[Study] 6 Image Qualities Which May Drive More Likes on Instagram

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For brands on Instagram, Likes don’t just represent engagement, they represent permission! Consumers who are liking an image that a brand produces are, in essence, inviting the brand into their life and acknowledging the brand’s creativity. Ultimately, this helps to create a more emotional connection. In effect, your brand is now in a screen along with consumers’ best friends.

Given the power of the “double-tap” on Instagram, Curalate was interested in discovering which types of image characteristics may drive more likes. In order to do so, we looked at a range of image features across 8,000,000 Instagram photos — including lightness, color, texture and background ratio — and found a few interesting results (see below). And although our data says what and not necessarily why, we have a strong hypothesis on the reasoning behind some of the results…

For instance, we found that images with a single dominant hue performed best. This is probably due to the fact that when you’re viewing an image just mere inches from your face, the absence of chaos can help you focus. Additionally, the fact that textured images generated more engagement could mean that various ridges and shadows grab eyeballs and cause a user to stop and take a harder look at a photo.

Regardless of our findings, if you’re a creative director, have no fear! It’s important to note that creativity will still trump the science and there is no formula for a “perfect” Instagram photo. However, this data certainly hints that brands and marketers should think about social platforms natively and understand that different platforms call for different types of content (especially given a similar study we conducted earlier this year to determine image features that spark sharing and engagement on Pinterest).

Have a look at some of the most interesting findings in the infographic below and let us know how you’re taking advantage of the data by posting a link to your Instagram or Pinterest account in the comments!

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