The Amazing Trick to Scraping Instagram Data Using Microsoft Excel
BY: Chris Makara
Jan 29, 2015
Home > Blog > The Amazing Trick to Scraping Instagram Data Using Microsoft Excel

While Instagram might not be for everyone, there are countless businesses getting started on Instagram. However, what if you need a quick glance into some Instagram user data? Sure, there might be some tools out there that can give you more detailed data…but I needed something quick and easy that would let me copy and paste a list of Instagram usernames into it and then give me some basic stats for the users.

My choice of tool for this job was Microsoft Excel. I’ve had great success with my Twitter Dashboard for Microsoft Excel, and it only made sense to make one for Instagram.

Please note that with the recent Instagram API changes, this approach is not currently working. Once I find an alternative solution I will be sure to post it.

To do this, you will only need two things:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Niels Bosma’s SEO Tools Excel Plugin

Need a More Advanced Instagram Scraper? Contact me to discuss the development of a custom Twitter scraper to get the Twitter data you need.

Setting Up Microsoft Excel To Scrape Instagram Data

In order to get the Instagram data to magically appear in Excel, we first need to install the SEO Tools Excel Plugin. Niels’ site provides the installation instructions which are pretty easy.

When installed, this plugin will allow us to gather data from URLs and instantly pull external data into Excel. Please note that this MUST be installed in order for the steps I provide below to work.

Once you have downloaded it and activated it in your Microsoft Excel add-ins menu, you should see the SEO Tools tab in the top navigation ribbon.

SEO Tools Excel

If you have never used this in Excel, I highly suggest exploring all you can do with it. You will be amazed at what is possible!

Let’s Get Instagram Data into Microsoft Excel

Now that you have installed Niels’ SEO plugin, we can start creating some formulas that will get the data we are looking for.

Initially, I was going to use Instagram’s site to get the data; but I decided to go another route. To get the data I decided to use a site called Iconosquare.com – which provides various Instagram data for your account.

Sure you can easily see stats of your own account. But what if you could easily view these same stats for others in Microsoft Excel?

Before I lay out the process for setting up your Excel file to get this data, I want to quickly explain the process of how Excel is able to get the data.

You will be using a feature of the SEO Tools plugin called “XPathOnUrl” which will allow you to get the data from the Xpath of a page.

What is Xpath you ask?

Xpath is a query language for selecting nodes from an XML document. It basically allows you to get values from a XML document. In other words, we are using this to scrape data from a website.

Setting Up The Excel File

You will need to start with a blank Excel sheet and add the formulas below where noted. Before we get to the formulas, we need to label our columns and create a table. Label the following cells as noted:

  • A1 – Instagram ID
  • B1 – Iconosquare
  • C1 – Username
  • D1 – Full Name
  • E1 – Bio
  • F1 – Personal URL
  • G1 – Followers
  • H1 – Following
  • I1 – Media Raw Data
  • J1 – Media/Posts

After the column headings are created, you will need to create a table. Simply highlight each of the cells you just created and then click “Ctrl+T” on your keyboard. You will then get a pop up asking you about the table, simply be sure to check the box that says “My Table Has Headers” and click “OK.”

Now let’s move on to the formulas!

Don’t want to create the Excel file? Click here to download my “ready-to-go” Instagram Scraper Microsoft Excel file.

Instagram ID (A1)

In cell A2, we will enter the Instagram username of the profile we want to gather data for. Simply leave this cell blank or enter a profile name you would like to get the data of.

Iconosquare (B1)

For cell B2, we are going to populate the Iconosquare URL needed to pull up the profile you want the data for. Therefore, we will use the following formula:

=IFERROR(CONCATENATE("http://iconosquare.com/",[@[Instagram ID]]),"")

What this formula is basically saying is that if it returns an error (IFERROR), then the cell should render blank. If there is no error, then it will merge (CONCATENATE) the URL with the Instagram profile ID. You will notice that I use “IFERROR” on most of the formulas below.

Username (C1)

You will be pulling the username displayed on the webpage for cell C2. To do this, use the following formula:

=IFERROR(XPathOnUrl([@Iconosquare],"//h2[@class='username']"),"")

This formula is the first use of “XPathOnURL” which means we are now getting data from the website. It is essentially visiting the URL created in B2 and then looking for the value of the H2 tag with the class “username.”

Full Name (D1)

Up next you will be creating a formula to bring in the full name that is being displayed on Instagram. In order to do this, use this formula:

=IFERROR(XPathOnUrl([@Iconosquare],"//h1[@class='fullname']"),"")

In this formula, it works similarly to the Username formula. The only difference is that we are looking for the H1 tag with the class of “fullname.”

Bio (E1)

To grab the Instagram user bio data, in cell E2 use this formula:

=IFERROR(LEFT(TRIM(XPathOnUrl([@Iconosquare],"//div[@class='clear bio-user unCommentContenuTexte']")),
FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(XPathOnUrl([@Iconosquare],"//div[@class='clear bio-user unCommentContenuTexte']")," ","~",
LEN(TRIM(XPathOnUrl([@Iconosquare],"//div[@class='clear bio-user unCommentContenuTexte']")))-
LEN(SUBSTITUTE(TRIM(XPathOnUrl([@Iconosquare],"//div[@class='clear bio-user unCommentContenuTexte']"))," ",""))))-1),"")

This formula visits the profile page and looks for the content in the class “clear bio-user” which is where the profile bio information is.

Personal URL (F1)

Some Instagram users enter a URL in their profile. Sometimes it is a personal URL, while others it is for a business. To pull this URL from Instagram into Excel, use this formula in cell F2:

=IFERROR(TRIM(RIGHT(SUBSTITUTE(XPathOnUrl([@Iconosquare],"//div[@class='clear bio-user unCommentContenuTexte']")," ",REPT(" ",
LEN(XPathOnUrl([@Iconosquare],"//div[@class='clear bio-user unCommentContenuTexte']")))),
LEN(XPathOnUrl([@Iconosquare],"//div[@class='clear bio-user unCommentContenuTexte']")))),"")

With this formula, it visits the profile page and gathers data from the anchor class “website-link.”

Followers (G1)

One of the more notable social vanity metrics, this column will gather the number of followers for an Instagram account. In cell G2, use the following formula:

=IFERROR(XPathOnUrl([@Iconosquare],"//a[@class='followers user-action-btn']/span[@class='chiffre']"),"")

In this formula, it will gather the follower count from the span class “chiffre.”

Following (H1)

To see how many users an Instagram account is following, we will collect that data in column H. In cell H2 enter this formula:

=IFERROR(XPathOnUrl([@Iconosquare],"//a[@class='followings user-action-btn']/span[@class='chiffre']"),"")

Using this formula, Excel will display the number of users an account is following.

Media Raw Data (I1)

This column is going to pull in the number of media posts (images/videos) an Instagram user has uploaded. So in cell I2 use this formula:

=IFERROR(XPathOnUrl([@Iconosquare],"//span[@class='photos user-action-btn user-action-btn-selected']"),"")

The result will show the number of uploads with the word “media” after it. In the next column we will remove the “media” text so it shows just a number.

Media/Posts

In order to remove the “media” text from cell I2, we will need to use the following formula in cell J2:

=IFERROR(LEFT(I4,LEN(I4)-6),"")

With this formula, the column will show only the number of uploads a user has made to Instagram.

Utilizing Your Instagram Data

Now that you have successfully created your Excel file (you got it working, right?), in what ways can you use this data to your advantage?

Here are a few ways to get you started:

  • Identify users with specific keywords in their bio
  • Find users who do or do not have URLs listed in their profile
  • Determine which users post frequently and would be worth engaging with
  • Build reports on competitors

Need a More Advanced Instagram Scraper? Contact me to discuss the development of a custom Twitter scraper to get the Twitter data you need.

In what ways do you plan on using this data to your advantage? Be sure to let me know in the comments below.

Chris Makara

Chris Makara

I have over 12 years of experience in Interactive Marketing & Digital Strategy, with a focus on SEO, Social Media & Demand Generation. I am an avid Football Fan, Golf Enthusiast & Ambidextrous Bowler. I can also be found on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Chris Makara
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54 thoughts on “The Amazing Trick to Scraping Instagram Data Using Microsoft Excel

    1. Chris Makara

      Thanks for the reply Alex. I don’t think this would work with IFTTT in that there is not a trigger for a new instagram follower. Ideally with the Excel (or even making this work in Google Docs) is that once set up you can simply re-run the formulas to pull new information.

      If you figure out a way to get it to work with IFTTT, let me know…I like using IFTTT for a few things 🙂 http://chrismakara.com/digital-marketing/6-ways-ifttt-can-increase-your-digital-marketing-productivity/

      Reply
  1. Omar

    Hey there! Great post.
    I’m planning to do an Instagram contest with my brand account. Do you think I could get all the comments of a photo, each one in a row with some extra data (e.g. username of the comment author, date of the comment, etc)?

    Reply
  2. Scott Stephens

    Hey Chris – just discovering this article now. Where can I find the names of other values that can be brought in using XPathOnURL? For example I am trying to bring in the number of likes and comments by user from iconosquare.

    Reply
    1. Chris Makara

      Hi Scott, you can use Chrome and then right click over the text/element and select “inspect element” for what you want to get data for. You will typically see the ID of the Xpath in the code. It can take some playing around to get it to work.

      As for # of likes and # of comments, I don’t think you can get this data in sum. It looks like it is only available for each individual piece of media. So you would need to build a spreadsheet that looks at each piece of media and get the data for each and then sum it up in Excel.

      This could become tedious if you have a user with hundreds of media. Of course, I could build a custom desktop scraper that could handle this if you needed it. Drop me a line at http://chrismakara.com/contact/ if you want to discuss details further.

      Reply
  3. tastetap

    formulas dont work here unfortunately, also I cant subscribe to the newsletter to get the ready made file..please help!

    Reply
    1. seotoolsforexcel

      Formulas won’t work if you copy from the blog directly into Excel as the ” and ‘ are “the wrong kind”.

      Reply
      1. Onathzky

        The Excel I downloaded doesnt work either.. can I have a working one please.thank u!. onathzky AT gmail DOT com

        Reply
        1. Chris Makara Post author

          Unfortunately, Instagram recently changed their API so this is not currently working. I have not had time to find a new way to do it.

          Reply
  4. Siddharth

    Hi Chris,

    I’d like to get the proflie details who has most followers count in the region of saudi arabia. Is there any way that i could find it by using filters?

    Reply
  5. Brody Hatch

    @ChrisMakara:disqus – great article, but how can I get instagram followers and following counts triggered in an excel every 24 hours and on excel for mac? Any help is MEGA appreciated. Im stuck… 🙁 brody@brodyhatch.com

    Reply
    1. Chris Makara Post author

      Did you install the SEO Tools for Excel plugin? Without that installed, none of the formulas will work. If you do have it installed and it is giving you a specific error, please let me know the error and I will look into it.

      Reply
    1. Chris Makara Post author

      Try this formula in a new column and let me know if it works. I tried it on a few names and it seemed to work for me…(you might need to do a find a replace for all the quotation marks as it will probably be formatted wrong if you copy/paste the comment)

      =IFERROR(TRIM(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(MID(JsonPathOnUrl(CONCATENATE(“http://jelled.com/ajax/instagram?do=username&username=%5b”,$A2,”%5d&format=json”),”data”),FIND(“id”,JsonPathOnUrl(CONCATENATE(“http://jelled.com/ajax/instagram?do=username&username=%5b”,$A2,”%5d&format=json”),”data”))+6,15),”A”,””),”B”,””),”C”,””),”D”,””),”E”,””),”F”,””),”G”,””),”H”,””),”I”,””),”J”,””),”K”,””),”L”,””),”M”,””),”N”,””),”O”,””),”P”,””),”Q”,””),”R”,””),”S”,””),”T”,””),”U”,””),”V”,””),”W”,””),”X”,””),”Y”,””),”Z”,””),”a”,””),”b”,””),”c”,””),”d”,””),”e”,””),”f”,””),”g”,””),”h”,””),”i”,””),”j”,””),”k”,””),”l”,””),”m”,””),”n”,””),”o”,””),”p”,””),”q”,””),”r”,””),”s”,””),”t”,””),”u”,””),”v”,””),”w”,””),”x”,””),”y”,””),””””,””),”,”,””),”-“,””),”‘”,””)),””)

      If it does, then I will update the post with “some” detail around it…as you can see, it’s quite the formula 🙂

      Reply
      1. Vahid Bigdeli

        Hi Chris.
        I want Instagram Meta data as well.
        So there must be two Sheets or formula,the first one to grab media links and another gets post meta data like likers or numbers of likes,etc.

        Regards,
        Vahid.

        Reply
          1. Chris Makara Post author

            I think I understand what you are saying, which I think is outside of what Excel can do? If you already have a list of the media then I am sure I could figure it out in Excel…but it sounds like you want Excel to get everything for you?

          2. Vahid Bigdeli

            Yeah,I want to get my or others instagram posts and also get their number of likes to be able to sort or filter by dates.

            I am sure it’s possible.

          3. Chris Makara Post author

            I know it’s possible to get that data with php like the link you posted, but don’t think you can make Excel do that? Maybe with VB but I’m not good with that. Now there might be a way to get maybe the last 5-10 items posted from a user with Excel, but not all of them. I would need to dig a bit deeper.

    1. Chris Makara Post author

      Thanks for the heads up…just updated those formulas. Please let me know if you have any issues with them.

      Reply
      1. AMIR AHMADI

        hi chris
        do you can send for me excell file that make formul for cash instagram id?
        i dont can make excell file for this your method

        Reply
          1. AMIR AHMADI

            Join the discussion I need excel file that I can cash all followers in Instagram account?

          2. Chris Makara Post author

            Do you mean “cache”? So basically scrape all followers of an Instagram account? I don’t think this is possible with just Excel as Excel can’t make the page scroll, perform actions, etc. If you have a budget, please contact me and I can get you this data.

  6. Kevin

    Hi Chris,

    It seems that this no longer works due to Iconosquare changing their format. Is there any way to fix this? I was trying to implement Instagram as the source, but when changing the class title, it still appeared blank.

    Thank you again for your help in advance!
    -Kevin

    Reply
    1. Chris Makara Post author

      Hey Kevin, yeah the recent Iconosquare/Instagram change made this method not work anymore. I have not had time to find an alternative to update this yet. When I do, I will be sure to update this post.

      Reply
        1. Bassam Kazerooni

          Hi Chris,

          I hope all is well with you. Have you managed to find an alternative solution. I have a list of 4500 usernames that I need the profile pictures links for.

          I tried doing it through an excel plugin called blockspring. It works fine but its very manual.

          Would you be able to help?

          regards,

          Bassam

          Reply
          1. Chris Makara Post author

            Hi Bassam – I have not found an alternate solution yet. I looked at Blockspring as it isn’t something I have used, but it looks interesting. However, it looks like it is a paid tool? I was really hoping to find a free solution…

          2. Michael Bay

            I am very interested in getting this to work again, as it is especially the bio information that is so useful for understanding the user and only paid tools offerextraction of that.

    1. Chris Makara Post author

      This will not work for it. Instagram search doesn’t let you search by follower sizes, so you would have to scrape a list of Instagram users and then scrape their follower count. In Excel you would filter to show only account with 200k followers.

      Reply

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I’m Chris Makara and I share my 13+ years of
Real world digital marketing experience
without the theories or concepts.