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7 Data-Proven Insights for Top-Performing Instagram Content

By: Jeff Bullas


waterdrop instagram

This colorful platform has witnessed more than 1 billion users to date and more than half a billion active users on a monthly basis, as shown by Statista.

Instagram stories are a hit among users. Did you know that around half a billion population post stories every day?

These facts and figures also prove that this unconventional social media site helps in giving its users a massive organic read, a feat that hardly any other platform can claim.

To say that Instagram can be a potent tool for businesses and aspiring marketers, would be an understatement.

If you are planning to up your game on this social media platform and ensure that your Instagram content stands out from the crowd, you need to plan a robust content strategy.

And have some tricks up your sleeve.

Luckily, recent data has shown some remarkable insights –  therein lies your secret of achieving maximum Instagram engagement.

Here’s what the stats say about optimizing your Instagram content.

1. Post more top-performing organic content

Any good marketer knows that ads alone cannot keep engagement up on a long-term basis.

That’s where great, competitive organic content steps in.

According to Instagram analytics studies, carousels can provide better engagement than a single picture or video clip.

Carousels can get you an average of 1.92% engagement rate in every post.

Videos also fair well because of the continuous flow of visuals and information.

The Instagram engagement of video clips is pegged at 1.45% for each post, while single pictures can give you an engagement rate of 1.74%.

On the other hand, when you weave a story through a series of images and clips in a single post, viewers get hooked to it.

These statistics show that the concept of the carousel gets more user engagement and hence you should resort more to creating them.

However, that doesn’t mean that 90% of your content strategy should consist of carousel posts.

Find a balance between these three types of posts that work best for your audience. And let carousels be the spice in your content strategy

Start creating attractive carousels to hook the people into your value proposition.

2. Get creative with carousels

Out of the millions of posts present on Instagram, carousels claim around 19.44% of them.

Stay ahead of the game by finding new, creative ways of using carousels.

You can top it up by posting stories of your carousels which might prompt viewers to check your original posts.

What’s more, Instagram allows you to upload 10 images or video clips in a single post where viewers can swipe to check the next offering.

This opens up a lot of opportunities for users to be at their creative best.

Here are some ways which can help you make your carousels get good Instagram engagement:

Use a combination of images and video clips

Carousels give a sense of sweet suspense. It keeps the audience captivated and they can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

An alluring combination of video clips and pictures is said to drive the engagement rate to 2.33% for each post. This is way more than the engagement rate of pictures (1.8%) or videos (1.86%) posted separately in the form of carousels.

You can use this type of content to make some recommendations about some of the best products and put a product demonstration tutorial in one of the slots.

You should try to weave a short story through your carousel where the pictures and clips convey emotions.

Create a story with 8-10 slides

People love storytelling, and carousels offer an ingenious way of showcasing a story.

Using more slides has proven to be quite effective at driving engagement.

This space allows for a lot of creativity. Just make sure all of your slides make sense.

Don’t use more slots if you do not have enough content

I cannot stress this enough.

Just because Instagram has allowed you to fill 10 slots does not mean that you have to go all out. The key is to retain the attention of the audience and make sure people are invested.

It has been found that carousels having two slots bring an engagement of about 1.9% each post. So only sticking to the two slides performs well enough.

Don’t use all the carousel slots for your posts if you don’t have enough content.

The trick of raising engagement when using all 10 slides only works when the post makes sense.

A before and after reveal story

A lot of brands have hit the jackpot with these types of carousels.

People love transformation stories. It fills them with excitement and motivation to see the drastic improvements.

Viewers get passionate about the fact of how you were able to turn things around for the better.

You can utilize two slots from the carousel for putting up ‘Before’ and ‘After’ pictures. This will give you a high engagement rate.

You can also put a series of 8-10 demonstration clips in your carousel to showcase the entire conversion process.

3. Keep captions short

No matter what type of Instagram post you want to publish, remember to keep the captions short, sweet, and to the point.

Data shows that posts whose captions are up to ten words drive a better engagement rate – between 2.35% and 3.13%.

4. Use videos to drive conversations

While carousels are eye-catching, videos have proven to inspire more people to comment on a brand post.

To be precise, video posts receive a median of 11 comments per post, higher than images or carousels.

That’s because, when used right, a video offers a much more personal experience to viewers.

5. Make use of Ads

Any Instagram profile needs a boost every now and then.

If organic content keeps your followers tuned into your brand, ads are the best way to get more followers and get noticed by a larger audience.

You can create ads within the app, by boosting your posts, with the help of ads manager or through Instagram partners that can help you with everything from buying ads to sourcing and delivering creative.

Instagram offers the opportunity to create:

  • stories ads
  • photo ads
  • video ads
  • carousel ads
  • collection ads
  • ads in explore

Here are some of the tips you can follow to make lucrative ads:

  • Post aesthetic photos that show your vision.
  • Keep your text to a minimum on the image. The Instagram algorithm does not boost a post if the text content exceeds 20% of the image in the picture.
  • Put up a short and crisp caption with your post. Short captions tend to perform better.
  • Include relevant and trending hashtags with your post so as to connect with the right audience. The number of hashtags must not exceed the limit of 30.

6. Create engaging Stories

Stories are a great way of grabbing the attention of Instagrammers.

It is a great platform to highlight some valuable information and inform your followers about what you have been up to lately.

Especially if you’re a small brand, you can get your message noticed faster and more effectively with stories

Some interesting statistics about Instagram stories are:

  • Brands are publishing Stories on average 7 days a month
  • Half of the brands are using videos in Stories
  • Publishing up to 6 stories a day leads to better results
  • Brands with a small audience reach more than 9% of their followers with Stories
  • Images underperform videos by having a higher tap-forwards rate of 5.65% on Stories
  • Pictures in Stories get more drop-offs compared with videos
  • The highest drop in Stories happens between 2 and 3 stories within a day
  • 6 people out of 10,000 Stories viewers reply to Stories

This offers some insights into how to optimize brand stories, how many stories to publish daily or why it’s important to leverage video stories.

You can put up a high-resolution picture with minimal content about your product as your story.

You can also introduce some calls-to-action buttons in the story, like ‘Swipe Up’ which will take the viewers to your Instagram page or your website.

7. Go Live

The best way to show that a brand cares about its customers is to engage regularly with them.

Did you know that 80% of people would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog?

That’s because live streaming brings a face and name to your brand. It makes it human and relatable.

This has a huge impact on increasing the connection between your audience and your company.

And as far as reach and brand visibility is concerned, one impactful advantage is that when you go live, you will be featured right at the beginning of the Instagram story section.

Your followers will also receive a notification through which they will join your live feed.

You can go live from your company page to announce a product launch or talk about your product offerings, while also showcasing company values.

Show the emotional and human side of the company which will project you to be caring and responsible.

Final thoughts

If you see that your posts with multiple images are receiving fewer likes, try incorporating video clips to the carousel next time.

Go live to increase your followers and engagement.

Go all out, and bring out your creative instincts in this vibrant platform.

Guest author: Teodora Lozan is a content writer and SaaS Marketer for Socialinsider, a social media analytics tool with a strong focus on benchmarking. She writes about the ins and outs of social media, helping brands get the best results out of their marketing efforts. You can follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

Published: February 24, 2021

Source: Reprinted with permission of Jeff Bullas

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Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas is a consultant, blogger, strategist, and speaker. He works with companies and executives to optimize their online personal and corporate brands through the use of social media channels. Author of the Amazon best-selling book Blogging the Smart Way—How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media (Jeff Bullas, 2012), Jeff's own blog is included in AdAge.com's Power 150 ranking as a top 50 marketing blog.

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