What We Can Learn From 9 Million Instagram Posts

Besides being my personal favorite social platform, Instagram is now considered the best platform for customer engagement. The photo-sharing social network now boasts over one billion users who add 95 million posts daily. Despite Instagram’s popularity, it’s not always clear how brands, especially B2B companies, should use the platform. When it comes to Contently’s Instagram, our social strategy is a lot more culture-focused than the rest of our platforms. We also post much more sporadically than we do on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

To help brands understand what works best on Instagram, social media analytics company Quintly conducted a study of 44,432 business profiles and over 8.9 million posts.

Though a majority of posts were images, the study found that videos generate 21 percent more interactions. What’s also interesting is that carousels—posts that contain multiple images people swipe through—performed 2.2 percent better than single images. So if you have a whole album of stills after a company outing and you’re not sure which one to post, throw a bunch of them up for maximum engagement.


Despite Instagram’s reputation as a visual place, the study also showed that 31 percent of posts included lengthy captions of 300 words or more. Captions are almost as integral to the post as the image or video itself. Only one percent of the posts surveyed were text-free, and 71 percent of the posts used at least one hashtag. As for our favorite little cartoon images? About 55 percent percent of accounts surveyed didn’t use emojis at all, while 35.8 percent used between one and four in mosts posts.

As audiences become more accustomed to quality visual content, it’s important that brands don’t underestimate the impact Instagram can have. Whether your posts have long or short captions, slews of emojis or no images at all, your content needs to be original and honest to stand out among the millions of posts that users can come across every day.

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