What Research Tells Us About Instagram Engagement

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Editors note: This Instagram research is current as of January 2017. We will continue to update the research and resulting action points as necessary. 


We know from Pew Research that,

  • 32% of all Americans in the US use Instagram,
  • Instagram use is highest among young adults (ages 18-29), particularly in comparison to other social media platform usage rates; 60% of Americans aged 18-29 use Instagram, and
  • Women use Instagram more than men (38% versus 26%). 


Pew Research found that more than half of Instagram brands and audiences log in daily to the platform and more than a third log in multiple times throughout the day. 

Audiences & Accounts

Recent research from LocowiseQuintly, and Chartbeat indicate that Instagram users participate — or engage — with what they're seeing far more than audiences on Facebook or Twitter. 

  • Locowise measured the average engagement per post on Instagram was 2.81%; on Facebook, engagement was 0.25%; and Twitter engagement was 0.21% per post.
  • Quintly measured engagement as interactions per post divided by number of followers; they found Instagram's interaction rate was 4.8 versus Facebook's interaction rate of 0.72. 
    • 96% of audience engagement on Instagram is in the form of "liking" a photo or video and the rest of engagement is via comments or direct messages. 
  • Brands on Instagram post an average of 2.3 times per day.
  • The average Instagram account grows followers by nearly 2% each month. 
The Instagram algorithm favors posts that have more engagement within the first few hours of being posted. This means that you need to share highly relevant and eye-catching content.
— Sprout Social


  • Your content needs to generate immediate engagement otherwise the Instagram algorithm will present the post later in audiences' feeds. 
  • Audiences engage more with photos on Instagram than with video. 
  • Instagram posts with 11 or more hashtags receive the most engagement. 
  • Telling your audience what to do — using words such as "like" and "comment" — results in 89% more likes and 2,194% more comments. 
  • Including hashtags and questions increases engagement over posts without them, but including exclamation marks decreases engagement. 

When to Post

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