Corporate Eye

Nearly 9 out of 10 of the Top 100 Global Brands are on Instagram

instagram app iconThe Simply Measured Q3 2014 Instagram study reveals that 86% of the top 100 global brands, according to Interbrand’s annual ranking, have Instagram accounts. Of those top brands that are on Instagram, 76% post at least one photo or video per week. Back in 2012, Simply Measured reported that only 54% of the top brands were on Instagram.

Leading brands are spending time on Instagram for good reasons. Their audiences are growing and engagement is growing even more! During the third quarter of 2014, the average Instagram post by the top 100 brands averaged 18,822 likes and comments, which is double the number of likes and comments received one year ago and 12-times more than two years ago. The average engagement per post grew by 416% since 2012.

Engagement Rates are on the Rise

Engagement rates rise when posts include hashtags.
The Simply Measured study found that posts which include at least one hashtag average 12.6% higher engagement rates than posts without a hashtag. The top 100 brands are actively using hashtags. During the third quarter of 2014, 88% of the top 100 brands’ Instagram posts included hashtags.

Engagement rates also rise when posts include @mentions in photo captions.
In its research, Simply Measured found that the average caption length among posts published by the top 100 brands is 138 characters and includes one hashtag. However, only 36% of captions by the top 100 brands included another user’s name as an @mention. This is a missed opportunity given that Simply Measured found on average, posts which include at least one other user name in the caption have 56% higher engagement levels.

Engagement rates also rise when posts are tagged with a location.
Simply Measured found that posts published by the top 100 brands which were tagged with a location had an average engagement level that was 29% higher than posts that did not include locations.

Which Brand Industries are Finding Success on Instagram?

Simply Measured also looked at Instagram use by the top 100 brands to determine which industries are having the most success. During the third quarter of 2014, media brands were more active with 62 more posts published per month. Media brands also had higher engagement levels with 5,084 likes and comments.

However, it’s important to put these numbers in perspective. Only 34 of the top 100 global brands have more than 100,000 followers on Instagram. Of course, this is nearly three times the number that had more than 100,000 followers back in 2012 (13 brands), but the numbers are still relatively small in comparison to what brands are getting on Facebook and even Twitter.

What do you think about these research results? How has your brand leveraged Instagram (or is Instagram not in your marketing plan)? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Image: Jason Howie licensed CC BY 2.0

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.