Nike, Nashville, and a New Record Holder: The May Instagram Report

Several high-water marks were set for Instagram performance in May. In this month’s report, we’ll break down the new normal - and see how a pair of social experts rewrote the record book with one Instagram post.

Nike, Nashville, and a New Record Holder: The May Instagram Report

State of the Industry

As always, let’s see how the top of the heap are signing up new fans and engaging them.

The Big Five Pages remain the champs – but we can see a major change at the top. After months of consistent growth by Nike, the apparel giant has finally overtaken Victoria’s Secret as the largest brand on Instagram. This could logically be attributed to the incredible success of their “Risk Everything” World Cup campaign, which, without mentioning the Cup by name, still has become one of the most successful social ads ever.

But, on Instagram, only a handful of posts concern soccer (they do have a dedicated NikeFootball page, shown on the Top 5 by Engagement Rate chart, which is significantly smaller). Nike continues to add fans at pace, and had their most successful post to date last month – a cool shot of snowboarder Nicolas Müller seemingly stepping off a mountain and on to the full moon.

Other Top Performers

Engagement was generally up across industries from April, led by FMCG brands. That surge showed at the brand level, where most of the most-engaging pages as defined by Engagement Rate were from the FMCG sector.

First Takes: Filter and Video

Initially, Instagram’s calling card was its filters. Immensely popular with users, filters were the uninitiated’s editing software. All of a sudden, everyone could become an amateur photographer. You didn’t need tinctures to age your photos or a working knowledge of the f-stop to artfully overexpose.

Since then, both the platform and the way brands use it have evolved immensely. One of the newer additions is video – which, as we wrote about earlier this year, has fast become a valuable asset. As brands have begun to use video more frequently, we felt the time was right to examine Interactions on some of the top performing video posts.

They don’t yet get nearly the same level of interaction as these brands’ top performing photo posts, but we’ll track them and see how it progresses over the coming months.

FIlters are a more interesting topic, specifically because of how rarely they seem to be used. In the chart below, two things in particular stand out:

First, look at how ubiquitous #nofilter pictures have become. On a platform known for its wide variety of filters, why do fewer than 18% of brands use them? For the answer, I’ll defer to the Poet Laureate of Social Media, Kanye West: “We worked on our wedding photo for four days until it was good enough for Instagram.”

Filters aren’t as popular with brands as they are with users, but the idea of filters is still key: Brands are not posting snapshots, even if they don’t use a filter. They’re posting edited, perfected work prior to uploading it. In comparison to the professional-grade photography an ad budget can buy, Instagram filters are grub. Here, for instance, is KimYe’s highly-edited, unfiltered, record-breaking wedding photo.

It took them four days to get the flowers right, and just one to break Instagram’s all-time record for Likes and Interactions. For these guys, that record is the best wedding gift possible.

It took them four days to get the flowers right, and just one to break Instagram’s all-time record for Likes and Interactions. For these guys, that record is the best wedding gift possible.

But sometimes, they still work. If you look at the “Nashville” filter, you’ll notice a huge discrepancy between how frequently it is used, and how often its posts are interacted with. Even though it gets little love from brands, users are drawn in. Posts made with Nashville may not rack up KimYe-level interactions, but they do outperform all other filters. Maybe it’s all the country music fans out there…

Like what you read? A little wiser than you were 4 minutes ago? Try out a free trial of Socialbakers Analytics, and watch that knowledge grow. You’ll be revolutionizing the way your brand does social in no time at all.

For the rest of our monthly Instagram Reports, click here.

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