Instagram Data Insights: The unexpected usage of filters

What do dogs and beards have in common? The same filter! And do you know which filter is the least likely to be used in Venezuela?

To facilitate execution of global, large-scale influencer marketing campaigns at Relatable we rely a lot on data to give us insights. Using a sample of about 2 million Instagram accounts (with a minimum of 1,000 followers) and 40 million posts I’ve been digging deep compiling statistics, finding insights, or just discovering some quirky facts. I will share those findings in a number of articles.

I’ve continued my exploration of data related to filter usage among the most successful Instagram accounts. In the previous article I looked at, among other things, filter popularity and how filter usage correlated to the number of followers. Seeing how much filter usage changed with posts using certain hashtags, like #selfie, I dived deeper in the data to discover more about which content is used with which filter.

To determine which type of content a post contains we rely on hashtags. However, comparing lists of the most used hashtags depending on filter does not say that much — the top of the lists are very much the same. This is because generic hashtags like #beautiful, #repost and #instagood are so frequent. To find the interesting stuff, I ignored the most common hashtags and looked at the hashtags where the usage frequency differed the most depending on the filter. I found some intriguing patterns…

I’ve compiled the results per filter, with a representative example photo, hashtags that are more likely to be used with the filter, and hashtags less likely to be used.

Anastasia Beverly Hills is a cosmetics brand, it seems to go hand in hand with blondes and girls from Poland, apparently a good fit for the Aden filter. Clarendon is the filter of choice for vegans!

For the most romantic mode, Hefe is the filter to use! Somehow Gingham is not a good fit for anything Venezuela. Hudson is standing out as a filter associated with joy and happiness, and not at all to be used when you need that moody feeling.

Both Inkwell and Juno appears to be a good fit for illustrators to showcase their sketches, with Juno bringing out that red. We also start to see a pattern where the most selective usage of filters are correlated to foodies, makeup artists, and photographers.

For anything yummy and delicious, like breakfast, use Ludwig. On the opposite end, Moon is not for food, but definitely when to go for that hip hop or rap look. Mayfair seems to be the filter to use to convey that relaxing feeling only fluffy clouds during a vacation can give you.

Dogs seem to be a flexible animal, making good use of nearly every filter. Cats are more picky, preferring Reyes. Use Sierra to show off your beard, or dog (I wonder if it has something to do with beard also being some kind of fur…?).

Slumber and X-Pro II are two filters that are standing out when it comes down to showing off your shreddedness at the gym. If you’re into music, but more guitar than hip hop — then Willow will do it for you. Especially if you’ve got a beard.


Thanks for reading! Please share your thoughts and reflections, and keep following to not miss out on more quirky insights on Instagram usage.

Fair use: Feel free to quote or use any of these findings. When doing so, attribute the author and provide a link back to the original article.


Stefan is CTO and co-founder of Relatable, a marketing agency that uses data and technology to help customers like Google, Lego, Adobe, Tinder, Verizon and Spotify to do super efficient, large-scale influencer marketing campaigns.