Social Media

How to Get More Likes and Comments on Instagram, According to Science

Mihir Patkar 10-06-2015

Instagram is awesome. It’s got a great story of becoming a billion-dollar company in two years $1 Billion In 2 Years: The Story Of Instagram, As Told By Its Founders "What are some good places to get professional business cards printed?" When Kevin Systrom put this innocuous question on Quora 3.5 years ago, little did he know how valuable those business cards would become. Read More . Its fantastic filters make amateurs look good. It’s an environment where pros engage with you directly. It’s just a photography lover’s delight. If you’re part of the community and are looking to get more likes, more comments and more followers, science has a few tips for you.


Most of these studies have been focussed on photos, but a lot of the principles would apply to making videos too. Of course, it would help to know how to create unforgettable Instagram videos 8 Ways to Create Unforgettable Instagram Videos Creating an Instagram video is easy. Making it unforgettable, however, is a lot tougher. Fortunately there are various tips and tricks that you can use to help you create a video to make an impression. Read More in the first place.

Use Filters That Add Contrast and Warmth


Instagram is all about those wonderful filters. As you might expect, using the right filter is one of the best ways to get noticed on Instagram These 10 Tips Will Help You Get Noticed on Instagram If you only have a handful of followers on Instagram and aren't receiving the likes or comments that you want, these tips will definitely help. Read More . But which is the right filter? Obviously, there is no one perfect answer, but studies have shown an indication of what you should use.

Yahoo Labs researcher Saeideh Bakshi and others analyzed 7.6 million Flickr photos (more than half of which were from Instagram) and interviewed 15 mobile app users for their study. What they found that the highest engagement happens in photos which exude warmth and highlight contrast. What does that mean? Here’s an example from Bakshi’s paper:



The takeaway is that you need to choose filters like Sepia, which add warmth to your photos, or go for high-contrast filters like Graphite or Noir. The researchers also noted that you should avoid filters that add artifacts in the image and lose details.

Social media research firm TrackMaven conducted a study of how brands use Instagram. According to their experts, the filters Mayfair and Inkwell drive a high number of likes and comments, with Mayfair bringing in on average 23.044 interactions per 1,000 followers.

These studies were conducted before Instagram introduced five new filters Meet Instagram's Five New Filters (And Learn What They Are Best For) Photography social network Instagram has issued a new update, which brings five new filters, the ability to reorder the filters, and thumbnail previews. Instagram is releasing new filters for the first time in two years. Read More , so those aren’t taken into account. But the principles involved remain the same: add warmth, boost contrast, and don’t lose details.

Focus On Faces to Draw Engagement



If you think Instagram is just a photo app with filters, you’re wrong. Instagram is all about the community Instagram Isn't a Photography App, It's a Community [Opinion] Over the past month, there's been a renewed deluge of articles arguing over Instagram's merit as a photography tool. Every so often, tech bloggers, photographers and journalists come together in a discussion over the merits... Read More , and the sooner you realize that it’s the users who make the app worth it, the sooner you will be able to get more likes.

Last year, Bakshi and his research team studied over a million Instagram photos and found that photos with human faces were more likely to get likes and comments than those without. The age, gender, or number of the people in the photo didn’t affect the statistics. And they are significant statistics: photos with faces were 38% more likely to receive likes and 32% more likely to receive comments, even after controlling for social network reach and activity.

So make sure you have people in your shots. If you can’t get people, turn that lens around and take a good-looking self portrait Don't Look Silly: 4 Tips For Taking Great Self-Portraits, And What To Avoid By no means am I a male model. So, it is not without some hesitation that I embark down a road giving people advice on how to take a better self portrait. Then again, having... Read More —and don’t forget to hashtag it with #selfie.

5 Hashtags is the Golden Number



Speaking of hashtags, users have a tendency to overuse or underuse this feature. It’s not surprising, considering some of the unusual but entertaining hashtags on Instagram 10 Unusual Hashtags You Need To Follow On Instagram In the crowded space of Instagram, it is the quirky photos that draw the eye. Follow these ten unusual hashtags if you like your photos to be a little bit off the beaten track. Read More . Still, there is a sweet spot.

TrackMaven’s research into how Fortune 500 companies used Instagram showed “there is a strong correlation to the number of hashtags used and effectiveness; up to 5 hashtags, which has the highest average at 21.21 interactions per 1000 followers.

That said, Instagram hashtags can be cryptic A Guide to the Instagram Hashtags No One Understands Are you confused by the hashtags on Instagram? Here's everything you need to know about the meanings of various Instagram hashtags. Read More , so you need to know what to use and when to use it. For example, if you have an old photo that you want to highlight, don’t just post it; wait for Thursday to roll around and tag it with #tbt (Throwback Thursday), one of the most popular Instagram hashtags. That will drive more engagement and even get you some new followers.

Don’t Worry About Your Caption’s Length



Unlike Twitter and its 140-character limit, Instagram allows for lengthy captions up to 2,200 characters. Yet, many people think they should go for a shorter caption because Instagram cuts off the caption preview at about 240 characters. Well, you don’t need to do that.

Analyzing several prominent Instagram accounts, research firm Simply Measured found that “there is no statistically significant correlation between caption length and engagement.” In fact, they recommend using the caption space to add value to the visual, but without being unnecessarily wordy.

Of course, the caption will include hashtags, but apart from that, Simply Measured also found that posts which tagged another user handle in the caption got 56% more engagement. The same study also found that tagging your location got 79% higher engagement.

All of the Above in One Post a Day


Do you upload multiple photos and videos in a single day? Your engagement might be dropping because of that, according to research by Iconosquare. After analyzing 39 billion interactions and talking to 16,000 Instagrammers, the specialist Instagram analysts found a direct correlation between how much you post daily and the engagement you get.

“Daily publication of 0.5 to 1 post generates the highest levels of engagement by the fan base, in the region of 7.3%. This level falls off to around 5% for a frequency of between 1 and 2 posts/day. Above 3 posts it is very low, with an average engagement of 2.4%,” — Iconosquare

Now, you need to make that one post count. So it’s about using all the aforementioned tips and making that single post awesome!

What’s Your Single Best Instagram Tip?

Science aside, let’s not forget that Instagram is about the community, so we want to hear from the people. If you had to share one, and just one, tip on how to use Instagram well, what would it be?

Image Credits: tulpahn /, matraz / OpenClipArt, Instagram, irfanahmad1989 / Pixabay

Related topics: Instagram, Photo Sharing.

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  1. Poppy and Claude
    February 5, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Is switching to a business account a bad idea? Engagement has dropped and tags are not showing up. IG = poppyandclaude

  2. jaylen-downer
    August 26, 2017 at 8:22 am

    I would just baaaarely insert the cartridge so it snaped in when you pressed down, worked every

  3. Benjiphi
    April 15, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Hi, please tell me where i should leave my hashtags on? On caption or the first comment?

  4. Paul Roayle
    October 25, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Nice tips!I tried a lot of things and approaches to gain more followers. The best was - it's special service with some algorithm that helps you to find real and active followers in your town. Good luck!

  5. AlphaGraphs
    November 14, 2015 at 5:31 am

    Ok so I have over 15,00 followers. I post my work mostly, and of course I like other users post if I really like them. Though I’ll tell my clients and friends to go follow me every blue moon but rarley. And instagram is @AlphaGraphs

    • BridgemanTV
      July 3, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      I have 1700 followers on Instagram, we upload daily and try like others decent pictures. We are a gaming channel and we write back to every single comment. But progress is near to nothing. Our Instagram is BridgemanTV

  6. Anonymous
    June 12, 2015 at 6:16 am


  7. Anonymous
    June 11, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Let me add something - Go to your hashtags, browse through the uploaded pics and like / comment them.
    Trust me. Chances of them liking back your pics ARE TOO DAMN HIGH! ;)

    • Mihir Patkar
      July 31, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      Nice one!