The Best Instagram Scrapers
Social media marketers use Instagram data to get insights into user behavior, interests, and trends. You can collect publicly available data like usernames, followers, comments, and more. This information can then be used for market research, lead generation, or sentiment analysis.
However, due to Instagram’s strict policies on scraping, you’ll need a quality tool to pass its anti-bot mechanisms.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best Instagram scrapers. We’ve analyzed different scraping tools based on their features, performance, and pricing. So, let’s dive in and find the best Instagram scraper for your needs.
Here are our top choices:
- Smartproxy – great value for money plus a HTML parser.
- Bright Data – feature-rich Instagram scrapers.
- Zyte – fast and cost-efficient Instagram scraper.
- Apify – a no-code Instagram scraper with a point-and-click interface.
Is it Legal To Scrape Instagram?
Like any other social media platform, Instagram isn’t fond of web scrapers. The platform openly shares its views by filing numerous lawsuits against companies that provide or use web scraping services just to prove the point.
In a nutshell, there’s no regulation prohibiting scraping as an action. But you have to be aware of a few things; otherwise, a lawsuit might come banging at your door. The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that you can scrape data that isn’t behind a login (it’s publicly available), and the content you gather isn’t subject to intellectual property rights.
There also may be some other requirements for working with personal information. If you’re unsure about the legal side of scraping Instagram, better to contact a lawyer since every use case is viewed individually.
How Does Instagram Block Scrapers?
There are two main identifiers that give away your identity: IP address and browser fingerprint.
Instagram can monitor traffic by tracking your IP address. Firstly, there’s a way real people browse the internet; they’re chaotic as opposed to bots that move in a certain pattern. Secondly, Instagram applies connection request limits. And thirdly, IP quality also plays a role here. You won’t be able to access most Instagram pages with datacenter proxies. So, when you exceed the number of requests or your actions seem suspicious, the platform red flags your IP. If you keep doing so, Instagram can block it.
Another common cause that might get you banned is inconsistencies in your browser fingerprint. Instagram uses various tracking methods to identify your device and software characteristics like the browser type and request headers. For example, if your scraper sends a user agent that doesn’t match your operating system, Instagram will see that.
The platform uses pretty aggressive anti-bot mechanisms. So, getting quality Instagram proxies or using a service that handles proxy management and anti-detection techniques when scraping is a must.
What Are the Best Instagram Web Scrapers?
Many services offer tools for scraping Instagram. The one you choose depends on factors like price, difficulty using and setting up, or the size of your project. Usually, they’re divided into three categories: no-code tools, unofficial APIs, or custom-built web scrapers. Let’s delve into each:
- No-code scrapers let you collect data by visually clicking on elements or using pre-made templates. While such tools work well with simple tasks, they’re generally slower and inefficient once you scale.
- Web scraping APIs are remote web scrapers. They let you scrape by making API calls to the provider’s infrastructure with your target website. This type of scraper handles proxy management, anti-detection techniques, and headless browsers. APIs are great performers and highly extensible, so they’re suitable for all types of projects.
- Custom-built scrapers are usually built using web scraping libraries. Such tools allow you to control one or more aspects of web scraping – crawling, getting, and cleaning the data. However, this approach will work only if you’re able to manage website blocks and proxies on your own. We build a basic Instagram scraper in our guide on how to scrape Instagram.
The Best Instagram Scrapers in 2023
Smartproxy offers a specialized Social Media Scraping API that covers the two most popular platforms – Instagram and TikTok. The tool allows you to scrape publicly available Instagram data points like profiles, follower count, usernames, posts, hashtags, and more.
You can integrate the scraper as a proxy server or use one of the two API methods. The synchronous approach lets you get real-time data, whereas the asynchronous method doesn’t require keeping an open connection, so you can retrieve data via webhook later.
Social Media Scraping API allows specifying geolocation, the content language, and comes with an in-built parser. You can scrape either the full HTML or graphQL, and receive structured data in JSON.
Smartproxy offers an API playground for live testing. You can build requests, see their output, and download code snippets. Additionally, the provider includes detailed GitHub code examples and a Postman collection for easier integration.
What’s more, the tool has no concurrency limits, so you can make an unlimited amount of requests. However, the API doesn’t support receiving data in batches.
- Web scraping tools: Specialized web scraping API.
- Locations: 195 with country-level targeting.
- Pricing model: based on successful requests.
- Data parsing: Yes.
- Pricing: Starts from $50 for 25,000 requests ($2/1,000).
Bright Data offers three Instagram scrapers: two general-purpose web scrapers and a pre-collected dataset.
Web Unlocker is a general-purpose web scraper that integrates as a proxy server. It automatically chooses the most appropriate proxies (whether datacenter or residential), and applies anti-detection techniques. The tool proved to be fast when targeting both the Instagram GraphQL endpoint (3.71s), and fully rendering profile pages (4.10s). However, it doesn’t have an in-built parser.
If that’s a sticking point, you can build an Instagram scraper with Bright Data’s Web Scraping IDE on the provider’s cloud platform. The tool has ready-made functions and HTML parsing (in Cheerio). Additionally, it offers many delivery options like API, Google Cloud, Webhook, and others.
Alternatively, you can go with a pre-collected dataset for Instagram if you don’t want to maintain your own scraper. You can get data points like followers, profiles, posts, and more. Bright Data offers an entire dataset, or you can customize a subset with different filters.
Bright Data’s service is packed with features that cost a lot, so some might find the service overpriced.
- Web scraping tools: General-purpose web scraper, proxy-based API, datasets.
- Locations: Global with city & country targeting.
- Pricing model: Based on successful requests.
- Data parsing: Yes, with datasets and Web Scraper IDE.
- Pricing: Starts at $500. Web Scraper IDE: $3.08/ 1,000 requests; Web Unlocker: $2.25/1,000 requests or pay as you go $3/1,000 requests; Dataset: $0.001/record. 7 days free trial for business clients.
Zyte API is a general-purpose web scraper that is fully capable of handling Instagram.
The tool is bundled with proxy management features like automatic IP rotation, retries, and ban detection. In addition, it can automatically select the right type of proxy and location based on the URL. There’s also an option to manually choose from 19 locations.
Enterprise clients can use a TypeScript API using Zyte’s cloud IDE for scripting browser actions like hovering on Instagram elements.
During our tests, Zyte API stood out when targeting Instagram’s GraphQL endpoint – it was the fastest, with an average response time of 2.59s.
- Web scraping tools: General-purpose web scraper.
- Locations: 19.
- Pricing model: Based on successful requests & optional features
- Data parsing: No.
- Pricing: From $25 with an option to pay as you go. 7 days free trial available.
Read the Zyte review or more information and performance tests.
Apify’s service comes with several no-code Instagram scrapers. They come as templates (Apify calls them actors) and let you collect specific data points like profiles, hashtags, or posts, You can use a template as-is, modify its code, or request a new one if needed.
It’s possible to integrate the scrapers with cloud services or web apps like Slack, GitHub, Google Drive, and more. Or, you can use webhooks and get notifications whenever the scraper is done with a run. What’s more, you can download your results as HTML, JSON, CSV, Excel, or XML.
Apify’s pricing is plan-based. Each plan comes with a fixed number of datacenter proxies, but residential IPs are available on demand. You can choose a free plan with 20 results and five comments if you need just a few results. Otherwise, you’ll have to commit to a monthly subscription which starts from $45/month.
The provider uses a credit-based pricing system, so it can get pricey to scrape Instagram. That’s because datacenter proxies won’t do, and you’ll have to pay extra for residential IPs.
- Web scraping tools: No-code scrapers.
- Locations: Unknown.
- Pricing model: Based on usage.
- Data parsing: Yes.
- Pricing: monthly plans starting from $49 with $49 platform credits and 30 shared datacenter proxies. A free plan with $5 platform credits is available.