What makes an image stand out on Instagram?

March 24, 2014

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has gained significant prominence in the social media world. Just about everyone is Instagraming, but not everyone is taking quality pictures that generate good engagement. So what makes a good image stand out from the rest?

We came across an interesting study recently that seeks to answer this question. Here are some of the highlights to help your Instagrams grab viewers’ attention and optimize the number of “likes”.

  • Use large amounts of background space. Images with high amounts of background space get 29% more likes than those without.
  • Blue, blue, blue! People respond better to images where blue is the dominant color. In comparison to images where red is the dominant color, blue dominant images get 24% more likes.
  • Play up the texture. Images with lots of texture get 79% more likes than images without.
  • Strive for single hue dominance. Images with single hue dominance above 40% receive the most likes.
  • Keep saturation between 0-15%. Such images receive 18% more likes than images with more vibrant colors.
  • Keep it light. Dark images (with 0-45 lightness) got 24% less likes than lighter images.

Be sure to check out our tipsheet for nonprofits using Instagram for more tips. Happy Instagramming!

–Serena Bernthal-Jones, 2013 Winter Intern