January 18, 2019Published by: Delia Howe

What’s the crack? How an Instagram ‘egg’ broke records

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Judging by the number of likes, the egg. If you haven’t yet ‘liked’ or seen the Instagram 'egg' account that broke the internet this week, you're either not on Instagram or you've been living under a rock.

All yolks aside, the Instagram egg has been one of the most surprising social stories of 2019. On January 4, an anonymous Instagram user – @world_record_egg – announced their intention to beat Kylie Jenner’s record of having the most 'liked' photo on the platform. The picture in question is Kylie’s first photo of her newborn Stormi holding her finger, which has had more than 18 million likes since it was posted on February 6, 2018.

To make this happen, the newly created account posted an image of a simple egg. What happened next has made social media history. The image was tagged with publications such as the Daily Mail, Sky News and LADbible, as well as TV presenters such as Ellen Degeneres and Jimmy Fallon, who usually discuss memes and viral posts on their shows. Currently, the Instagram egg post has amassed 48.1 million likes and 2.7 million comments, and is rising faster than I can type.

Insta impact

The egg has become such a viral sensation that individuals and brands have piggybacked on the attention from media and users alike to increase reach and engagement on their own channels. Many have added popular hashtags or mentioned the egg, while several fashion and beauty brands have gone one step further and produced their own egg-themed content. Fashion Nova, Burberry and Tarte Cosmetics offer just a few egg-cellent examples.

Beyond the staggering number of likes and comments on the post, this simplest of Instagram accounts, which has only made one post – the initial pic of the egg – has amassed 7.6 million followers. In addition, the egg has been featured in memes, GIFs, branded content, countless news articles and, most importantly, garnered fame and worldwide attention.

From a media perspective, the egg has earned widespread national coverage, including the BBC, Evening Standard, Daily Mail and The Independent, to name a few. The Independent even went as far as to estimate how much the account could charge per post – a staggering £250,000.  

Such is the infamy of the egg, the account has also established an online merchandise store. Egg-branded products are available to buy for a limited time of 24 hours per design collection, with 10% of the sales revenue going towards a charity of the day. Clearly, whoever hatched this plan is an all-round good egg.

Egg statistics

The Instagram egg has been an unprecedented viral success, but it’s not finished yet. Since I began writing this blog, @world_record_egg has soared from being 18th top global Instagram account to sixth in the rankings*.

In response to the Instagram egg, Kylie Jenner has posted a video of herself cracking an egg, captioned with the phrase, “Take this little egg”. Kylie’s response has got 33.1 million likes – almost double that of her previous record, but now still well behind the egg-straordinary post that has captured the world’s imagination.

To get an idea of the scale of these numbers, here are the metrics for the account as of 12.15pm GMT, January 18:

  • Engagement rate: 661.91%
  • Total followers to date: 7,666,702
  • Slightly more women (51%) than men (49%) follow this account
  • Users aged 18-24 constitute 48% of the audience

There are many lessons to be learned about how social media works by observing how users react to content, and the egg proved that you don’t need to have an important reason or purpose to go viral – it just needs to appeal to the majority of users, have a strong hook or humorous take, and probably involve the Kardashians.

* Metrics and rankings taken from Instagram audit tool, HypeAuditor.

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