July 4, 2016Published by: Drew Benvie

A look at the data behind how the biggest brands in the US use Instagram

The secret's out. The numbers are in. Use the Mayfair filter, ask a question, no exclamation marks, not too much content, and you'll do just fine on Instagram. That's according to new data that has been collated, crunched and released by TrackMaven on how the Fortune 500 companies use everyone's favourite Facebook-owned photo and video-sharing social network.

Precisely half of the biggest brands in the US, according to the report, are on Instagram. With the data accurate as of May 2016 and going back one year, the stats show some interesting trends, and some really whopping communities that the largest brands have amassed.

What's clear is that for consumer brands, there is a huge global following to tap into on Instagram, as you can see from the largest brand followings, such as the streets-ahead Nike which leads the way with 53.8 million followers and half a million interactions per upload, and then Starbucks which comes in second place with 9.8 million followers.

Starbucks Instagram

In summary, the key learnings from the greatest in the states-est are as follows:

  • Starbucks has the most engaging content of all Fortune 500s, perpetuating the notion that everyone loves a bit of latte art on Instagram. Generally, food and drink content comes across as highly engaging Instagram content, although other 'most engaging' brands include Old Spice, The North Face and Southwest Airlines.
  • Footlocker posts the most, at 3.5 times a day on average.
  • Nike has the largest following at 50m followers (updated, this is now 53.8m) and 500k interactions per piece of content.
  • Time of day and day of the week have a huge impact on engagement. Weekdays are noisy, as are 'office hours'. Weekdays are roughly twice as active as weekends, and 9am - 8pm are the busiest posting times. Peak posting takes place at midday.
  • To get the most engagement, post on a Sunday. And the best hours to post for increasing engagement are 10pm - 2am, according to the data.
  • IGers should think carefully about the impact of punctuation alongside hashtags. Exclamation marks have a negative impact on engagement, whereas a question mark has just as big an affect on engagement as a hashtag.
  • The most used filters are Juno, Lark and Clarendon. The filters that have the biggest positive impact on engagement are Mayfair, Hefe and Ludwig.

For more data and insights, you can view the Fortune 500 Instagram report by TrackMaven in full here.

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