In the world of Instagram, there is always something up for discussion. Lately there has been a lot of talk as to whether you should use bots or not, and how to use automation to your advantage. Of course there is a big difference between using a comment bot and an auto-responder bot for your messages. Since it breaks the rules of the terms and conditions Instagram has laid out, automation is also considered a no-no. So, we are left to find a way to beat the system and find tools to help our business. That solution is an Instagram planner, so we will dive into the debate: Later vs Planoly
An Instagram planner allows you to pre-plan all of your posts, see them in a preview grid of what it will look like on your feed, prepare the captions and hashtags in advance, and send you a reminder when you have set it to post. You can get everything ready beforehand except for the actual physical posting of the image. That’s how you use the loophole to your advantage.
I personally spend about an hour every month and plan out my posts for the next 4 weeks. Sometimes I will leave place-holders when I know I am going to be at a business event or something important is happening that day that I don’t have the photo for yet, but the captions are pre-formulated and ready-to-go.
Later vs Planoly
There are a few different software options out there that allow for this service, so I figured I would put the top two to the test. I put PLANOLY and LATER through rigorous challenges, used them consistently and simultaneously for a year, and I have come out with one clear winner. Both have a free option, and paid upgrades, but for the purpose of this review, I have used the free versions.
Benefits & Downfalls of Instagram Planners
First things first, the pros & cons list for each:
Planoly (previously Planogram)
- allows up to 30 scheduled posts per month
- allows you to upload up to 30 images per month
- allows for you to write a limited number of comments on your desktop
- basic analytics
Later (previously Latergramme)
- allows up to 30 scheduled posts per month*
- no limit on uploads to the platform
- allows for you to write unlimited comments on your desktop
- basic analytics
*with referrals, you can earn up to 150 extra posts monthly –> click here for an extra 10 as my gift to you!
At first glance, they are very close, and it could easily come down to the layout you prefer of the website on your desktop. Both apps are very similar, and integrate well with the Instagram platform (your phone send you a notification to post), you just have to make sure you are logged in to the correct account on your phone. Both desktop versions allow for you to re-post user-generated-content or upload your own, like and make comments on others’ photos, and analyze your stats. The one thing to notice, would be the monthly calendar views. While both programs have it, only Later shows the thumbnails of the scheduled post, and since Instagram is a very visual tool it takes the win. Or rather, it would have, had the mobile app had the option to view the analytics, but only Planoly does.
First things first, they are both compliant to the Instagram terms of no automated posts, so you do have to pull out your phone to paste the caption and click the “share” button, but other than that, it’s as automated as you are legally allowed to get.
Both apps and desktop versions allow for you to upload media from a variety of sources, including your device and other user-generated-content. At the time this article is published, Later actually requires you to keep the photo credit tagged (@) in the post, which I am a HUGE fan of so that when people re-post your images without your permission they at least have to give credit (word to the wise, ALWAYS get permission from others before publishing their content, credited or not). One benefit on the Planoly app is built-in placeholders so you don’t have to upload a fake image, you can simply use a solid colour block to mark the space in your calendar / feed for when you will upload your content later, and the option to use free stock images. This greatly helps to combat their limit of 30 uploads per month limit. On the Later side of things, you are allowed to upload an unlimited number of media items, and they only limit you on what you actually schedule. I have personally uploaded a solid image once with the word placeholder on it, and I just use it whenever I need to and never need to worry about missing the reminder of having to draft a caption on the fly. Both programs allow for you to schedule as far out as you need, which is absolutely great for seasonal posts or important-themed-days (like National Coffee Day or Halloween) that can be prepared in advance and set-to-forget, BUT they do count towards the monthly quota when you upload them to the schedule. While they are very similar, the upload limit kills it for Planoly right off the bat for me because I like to upload all my media at once and plan from there, but if you only post once or twice a week this may not be a giant factor for you right now.
Strategize & Engage
When it comes to giving a purpose to your content and create a strategic 9-grid, Later is your choice. They have a drag & drop feature on their preview that the others lack, and this is a must-have feature of which I frequently take advantage. The other downfall for Planoly is that they only let you interact with a limited number of users and comments. Want to reply to a comment on your post? You are better off opening up Instagram and doing it that way because they limit you to FIVE responses per month on the free version on Planoly. Another HUGE win for Later!
This is the biggest downfall of the free version, as you can only see a limited time worth of statistics, but affect both apps equally so the fact alone was not considered as part of the comparison. Later offers the basic analytics of the last 30 days, and displays your all time stats for followers, following, and comments received. Planoly offers the additional statistic of all-time likes received. That being said, the layout in which the stats are displayed is far easier to understand and see at first-glance on Later with their two sections of “likes generated in past 30 days” and “comments generated in past 30 days” that each include a bar graph of daily stats for the last 10 posts, the summary of likes/comments received vs new posts published and the average per post, in addition to the actual top 6 images with the best stats. On the Planoly side, all you get is your top 5 posts for likes and top 5 posts for comments. That being said, the analytics are actually not available at all on the mobile version of Later, while they are on the Planoly mobile app. This pretty much negates any advantage of the added stats if you can only view them on a desktop, and I would give the win to Planoly.
Overall Final Verdict
All in all, you need to look at your business and decide which features are the most important for you, but on the sheer fact that you can drag & drop your images to your heart’s content, with no limit on your uploads, and actively engage with your followers all in one place without being tied down to your phone, hands-down I give LATER the win on this one!
I would love to know your opinions or if you have any other loopholes we can take advantage of. Go ahead and share in the comments below!
UPDATE: New blog post is being published with the new releases since this was published. Coming MARCH 2018!