard was designed to help agencies and freelancers easily manage multiple accounts all in one place.”

Nic Bivens, Head of Partner Relations at Kicksta

Kicksta’s Targeting Method

If you’re trying to grow an account on your client’s behalf, you want to make sure you are consistently gaining followers – but the sheer number isn’t enough.

You need to make sure you attract real and relevant followers who will have a genuine interest in your client’s brand- not just ghost followers.

This is the only way to ensure that when your followers increase, your likes, comments, and website clicks increase as well.

After all that planning and scheduling, you want to make sure you’re getting the engagement your quality post deserves.

Pick similar accounts, hashtags, or locations to target your client’s audience.

how to use Kicksta's Instagram automation
Kicksta’s Filtering Options

With our advanced filtering system, you can set your own specification such as gender preference, follower-to-following ratio, blacklist accounts, and much more.

Our AI technology will even learn patterns to mimic human behavior with intermittent pauses and sleep modes.

Plus you can do it on a client-by-client basis to make sure each account is matched with the appropriate settings.

Kicksta’s Reporting Options

The feature Social Media Managers love the most is our detailed target reports with our Partner Program. This area of the dashboard lets you see how many specific likes were conducted on a target and how many of those actions resulted in a follow back.

How to pick targets with Kicksta's Instagram automation

With these insights, Social Media Managers can make smart targeting decisions; remove the low performers and add more targets similar to the ones giving you the best results.

Our advanced AI our system will even suggest new targets that will work well for your account based on machine learning and user activity – truly allowing you to grow your Instagram account in just a few clicks.

Kicksta’s professional plan is only $99 per month. Plus, we offer bulk pricing discounts to digital agencies who white label our Instagram growth service.

Gramista

Gramista is another Instagram marketing tool that allows you to automate your Instagram growth efforts so you can spend your time doing other things.

It’s easy to set up a Gramista campaign: Sign up for Gramista in under two minutes, set up your custom activities and hashtags, and sit back and let Gramista do the work.

Gramista’s Filtering Options

Tell Gramista your target audience by adding accounts, hashtags, or locations to your profile. The platform will aim for people in that demographic by following them and liking their photos.

Your filtering options with Gramista include blacklisting accounts or hashtags.

Gramista’s Reporting Options

In terms of reporting, Gramista is quite limited, which is its main drawback. With their “recent activities” report, you can see each individual interaction that the Instagram automation tool has conducted on your client’s behalf.

However, there are no reports to see how your account or targets are performing over time. You also cannot determine why an account was liked aka which of your suggested targets the potential follower is connected to.

This is problematic for two reasons.

  1. It does not give you, the Social Media Manager, the power to optimize for better results over time. Data is everything in marketing. If you cannot determine why you gained this follower, how can you make smart decisions and track trends?
  2. It becomes incredibly difficult to determine if the account is real or if it is a low-quality, fake follower. If the target account is listed, it is very easy for you to cross-check by looking up your target account and searching their followers for your newly gained follower. If you have no idea where they came from, you cannot be sure that it isn’t just a pool of pre-loaded accounts triggered to follow you and fluff your number.

Gramista offers a range of pricing options, but their most popular 30-day package costs $39.99.

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Want to maximize your Instagram for your business?

Sign up for Kicksta today and start attracting more followers who are interested in your brand.

Social Captain

A step-up from Gramista, is the Instagram automation tool, Social Captain.

Social Captain aims to save its clients time by connecting them with real Instagram followers “automagically.”

Their Instagram automation includes likes, direct messages, auto-comments, and follows.

We’ve talked several times on this blog about the risk of these more aggressive growth methods.

Since we highly recommend avoiding risky growth methods, for the sake of this review we will be focusing on Social Captain’s “likes” as part of their Instagram automation strategy.

Social Captain’s Filtering Options

Like the other two Instagram growth services, Social Captain allows you to target your audience by account, hashtags, and locations.

They also offer quite a few filtering options to help you specify your audience further such as gender targeting, media age, and follower to following ratio.

Social Captain’s Reporting Options

Similar to Gramista, you can see a live activity stream of likes being conducted and new followers gained. Again, there is no high-level overview here, but it does help show that activity is happening.

The “follower evolution” shows your gross number of followers gained (does not account for drop off or unfollows).

You can also determine which sources are you “top performers,” but unfortunately not how many followers you have gained from each source. Likewise, the report does not show your worst performers, which can be equally as important information to know so you can adjust accordingly.

Social Captain’s monthly packages range from $39-$99 per month.

The Best Instagram Automation Tool For Growth: Kicksta

There are many Instagram growth services out there that can help you gain more followers.

However, if you’re a Social Media Manager searching for the best time-saving Instagram tool for growth, Kicksta is the tool for you.

We understand that you only want to gain quality followers for your clients; ones that will your agency can feel confident with.

Sally from raindropmarketing

“Kicksta targets real people who are of value to your brand and it actually works.

I no longer have to spend hours upon hours trying to gain followers for my clients. Kicksta does it for me!”

-Salley Harris, Soical Media Manager at Rain Drop Marketing

That’s why we only implement organic growth methods and give you advanced filtering options.

Kicksta’s Stand Out Features

  • 100% Organic Growth Methods
  • Detailed Growth & Target Reporting
  • Advanced, Customizable Filters
  • AI Suggested Targets

Time Saving Instagram Automation for Analytics

Alright, we’ve come to the last piece of the puzzle for Social Media Managers: Reporting.

Having quality analytics is important for not only being able to find areas to improve, but also to prove your ROI to your clients.

Here are the 3 top Instagram analytics platforms that use Instagram automation to speed up your reporting.

Iconosquare

Tracking your analytics is an integral part of any Instagram campaign, but it’s also time-consuming. Tools such as Iconosquare can help. As an official Instagram partner, Iconosquare is an advanced way to track your analytics for both Instagram and Facebook.

For each social profile you connect, you can customize a dashboard of all the stats you want to track. Simply drag-and-drop pre-made widgets into place.

Iconosquare has dozens of widget categories including engagement widgets, growth widgets, and profile activity widgets.

Some unique tracking options that are worth noting include:

  • Audience age, gender, and location
  • Website clicks from Instagram
  • Number of mentions
  • Average reach per post

Iconosqaure is also one of the only Instagram analytic platforms to incorporate stats for Instagram stories, which as we all know are becoming just as important as standard IG posts.

All of Iconosquare’s widgets have historical data from the previous time period to compare how your account has improved (or worsened) over time.

You can also select custom date ranges for all reports, however, at this time, Iconosquare does not have the ability to export reports.

Pricing starts at $29 per month and increases from there based on the number of social profiles and users you need. They also offer bulk pricing options for larger agencies!

DashThis

With 35+ integrations, DashThis is an analytics platform that can automate not only your Instagram analytics, but all of your marketing reports in one place.

Their dashboard is incredibly user-friendly and gives you the power to completely customize your experience.

With a few clicks, you can create personalized dashboards for each client with the stats you’re probably already tracking manually.

All you have to do is select your preferred KPIs and drag-and-drop them in the size and position you prefer. No more copy-pasting data into an excel spreadsheet.

To help you save even more time, you can use pre-filled report templates, preset widgets, cloning options, and many more time-saving features!

You can even add your client’s logo, headers, and stationary notes to give more context to your report.

Your reports are automatically updated every day. Easily keep your clients or other team members up to date with multiple ways to share: URL links, PDF, and automated emails.

On top of all that, DashThis is praised for their outstanding customer support team, who are more than happy to help walk you through the setup process.

Hadrien Brassen quote on DashThis Instagram automation

“We’ve played around with countless reporting tools over the years but none of them come anywhere close to Dashthis.

The level of integration and customization of reports, as well as their outstanding client support, are unrivaled!”

Hadrien Brassens, Director at Reef Digital Agency

“We’ve played around with countless reporting tools over the years but none of them come anywhere close to Dashthis. The level of integration and customization of reports, as well as their outstanding client support, are unrivaled!” – Hadrien Brassens, Director at Reef Digital Agency

They have 5 pricing levels starting at $33/month for 3 dashboards and ranging up to $499/month for 100 dashboards.

Hype Auditor

Hype Auditor takes a slightly different approach to Instagram analytics and helps you analyze not only the progress of Instagram growth, but also the quality.

The great thing about Hype Auditor is that it takes absolutely no set up. Simply enter in any Instagram handle and their Instagram automation tool will give you a report for that account.

Their reports focus on two main areas.

1. Instagram Audience Report

At a glance, you can see your audience quality score out of 100 and a few problem areas to focus on.

The report then gives you a detailed breakdown of your audience location, gender, interests, ethnicity, and language.

The “audience type” area of the report can be especially useful for determining the quality of your audience by breaking down what percentage of your followers appear to be real people, influencers, or suspicious accounts.

The Instagram audience report is most useful for determining what to post and when to post it.

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Sign up for Kicksta today and starting attracting more followers and making more money.

2. Instagram Engagement Report

The engagement report covers many areas including, engagement rate, comment-to-like ratio, and authenticity of comments.

This report also helps you determine the account performance in comparison to other accounts with a similar follower size and niche.

Instagram Automation Engagement Report

The industry comparison can not only help your agency set competitive benchmarks, but also help give a client realistic expectations.

Functionality of Instagram Automation

With their “list” functionality, you can keep yourself organized by creating folders and groups of your reports. You can also export reports into shareable PDF or receive automated email updates each week to keep track of the program.

Hype Auditor is an incredible Instagram automation tool.

However, since you cannot customize reports or see changes week-to-week in a dashboard, this tool may not be the best choice for your main source of Instagram analytics.

These reports might better serve as a piece of your initial Instagram audit for new clients your agency takes on.

Alternatively, the tool was originally created to evaluate the audiences of Instagram Influencers. If you’re doing a lot of Influencer outreach, it’s definitely a tool worth looking into.

The Best Instagram Automation Tool For Analytics: DashThis

Most Instagram analytics tools will only let you create one dashboard per social media platform, which can be a problem if you want an overall view of your social media performance.

With DashThis, you can create one dashboard with all your data from every social media tool you use (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, etc.). You can also combine that data with all your other marketing analytics tools such as Google Analytics, MailChimp, Google Ads, and much more.

You can even integrate your own custom data with CSV files.

Their advanced customization options, high number of native integrations, and automated email reports make DashThis the best Instagram automation tool for Instagram analytics.

Marie from Dash This quote

“Social media managers and agencies love using our social media reporting tool because it saves them hours of work every month.

With DashThis, they can create their reports in minutes and let us fetch all their data every single day.

DashThis is built BY marketers, FOR marketers, with all the features that answer the real marketer’s needs”

-Marie Lamonde, Content Marketing Specialist at DashThis

DashThis’ Standout Features:

  • 35+ Native Integration
  • Customize Dashboard
  • Automated Email Reports

The Instagram Automation Dream Team

Instagram is arguably the most important marketing platforms right now because of its enormous audience and high engagement rates.

But for a lot of Social Media Managers, it has also become a bit of a bully, demanding more and more time with each new feature.

Instagram automation 79/21 rule
Source: Gary Vaynerchuk

However, with these Instagram automation tools, you can cut down the time you spend on the tedious task and focus your efforts on more important efforts such as improving your content.

The Best Instagram Automation tools for Social Media Managers:

The Best Instagram Automation Tools for Social Media Managers

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