From branded posts to viral videos to Stories, Instagram offers a wealth of opportunities for publishers and brands alike. In fact, Instagram ads have the potential to reach almost 850M per day and 58% of Instagram users claim to have become more interested in a brand/product after seeing it in Stories. In 2017, we looked at how top publishers in the U.S. were strategizing around both video and photos on the platform. Five years later, let’s see how these brands have been utilizing photos vs. videos.
Using the same top publishers that we had in 2017, we’ve measured Instagram photo and video use and engagement over the last month.
In the past month, ESPN had by far the most engaged photo on the platform. Their post announcing Tom Brady’s speculated retirement generated almost 2M total interactions (both likes and comments). Their official “breaking” announcement of the football star’s retirement hit 1.01M interactions. Bleacher Report’s post on Brady’s retirement also made the list.
Another hot topic was billionaire pop star and business mogul Rihanna’s pregnancy announcement with rapper ASAP Rocky. Vogue’s announcement on a photo of the two came in second on the most engaged photos of the last month with 1.16M engagements. E! News also posted the couple and rang up 879k interactions. Similar to Brady’s retirement, this news set the internet on fire, as the couple unleashed a surprise pregnancy photoshoot to announce their news.
Sports publishers had the most engaged photos by far, followed quietly by celebrity news and fashion publishers.
Comparing Photo to Video
Comparing photos to videos in 2022, we found a similar metric like we did in 2017.
While photos tended to drive more likes per post for the top publishers, videos drove more comments on average. This could be because with video, users are pausing and taking the time to view it. This creates a larger window of opportunity for engagements, rather than when users scroll through their feed and double-tap photos just to like them.
Vogue held the top four spots on the video chart, with their top post about Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox’s engagement. The video of their engagement was reposted by the fashion giant, reaching 1.42M engagements.
In a complete turnaround from the top photo engagements, Vogue and E! News retained the most interactions, followed behind by sports publishers. This may be because many sports fans use Instagram as more of a news source, and followers of lifestyle/fashion publishers follow them to see behind the scenes into the life of their favorite celebrity.
As a whole, only four of the same publishers from 2017 really stood out in today’s rankings. That could be a testament to their continued posting on socials, or just the fact that other publishers have fallen off in the past five years.
Obviously, the engagement is still there. Add in the success of Stories and Lives, and brands can continue to use Instagram to their advantage. The key is to be consistent: the more you post, the more engagement you’ll see.