Two analytical techniques – secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and glow discharge mass spectrometry (GDMS) – were applied for depth profile analysis of ion-implanted nickel alloy inconel 600. Ion implantation with nitrogen, titanium, chromium and yttrium was performed in order to modify surface, mechanical and chemical properties. Implantation parameters were as follows: acceleration voltage 65 kV, ion fluence 1–2 mA/cm2. Series of ion implanted foils were then depth profiled using the two techniques applying ion sputtering. SIMS analysis was performed using 16 mm rods QMA-410 Balzers quadrupole mass spectrometer and Physical Electronics ion gun (3 keV Ar+ ion beam directed at 45 deg to the surface). GDMS analysis was done with 6 mm rods SRS-300 quadrupole spectrometer. Ion sputtering was performed due to glow discharge in ~0.1 Torr Ar with 1.5 kV DC voltage supplied to cathode (analysed sample). SIMS and GDMS data are quantified using internal standard method (main component elements) as well as ion implantation parameters. The two methods show similar distributions of ion-implanted species: N, Ti and Y. Also the depletion-enrichment of alloy components like Cr, Mn, Fe and Ni is observed in the 0–300 nm sputtering range using both methods. Nickel depletions, as well as chromium and manganese enrichments, are registered by both GDMS and SIMS. However, quantitation of these effects is difficult due to the strong mass interference of the polyatomic ions. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.