Instagram has been on a bot crackdown rampage lately, forcing the very popular Instagress to close. And only a few weeks later, Archie looks to be following suit. To clear things up, the message on the Archie site says they will continue to service you till the end of your subscription, so for those of you a monthly rolling basis this is till the end of the month As I understand it. My service is still running. The site says nothing about refunds. Not a huge surprise. If Archie is still providing you the service till your next payment period, why would they do it for free?
I have had many messages, emails and comments from other users about this. Some of them rather angry, in all caps, some very helpful suggesting alternative services – thank you! And what I have to say to that is: Welcome to my blog, which is no way related to Archie, as you may be able to tell by the completely different logo and branding. I am a user just like you.
- Helpful comments and suggestions of alternative services are welcome. Thank you!
- If you are here to shout at me, please direct your abuse elsewhere.
- If you have questions about the service shut-down, your individual account, refunds, etc., please contact Archie customer service (honestly, I am struggling to understand why anyone would think I have details of their individual subscription).
For the impatient of the readers, here is the CliffNotes version.
What: Archie automation growth tool for Instagram
What does it do: Grows your Instagram following by automatically engaging on you behalf. It does this in 3 ways (Premium version):
- Tags: Likes images under certain hashtags
- Locations: engages with posts geotagged at a certain location.
- Super targeting: Engages with followers of a certain user/users you have specified (e.g. competitor brand or a blogger in your niche who blogs about similar topics).
Is it any good:
- Tags – not one for me. Read full review below.
- Locations – maybe (if you are a local brand looking to build a customer base. I couldn’t really review this feature because it’s not very applicable to a lifestyle blog account).
- Super targeting – absolutely! Especially good if you are short on time and need your Instagram account to keep ticking over while you do other things with your life.
Cost: $19/month for 1 Business account (no super targeting!). $29/month for 1 Premium account.
Yay or nay: Yay, and perfect if you are in the 0-15K followers bracket. Once you hit 15K or so there are other ways to grow, so Archie may not be delivering the best ROI (return on investment).
For those of you who have not dozed off yet, here is the rest of the review, and some quick information on how I grew my account.
Why would you use Archie? Why is growing your Instagram important? And shouldn’t I be focusing on my blog and SEO? Well maybe. depends on your blog or business. Where do your leads come from? I am more active on Intagram (@reinhardt42) than anywhere else, including this blog. Times have moved on. Bloggers get read, discovered and reach out more via social media, as opposed to their website. My readers and brands interact with me almost exclusively on Instagram. The website is there to validate you, and occasionally give readers the rest of the story behind each outfit and destination. You put up your greatest hits on Insta (maybe 3 images max from each post) and the best of the rest can be found on the blog.
My point here is this: if you get noticed by readers and brands the most through Instagram, Instagram is where your leads and collaboration come from, then the best way to get ROI is to put your time into the channel that gives you back the most.
Which of Archie’s 3 tools is best? Archie is a tool that helps you increase your Instagram (and Twitter) following by engaging with other accounts. The Archie team offered me a month’s worth of free trial (worth $29) to try and then review the service.
- Tags: I gave this a quick go, for about a week, with hilarious results. You give Archie a bunch of tags associated with your content along the lines of #fashionblogger #wanderlust #mimalove and watch the bot like pictures of other users under those tags, in the hopes that they will then follow you. First of all, the sheer amount of adult content tagged #fashion and #fashionblogger is overwhelming. luckily Archie has an adult content filter. Make sure you tick that to save yourself a world of trouble/brand reputation woes. Secondly my inbox stated getting several messages a day of the “Hey Baby” variety, complete with some very personal selfies, and requests for my hand in marriage because the creepy dudes sending me these wanted a green card…I live in London, England, not the US, but never mind. It’s all right there in my profile but clearly literacy isn’t their strong suit. I’m sure they would have settled for a British passport too. Thirdly, I would have expected Archie to have some secret sauce, liking images under the hashtag #fashionblogger that fell strictly within some criteria. Say user is a small account with <1K followers, or picture has <50 likes, and therefore more likely to notice your like and follow you. Nope. Archie got on with liking everything, the highlight being pictures with thousands of likes, by a girl I already knew. In real life. Now, the Business package gives you the tags and location feature. If, like me, the location service is not applicable to you, you would go for just the likes, not only did running the likes bot yield me zero followers in the first few days and under 10 in total (all those terribly appealing marriage proposals aside), this comes at a cost of $19/month. My coding experience is limited to a 5 hour university workshop way back when. The course taught me next to nothing about how to actually code, but I did learn the value of using google and asking nicely in forums. Most people when learning to code and building their first prototypes recycle open source code freely available on the interwebs. And when I first started tinkering with Instagram automation, it took me under 2 hours to find basic instructions and sample code for a like bot and have it up and running. For free. Copy, paste, enter. I wrote a custom bot later for both likes and comments. My like bot was seriously no frills and certainly didn’t filter by user/geography/number of followers/likes per image. But neither does Archie. So for a price of $19-$29 I would happily forgo the questionable marriage proposals and say no to the $19 Business package.
- Locations: You give Archie a location, like London, or more granular like Islington, and it engages with users posting in those areas. This feature does nothing for me because my content is not tethered to a location. My readers congregate around a topic (fashion/lifestyle), not a physical place, so unfortunately I am not able to review this feature as unsurprisingly, it didn’t work for my content. But I see how this can be a very powerful tool for local businesses looking to connect with potential customers in their local area.
- Super targeting: Engages with followers of a certain user/users you have specified (e.g. competitor brand or a blogger in your niche who blogs about similar topics). Now this was the spot-on tool I was looking for. I tried to code a version of this myself (pick a bunch of fellow bloggers’ accounts and engage with their followers) but it proved to be a bit beyond my week’s-worth of self-taugh coding skill. So when Archie gave me the opportunity to give this feature a go it was a no-briner. I chose a few fashion and lifestyle blogging accounts with similar content and aesthetic and set Archie to work. Before I hit the go button and sent the Archie algorithm going, I had c.9K followers on Instagram. Fast forward to the end of the trail and I was at 14K. That’s a gain of 5K followers in about a month; only c.800 (16%) of which Archie tells me it was responsible for delivering. And that 16% would cost you $29. Now I say c.800 new followers were delivered by Archie. The keen-eyed readers among you will no doubt have noticed the 806 as the number of followers Archie delivered in the snap of my dashboard. I did a 3 day free trial ages ago, which gave me about 9 followers. 3 of whom I converted myself and Archie took credit for them later… Instagram is actually a pretty tight-knit community. When you post regularly about your key topic and engage with active users in that space you get to know everyone pretty quickly. I know that I engaged with those 3 accounts by hand. That means like 5-10 of their latest pictures, drop them a comment or two (at least 5 words and maybe ask questions, to actually engage as opposed to spam people with thins like “Awesome” or “Love it”) followed their account. But in Archie’s opinion putting one like against those 3 users’ photos is what brought them on board. It’s not Archie’s fault. It doesn’t track what I do on my own alongside what it does. But it should. Archie’s stats reporting is therefore an overestimate, but by how much is anyone’s guess.
Is it worth it? I’m a numbers girl (an applied maths degree will do that to you), so let’s talk some numbers. In the course of about a month Archie delivered me about 800 followers. This is an upside scenario. That number is most likely around 750 (see why above). That’s around 25 followers a day. A month’s subscription is $29. That means you to have to pay $39 for every 1k followers you acquire using Archie. In a year that would give you 9,125 followers at a cost of $377.
Like I said before, if you are short on time, and you have a sub 10-15K account Archie could be just the thing for you. But if like me you are very active on social media and are pulling in organic growth and follower numbers far in excess of what Archie could deliver, then the benefit of having this running in the background becomes more and more marginal at about 10-15K mark, when organic growth really starts to kick in.
Verdict: On balance, I am a fan, and would recommend Archie. I see this being a great tool especially for businesses because it delivers consistent results and businesses have marketing budgets.
This review is based purely on my own experience. All opinions my own.