Have you ever wondered how influencers, marketers and savvy Instagram users somehow know who you recently followed on Instagram? Or are you someone looking to gain similar insights into the activity of other Instagram accounts?
If so, you‘ve come to the right place! Seeing who someone newly followed on Instagram can be very tricky, but not impossible with the right tools and techniques.
In this detailed guide, we‘ll uncover exactly how to view recent Instagram follows, the most effective methods and apps to use in 2023, tips from Instagram pros, and how to be discrete and ethical while satisfying your Instagram intel curiosity!
Why Do You Want to See Someone‘s Recent Instagram Follows?
Before we dig into how to see recent followers, let‘s discuss why someone may want this insider information in the first place.
Parents Monitoring Children‘s Activity
According to a Pew Research study, 81% of teens ages 13 to 17 use Instagram. With many underage kids active on the platform, parents have an understandable desire to monitor their activity and follows.
But kids often keep their Instagram accounts private from parents. So moms and dads resort to creating their own dummy accounts to stealthily see who their children recently followed in order to gain insights into their interests, influences and online friend groups.
Relationship Trust Issues
Over 200 million Instagram users engage with "#relationship" posts and 90 million with "#breakup" – so it‘s no surprise that romantic partners facing trust issues want to check on each other‘s recent Instagram activity.
Partners may create secret accounts to covertly monitor if their significant other is following or interacting with other romantic interests. While ethically questionable, this method allows partners to gather intel on fidelity and recent relationships developed on Instagram.
Influencer and Brand Research
75% of Instagram users follow at least one business account and 60% say they discover new products on the app. This makes Instagram a goldmine for influencer research.
Influencers, businesses and social media marketers use follower tracking to identify what accounts their audience is interested in following and engaging with. This competitive analysis allows them to find relevant influencers to collaborate with and brands that resonate with their followers.
General Nosy Friends
In some cases, people just want the gossip and to be nosy! Beyond utility, some individuals enjoy tracking follows out of sheer curiosity into the lives and interests of their friends or random Instagram personalities.
Gaining visibility into recent follows provides insight into someone‘s relationships, preferences and current influences without directly asking. The perception of discreetly "following the follower" is appealing to those looking to casually indulge their curiosity about others‘ digital footprints.
Why You Can‘t Simply See New Follows on Instagram
If checking who someone newly followed on Instagram is so useful, why doesn‘t the platform make it easy?
The answer comes down to how Instagram‘s algorithm works and the company‘s efforts to limit social media stalking…
Unlike Facebook and Twitter which show all follows in strict chronological order, Instagram deliberately obscures the order of follows so you can‘t easily identify new ones.
Some key reasons why:
User Privacy – Instagram wants to give users more control over their visibility and digital footprints. Showing follows chronologically makes it too easy to monitor activity.
Engagement Focus – Instagram prioritizes showing you accounts with high engagement and interaction rates between each user. Newer follows get hidden lower.
Combat Social Media Stalking – Instagram actively tries to discourage stalking behaviors by making it difficult to chronologically audit someone‘s activity.
Increase Addictiveness – Some cynically argue that Instagram wants to promote addictive social media stalking while also frustrating the ability to actually gain insights, driving more passive app usage.
So in summary, Instagram‘s algorithm is designed to intentionally hide chronological information and particularly obscure new follows. This forces those who want to gain insights into recent activity to seek out alternative methods.
Actionable Ways to See New Instagram Follows
Fortunately, with the right tools and techniques, uncovering recent Instagram follows is possible. Here are the most effective methods Instagram pros use:
1. Leverage Accounts Showing Follows Publicly
Some Instagram accounts publicly display their new followers for everyone to see. For example:
Engagement Pods – These groups of accounts agree to follow and like each other‘s content. They‘ll often post new members of the pod which can reveal if your person of interest has joined.
Influencer Accounts – Large influencers trying to grow their audience will thank new followers in posts or stories which shows their @handles.
Business Giveaways – Brands running follow-to-win contests will post lists of new followers. Check if your target appears.
Monitoring these types of accounts that publicly share their recent followers can allow you to identify if someone you‘re tracking starts following them. This confirms they are among the new followers.
2. Use Third-Party Instagram Follower Trackers
Dedicated Instagram follower tracking tools are designed specifically for uncovering recent follow activity chronologically. For example:
IGExport – This free Chrome extension lets you input an Instagram @handle and export a report of their followers/following ordered by most recent first.
Snoopreport – A paid service that tracks an Instagram account‘s activity history including follows and sends scheduled reports to your email.
Social Bear – Browser plugin tracks all Instagram activity on a profile including new follows and liking sprees. Paid "Pro" access unlocks additional analytics.
Social Blade – Enter an @handle to see daily follower growth graphs leaked through the Instagram API along with estimated earnings. Useful for macro-trends.
These tools rely on leaked API data and analysis techniques to uncover underlying activity and circumvent Instagram‘s obfuscation of follows.
3. Check Profile Bios and Posts
Some Instagram users proactively list related accounts they follow in their profile bio or directly tag new follows in posts welcoming them.
For example, an influencer‘s bio might say "Follow my friends below!" with a list of @handles. Or someone‘s post may say "Shoutout to my new friend @awesome_account."
Checking profile bios and scanning recent posts can sometimes reveal newly followed accounts called out directly like this.
4. Send a Follow Request to Unlock Follows
This sneaky technique involves sending the target account a Follow Request from your own dummy account.
If they accept your request, you‘ll then have access to view their full Following list ordered by most recent first. Instagram always shows your own follow‘s lists chronologically.
The main risk here is that they may question who your dummy account is if you‘re trying to covertly monitor their activity. So use sparingly.
5. Look for Early Engagement with New Follows
Some Instagram users have a habit of immediately engaging with accounts right after following them – liking posts, commenting a quick welcome, clicking links in bios, etc.
If you notice new suspicious engagement on old posts, there‘s a good chance that user was recently followed. Use this signal to identify potential new follows.
6. Follower Tracker Email Reports
The most effective way to passively monitor recent Instagram activity is using a paid follower tracking service like Snoopreport that sends scheduled email reports.
Rather than manually checking daily, you‘ll get new follows and account updates delivered directly to your inbox on whatever cadence you choose – daily, weekly, etc. Just set it and forget it!
Case Study: Using IGExport to See Recent Follows
To see these follower tracking tools in action, let‘s walk through a real example using the popular IGExport browser extension:
Search "IGExport" on Google Chrome and click Add to Chrome to install the extension.
Click the IGExport extension icon and pin it to your toolbar for easy access whenever on Instagram.
Search for the target Instagram profile you want to monitor – e.g. "@awesome_account".
Highlight and copy the @handle of the profile.
Go to IGExport, paste the @handle into the search bar and select Followers or Following.
Voila! IGExport will export a spreadsheet with the account‘s followers or follows ordered by most recent first so you can see all new activity.
You can even filter and search for specific @handles you‘re tracking.
IGExport makes recent Instagram follows visible at a glance in a way the app itself tries to conceal. And it‘s 100% free!
For even more insights, you can pay $9/month for a premium IGExport subscription which includes:
- Historical follower data and graphs to spot changing growth trends.
- Schedule automated email reports of new activity.
- Export story and post viewers to see who‘s lurking!
IGExport is one of the quickest and easiest ways to see who someone has recently followed on Instagram.
While these techniques empower you to see new Instagram follows, it‘s also important to consider the ethics and privacy implications. Here are some best practices when leveraging follower trackers:
Ask permission first before tracking someone‘s activity to be transparent. Avoid "stalking from the shadows".
Limit passive tracking like automated emails which can feel intrusive if done excessively. Periodic spot checks are less invasive.
Don‘t assume mal-intent if someone follows an odd account – focus on objective insights not jumping to conclusions.
Protect usernames by not sharing any specific details learned through tracking without permission.
Use aggregate data instead like general topic patterns rather than obsessing over individual follows.
The ability to see new Instagram follows must be balanced with respect for user privacy and discretion in how any information gleaned is actually applied.
Key Takeaways for Seeing Recent Follows
Gaining visibility into who someone recently followed on Instagram takes the right know-how:
Instagram‘s algorithm hides follows non-chronologically, so have to use workarounds.
Check accounts that show follows publicly, use third-party tracker tools, or send a follow request yourself to gain access.
Browser extensions like IGExport reveal follows ordered by newest first.
Enable email reports to passively monitor new activity over time.
Be thoughtful and ethical when leveraging the intel. Focus on general insights.
While Instagram tries to conceal your digital footprint, crafty Instagrammers have found ways to uncover recent follows. Now you can tap into these tips and tools to satiate your Instagram intel appetite – just remember to follow the trail ethically!