Social analytics platform Quintly published a study this year on post performance on Instagram. This study analysed over 34 000 Instagram business profiles, and over 5.4 million Instagram posts, which had been published between Tuesday, 11 January and Sunday, 30 June 2019. 

The report was officially published in September and provides a current perspective on what is working for brands’ Instagram posts at the moment. With Instagram’s ever-changing algorithms and experiments such as hiding likes, the platform as we know it is shifting fast.

Here are the four main points from the report that will help brands boost their Instagram post performance:

1. Post types

Quintly’s research team found that, despite the rising popularity of videos on Instagram, images are still the most popular post type (by a significant margin) for brands on the platform. 

Around 68% of all content posted by brands are images, with 18% of their content being videos and 14% being carousel posts (when you can post more than one image in one post).

Image source: Quintly

These stats aren’t all that surprising, as it is much easier to create an aesthetic still image post than to come up with, create and edit good video content. 

However, videos receive 49% more engagement than image posts. Carousel posts receive 24.9% more interaction than image posts. 

Image source: Quintly

Despite these numbers, the popularity of still images over videos means that many brands are missing the mark when it comes to utilising the opportunities on the platform.  

Brands need to be looking beyond image posts if they want to maximise their Instagram performance. Even carousels see significantly more engagements than single, still images. Incorporating videos and carousel posts are worth considering to boost engagement on your Instagram page. 

2. Post length

The study found that the majority of brands use more than 150 characters for each of their post captions, and any even used over 300 characters!

Image source: Quintly

For larger profiles (ones with more than a million followers), the data showed that having no caption was actually the best option to encourage engagement. 

However, this did not carry on to smaller profiles, where captions of between one and 50 characters saw the best engagement. Only 6.6% of brands actually keep to this character limit. 

Image source: Quintly

Therefore, shorter captions are better than lengthy captions. But many brands are not currently adhering to this and are instead writing captions of 150 characters and over. 

3. Emojis

Emojis are a staple for most personal Instagram profiles, but Quintly found that the majority of brand profiles are currently not using any emojis in their Instagram post captions. 

Image source: Quintly

But according to the findings of the study, they should be! The data showed that “the higher the number of emojis used, the higher the amount of interactions.” 

Image source: Quintly

Emojis may feel unnatural for many brands as they are seen as being less formal and more conversational. But brands need to remember that no one goes onto Instagram to be formal or super professional; it is a platform that allows people to express themselves in a more conversational and informal way. 

The numbers suggest that it is at least worth trying to incorporate emojis into your brand’s posts. 

4. Hashtags

Hashtags are often viewed as a tool to bring in new followers and therefore encourage more engagement. 

It is unsurprising then that smaller brands tend to use more hashtags than larger businesses. This makes logical sense as larger brands don’t really need to use hashtags to increase their distribution. 

Image source: Quintly

Quintly’s report showed that smaller brand profiles that use more hashtags actually do see better engagement rates per post.

Image source: Quintly

When it comes to hashtags, it seems as if brands have hit the nail on the head. They have figured out that the larger their audience, the less they need hashtags, but for the majority, using more hashtags is a much better way to go as an easy way to ensure their Insta page is #lit.

What else do you think brands should do to increase their Instagram post engagement? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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Now that your Insta post engagement will be soaring, why not check out our Infographic: How to make your brand’s Instagram Story stand out. 
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy