PSA: Instagram appears to have changed the coding on their website and  these formulas have not been working since November 2020. 

Alternative to Social Blade - Instagram Dashboard on Google Sheets

How This Works

  • There are three tabs in this spreadsheet – “Instructions”, “Dashboard” and “Instagram”
  • The sheet called “Instagram” uses Google Sheet formulas (specifically ImportXML and REGEX) to extract your follower and following numbers from your Instagram URL.
  • The sheet named “Dashboard” tracks your followers and following number, and calculates the absolute and percentage change. The followers and following number is pulled in from the sheet called “Instagram”.
  • A custom script saves your Instagram data to a new row every morning at 5am. You can also manually run the script to append a new row (i.e. press the Save Instagram Button in Custom Menu)
  • If you have more than 10K followers, your Instagram URL will show an rounded up number, to the nearest thousand 10.0K, 100K and 1M so your numbers will not be as accurate.

1. Set Up the Tracking Sheet

Instagram growth tracker

  • Download a copy of my spreadsheet here (note the importXML formulas do not work anymore! But the script still does, so you can download it if you wish to copy the script) 
  • Go to the sheet named Instagram (do not change this tab name – as the Google Script references it!)
  • Enter your URL in B3.
  • DO NOT TOUCH the formulas in C3 and D3.
  • You should see your followers and following numbers extracted into the next two cells.

2. Activate the Script

In order to create a self-updating dashboard, you have to activate the Google Apps Script that I wrote. The script does two things – 1) it saves a new row to the spreadsheet with your data, 2) it allow you to create a time-based trigger to automatically append a new row every day.

To run the Custom Script – go to “Custom Menu” and hit “Save Instagram Data”. This will append a new row to the spreadsheet, and fill it with whatever data is in row 3.

Custom menu - Save Instagram Data

But first you have to authorise the Script.

Google Apps Script AuthoriseIgnore the warning, the script is safe because I wrote it (and am making it open source so you can verify that it’s safe). Click on Advanced.

app isn't verified

Click on Go to Shared Count (unsafe).

app isn't verified2

Allow access to your Google account. This is required in order for the script to run on your Google Sheets. Revoke it any time. Once the script has run, you should see a new row created each time you click the “Save Instagram Data” button.

3. Set Up the Timer

Open Tools, Go to Script Editor

script editor

Here, you’ll see the script that I wrote.

In layman terms, the script creates a Custom Menu with an option to Save Instagram Data, such that when you click on it, it gets value from the relevant cells in the sheet named Instagram, and appends a new row). Simple!

Please note that if you rename the “Instagram” sheet, or if you move the cells around, you will have to modify this script accordingly. You can also modify this script to track more than one Instagram profile.

Instagram Dashboard Google Apps Script

To set the timer, click on the Clock Icon in the menu bar (next to the Save icon and the Run icon). Or go to Edit, Current Project Triggers.

Set a trigger for the script to run every day between 5-6am.

set current project triggers (1)

And that’s it!

To check that you’ve set it up correctly, head over back to the “Instagram” sheet and hit Save Instagram Data 5 times to test it. It should have appended 5 new rows.

Head over to “Dashboard” to check that it has pull the data over. In this sheet, I’ve used QUERY and ARRAYFORMULA to make an automated SocialBlade-esque dashboard.

If it works, you can delete all the data, hit “Save Instagram Data” to save the first row, and you’re all set! Check back tomorrow to see if the spreadsheet has automatically updated.

For Advanced Google Sheet Users

If you want to know how the formula works, I use IMPORTXML and REGEX formulas to extract the follower and following number from any Instagram profile (works on public profiles even if you’re not logged in to Instagram).

Instagram formula for followers

If you want to see where it’s pulling the number from, head over to your Instagram account and look under the hood (right click and “View Page Source”), search for “Followers” and you’ll see that we’re pulling it from the meta description. These are the same numbers that show up on your public profile.

View Source Instagram Account

To learn more, you can visit Ben Collin’s website which shows you the formulas you need for the other platforms.

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