Launched only six years ago, Instagram has become one of the fastest growing social networks in history. The mobile photo– and video-sharing app, which launched in October of 2010, now boasts over 500 million monthly active users, 95 million photos posted each day, and 4.2 billion Likes per day. Instagram has caused a fundamental shift in the way we consume content, especially when it comes to visually rich verticals like fashion and beauty. According to research by L2Inc., 98% of fashion brands have adopted Instagram, and are also experimenting with platforms like Snapchat, extending themselves outside the more established Facebook and Twitter.
Instagram has also transformed the way people experience fashion, making discovery of emerging trends and styles almost effortless.The platform’s impact on the fashion industry has been so valuable that the Council of Fashion Designers of America awarded Instagram (an app!) with the 2015 Media Award.
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Most top luxury fashion brands have a presence on Instagram, and already have a huge following. Over the last two months, we tracked some of the most popular luxury fashion brands with the highest number of followers on Instagram–Chanel (16.8M), Louis Vuitton (14M), Christian Dior (12.9M), Gucci (11.7M), and Dolce & Gabbana (11.5M)–to understand how these brands were performing on the platform and what could we learn from them.
Here is what we found:
1. A High Number of Followers Does Not Guarantee High Engagement: All the brands in this data set have seen positive growth in follower numbers, with Chanel growing the fastest at 7.7% per week, followed by Gucci at 7.3%.Overall for the data period, Chanel gained 1,193,859 followers, while Gucci grew its audience base by 801,132. For engagement, however, Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) beats all the other brands with over 11.7M engagement between Oct 16 – Dec 11, 2016, even though they have the least number of followers in this data set. The brand also has a very engaged community on Instagram: their engagement as a % of followers is over 100%. Chanel, on the other hand, has has the highest number of followers and the fastest growth in the number of followers, but only the fourth highest engagement of all the brands.The data above proves that having the largest number of followers on Instagram does not guarantee high engagement. Let’s take a look at the top 500 posts by engagement in this data set to understand what does drive engagement.
2. Six Times More Images Get Posted, but Average Engagement Per Post Is on Par for Images and Videos: Chanel, D&G, Gucci, Dior, and Louis Vuitton have all posted a mix of images and videos between Oct 16-Dec 11, 2016, with six times more images than videos. However, it is interesting to see that within the top 500 posts by engagement, both images and videos have a very similar engagement per post, indicating that fashion brands get more mileage out of videos, since they release much fewer and get the same amount of average engagement per post.
A video of a mannequin challenge posted by Dior was the most engaging video in the data period.
3. Celebrities Help Drive Engagement: Celebrities have always helped fashion brands reach a vast network of potential customers. When it comes to celebrities and influencers on social media, according to a research by Twitter, “40 percent of respondents said they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube.”
60% of the top posts for these fashion brands feature one celebrity, designer, or photographer, and the posts with celebrities received a higher engagement per post on average.
4. Relevance of Hashtags Is More Important than Number of Hashtags: While there were some posts in the data set that did not include any hashtag in the caption, 97% of posts featured one or more hashtags. 13% of the posts had captions that were only hashtags.For the fashion industry, the relevance of the hashtags is more important than the number of hashtags. There is no correlation between number of hashtags used and average engagement. The fashion industry’s audience is more focused on discovering the right content and is actively searching for it (since even posts with no hashtags have a high average engagement per post). Adding the most relevant hashtags will help fashion brands get discovered and increase visibility.
The post below from Chanel– although it did not have a hashtag–was among the top 10 most engaging posts across the five brands.
5. The Fashion Audience Prefers Content That Is “Hot Off the Press”: Looking at the top 500 most engaging posts from Chanel, D&G, Gucci, Dior, and Louis Vuitton, we see that product-based content forms the largest post type and also drives the highest engagement.On a per-post basis, the highest engagement is driven by images shared by the brands from their shows, followed by posts related to images of celebrities wearing the brands. Instagram is a platform for fashion enthusiasts to discover the latest trends and looks. Images from fashion shows/celebrity events provide the audience with just that–a front row seat to all the action, right from the runway to the most fashionable personalities. Therefore, it is no surprise that such content generates much higher engagement on a per-post basis.
The post below from Chanel’s 13th Métiers d’Art show, held last week in Paris, was the 3rd most engaging post in the data set.
Instagram can be an invaluable tool for fashion brands that want to reach a wider audience. Deep-diving into Instagram data can help fashion brands craft a successful social media strategy and allocate resources accordingly.
Here are the main takeaways from this study:
- 98% of fashion brands have adopted Instagram.
- A high number of followers on Instagram does not guarantee high engagement.
- Fashion Industry posts six times more images than videos, but average engagement per post is approximately equal for images and videos.
- For the fashion industry, celebrities help drive engagement on Instagram
- 60% of the top posts for these fashion brands feature one celebrity, designer, or photographer, and the posts with celebrities receive a higher average engagement per post
- Relevance of hashtags is more important than number of hashtags
- The fashion audience prefers content that is “Hot Off the Press.” Images from fashion shows generate the most engagement.
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