For the first time, we look at engagement rates with images and videos on Instagram, and find out that it frequently is far higher than on Facebook.
The Instagram heart is one of the most used buttons on the social web.
How do we know?
After having recently added Instagram accounts to Spike, we took a look at the app’s engagement data for the first time.
Some of the most popular posts on the platform get more likes and comments each month than any of the most viral posts on Facebook. At the top, the most engaged with pages are seeing hundreds of millions of likes on content every month.
These were the engagement numbers for ten of the top pages in our database at the end of June:
We were surprised to see the levels of engagement itself for some of the very top Instagram pages. All the top ten publishers in Spike had well over 50 million engagements over the month.
Of the big Instagram pages in our database, the majority of the most engaged pages were from celebrities. However, at the very top of our pile were two publishers – 9Gag and the National Geographic.
9Gag had over 171.3 million interactions on their 260 Instagram posts in June. That’s an astounding figure, and dwarves the engagement we’ve seen them achieve on Facebook.
The National Geographic had over 131.5 million engagements on their posts in June. One of their most popular posts over the month was the below picture of a baby penguin, which was liked over 772,000 times.
However, while some publishers, including BuzzFeed, the BBC, Vogue and more, have devoted efforts to building a presence on Instagram, celebrities and famous people of all backgrounds still reign supreme on Instagram.
The selfies and behind-the-scenes snaps of Justin Bieber, Kylie Jenner, Ariana Grande and more all see colossal engagement on the app.
As the above graph shows, the vast majority of the engagements for each of the sites were likes. Comments generally accounted for a minuscule percentage of the overall engagements, although the most commented pages still attract thousands of comments per month. Many of these comments are users tagging other handles to draw attention to the post.
Here’s a breakdown of the like/comment split for the top five pages in our database:
So, why are these engagement rates so high?
Some may point to the proliferance of spam accounts on the platform. Despite a well-publicised clear-out last year, recent research suggests that up to 8% of all Instagram accounts are still run by bots. But that’s still only a partial explanation.
Instagram posts don’t link to external sites or apps. If an Instagram user wants to express their interest or approval on a post, they have two main options – to like, via the Instagram heart icon, or to leave a comment on the image or video. This narrows down the range of possible reactions.
Secondly, all of the content posted on Instagram is made up of images and videos. When we looked at average engagement rates on different content types on Facebook, we found that the highest average interaction rates were on images and videos, over external links. No such external links exist in Instagram, meaning that all attention is focussed directly on the (usually eye-catching) visuals in front of them.
Finally, because of the focus on images and video, Instagram can be largely a language agnostic platform. While most of the statuses and links on Facebook require specific language knowledge depending on the source, Instagram’s users can still see things from foreign language accounts that they don’t necessarily need to read about to understand. Given that over 70% of Instagram users are outside the US, this is an important factor.
On top of this, Instagram users tend to be devoted. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that users spend an average of 21 minutes a day using the app.
Instagram claim to have 300 million+ active daily users, and 2.5 billion likes on posts every day. Meanwhile, our figures show the extremely low levels of images and videos posted by some of these accounts. The celebrities have the lowest – typically a few a week. Compare this to the flood of content being posted every day to Twitter and Facebook, and you get a sense of the level of interaction that Instagram users have with their feeds every day.
For more on what’s trending on Instagram, be sure to check out our guide to using Spike’s new Instagram feature.