These are the Most Successful Brands on Instagram

[This post was originally published on the Dash Hudson blog.]

As smart marketers, we know what you guys ask yourselves on a daily basis: how am I faring in comparison to the competition? Today, we’re answering that conundrum and shedding light on very important industry statistics.

Time to open the Instagram metrics vault.

Rolex resonates big time. Pun intended.

You’re going along your merry way as a marketer and brand specialist deeply invested in your company’s social media engagement. You might be running Instagram contests, creating and harboring a tight community with your audience, leveraging product launches on your channels, following all of the latest content trends, keeping up and experimenting with all of the updates, and even doing influencer marketing. Your Instagram marketing strategy is lit and you know it.🔥

But one looming question lingers on even the best, most forward-thinking minds: who is doing it well? Who’s setting the bar? What does success look like? What are the top Instagram accounts? Well, one way to gauge things is by size. Some companies have managed to rack up exceptionally expansive audiences. Follower count translates to popularity, which certainly holds some significance.

So much so that we created benchmark reports for every major industry that orbits around the ‘Gram galaxy. We identified 6 major sectors and the most sizable accounts operating in each one. From there we dug into three major KPIs — engagement rate, earned reach, growth rate — to surface the stats of the biggest brand accounts on Insta.

Click on an industry-corresponding image to get the report of your choice:👇

Now, with all that’s said and done, having a great big audience does not a successful account make. Why is that, you ask? Because your barometer for high marks should also be based on whether or not that great big audience of yours is responding positively to the content you work so hard to create/curate. A high volume of followers will not ensure a position among the best Instagram feeds.

If your visuals do not resonate with your followers, you might as well call it a day. What’s the point of all this if it’s going to fall on deaf ears, or if the people you consider to be a part of your community don’t actually care about your photos and videos (and now slideshows!). The metric to measure this intangible feeling we call love? Engagement.💕

Since we’ve done benchmark reports based on audience size, we thought we’d now take a look at Instagram activity from a different angle. We surfaced the highest performing accounts within those same industries, regardless of follower count, because the best of Instagram also means high engagement rates.

Let’s begin by giving the definition of what engagement means, as it could prove to be a tad elusive. The average engagement rate represents the percentage of an account’s audience at the time of posting that interacted with their content by either liking it or leaving a comment.

That is why engagement rates are the most accurate barometer of success on Instagram: it’s the metric that essentially indicates if whether or not the content you publish actually resonates with your followers. In layman’s terms, it means that it’s how you determine if your followers care about you. Which is a big deal, for obvious reasons.

Peeps be obsessed with the land of Oz. It’s easy to see why.

It all boils down to the fact that having a lot of followers is indeed important — Instagram is a low-key popularity contest, after all — but the underlying true matter is your engagement rate. Isn’t community-building the whole point of being on Instagram, as well as branding? The engagement ratio will tell you how things are going on that front.

And that is why we thought it might be helpful to let you in on who’s leading the charge in those main categories. Below you’ll find the same sectors as the reports above (plus: surprise! 2 bonus industries) and the top 3 front runner accounts within each of them based on engagement rates. As a point of reference, it’s important to know that most brands hover around 1%, with the exception of the luxury fashion industry, which is much lower.

Another thing to remember is that average engagement rates are constantly in flux, meaning that whoever is sitting in the top 3 always has potential to change.

Shall we? ✍️

Publishing Industry

The top 3 highest performing Instagram accounts in the publishing industry are @newyorkercartoons, @powdermagazine and @hypebae.*

*Earned reach and growth rate KPIs not available.

Travel Industry

The top 3 highest performing Instagram accounts in the travel industry are @australia, @travelalberta and @united. The two key performance indicators below each brand’s average engagement rate represent where they stand respectively on those metrics.

Beauty Industry

The top 3 highest performing Instagram accounts in the beauty industry are @benefitgermany, @sephorafrance and @lushcosmetics. The two key performance indicators below each brand’s average engagement rate represent where they stand respectively on those metrics.

Luxury Fashion Industry

The top 3 highest performing Instagram accounts in the luxury industry are @maxmara, @houseofherrera and @ysl. The two key performance indicators below each brand’s average engagement rate represent where they stand respectively on those metrics.

Food Industry

The top 3 highest performing Instagram accounts in the luxury industry are @pizza, @icecream and @brunchboys. The two key performance indicators below each brand’s average engagement rate represent where they stand respectively on those metrics.

Apparel Industry

The top 3 highest performing Instagram accounts in the apparel industry are @champion, @fentyxpuma and @tentree. The two key performance indicators below each brand’s average engagement rate represent where they stand respectively on those metrics.

Bonus #1: Automotive Industry

The top 3 highest performing Instagram accounts in the automotive industry are @volvocars, @dodgeofficial and @mini. The two key performance indicators below each brand’s average engagement rate represent where they stand respectively on those metrics.

Bonus #2: Luxury Timepiece Industry

The top 3 highest performing Instagram accounts in the luxury timepiece industry are @rolex, @vacheronconstantin and @longines. The two key performance indicators below each brand’s average engagement rate represent where they stand respectively on those metrics.

It’s important to remember that every account is different in terms of its variables and what makes it successful or not. It’s up to the marketing and social teams to craft and execute a strategy according to those unique factors, to experiment based on both data and instinct, and to adjust according to what worked and what failed.

There is no magic formula to succeed on Instagram. You just have to put a little elbow grease into it and listen to the data’s whispers.


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