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The rise and rise of Instagram: What publishers need to know

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Publishers are seeing a significant increase in engagement on new social media, especially on Instagram. Instagram is being seen as the fastest growing social platform for magazine media, and many publishers have seen substantial increases in follower count on Instagram, compared to almost negligible growth on Facebook and Twitter. 

Instagram’s impressive growth rate has now surpassed those of its once biggest rival – Snapchat – and its parent company, Facebook,” states the Instagram Engagement Report published by Hubspot.

The top 50 brands on Instagram now have the same audience size as the top 50 brands on Facebook, but the majority of user engagement happens on Instagram.

This is a key milestone for Instagram and points to how critical the platform is becoming. While the audience sizes are identical, the majority of the user engagement happens on Instagram.

The rise and rise of Instagram

According to the MPA (The Association of Magazine Media), Instagram has had the highest growth rate among the social networks it tracked (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) in the past three years. MPA’s latest social media report has found that magazines saw a 6.3% increase in follower growth on Instagram in the second quarter. 

This is a substantial figure considering that Instagram has over a billion monthly active users. The study covered 270 publishers across fashion, lifestyle, news, sports and technology publications.

From its side, Instagram is also trying to work more closely with publishers, especially with emerging media publishers, to help them find success on the platform. It has just launched an account dedicated to encouraging creators to publish more and longer content.

Insights from the Instagram Engagement Report

To figure out what works best on the platform, HubSpot and Mention analyzed 48,065,694 Instagram posts and 306,278 of the top Instagram users, and observed trends about engagement rates, hashtags, and other insights that can change the way publishers use Instagram.

Their findings include various details about the types of content that are getting the best engagement on the platform, how to calculate a publisher’s Instagram engagement rate, and specific strategies that can be used to build a following.

For example, video posts receive more than 2x more comments than other types of posts, and indiscriminate tagging does not increase engagement rates.

“If increasing your Instagram engagement rate is what you’re after, you’ll definitely want to focus on posting more video content. This means creating more permanent videos, Instagram Stories, and leveraging the Highlights section of your profile,” the report states. 

If you find it hard to create video content every day, you’ll still get a healthy overall engagement rate by posting a balance of image, carousel, and video content regularly.

Also, while hashtags have become extremely popular over the last few years, according to their findings, the results tell that using more hashtags actually decreases the average engagement rate. 

When it comes to hashtags, it’s not about quantity, but relevance. Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags in a post, but that doesn’t mean it’s beneficial for you to use that many.

Instagram Engagement Report

Another interesting finding is that while people are tagging users in their posts much more than before, the general Instagram community is becoming more desensitized to being tagged, and are less inclined to comment or like the tagged post than before.

Instagram posts with the highest amount of likes usually don’t contain tagged users… We found that tagging more than 5 users results in a drop off in likes.

Instagram Engagement Report

Here are some more Instagram statistics from the report, that can help publishers shape their strategy going forward.

For more details on Instagram best practices, click here to download the Instagram Engagement Report.