2.5 billion Instagram likes are doled out every single day by users all around the world. In the time it took you to read that sentence, that little red heart lit up over 25,000 times. How many of those little red hearts burst into your notifications, though? Raise your hand if you’ve ever posted an Instagram photo, and then, an hour later, deleted it out of shame because you didn’t get enough likes.
We all get a little rush of good feelings when someone likes or comments on our photos. I love working on my feed, editing photos and taking candid pictures with my friends, then posting them to Instagram with the perfect caption and waiting for the likes to roll in. Usually, I get about 50–70 likes, while I gape in astonishment at those easily reaching triple digits. I decided to try to figure out what the best types of photos to post are, when you should post them, as well as how captions, colours, and filters fit into the equation.
From my own Instagram feed to yours, I present to you: how to get more likes on Instagram.
TYPE OF PHOTO
Most Likes: Pictures of you taken by someone else
I began by scrolling through the nearly 160 posts on my own account and separating them into categories according to who, or what, is in the photo and who took it. I came up with eight different types of Instagram photos:
- selfies of myself
- photos of me taken by someone else
- photos of me and my SO
- photos of me and my friends
- photos of just my friends
- photos of food
- photos of things (such as my acrylic nails, flowers, or architecture)
- photos of animals
I then calculated the average number of likes per type of photo. The type of photo that got the highest amount of likes was pictures of me taken by someone else, usually me standing beside a pretty view on vacation or posing for one of my aspiring photographer friends. Average likes per photo in this category was 49 likes per picture. In that category, the highest-liked picture was of me on the evening of my one-year anniversary with my boyfriend, in my dress and heels with a body-positive caption.
Other high-like earners are pictures of animals, selfies of me, and pictures of me and my SO. The type of photo that earns the lowest amount of likes are photos of just my friends by themselves, averaging at only about 34 likes per picture.
DAY OF THE WEEK AND TIME
Most Likes: Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, any time
For one week, I posted daily at different times throughout the day and recorded the amount of likes each time and day got after twenty-four hours of being posted. I started on Tuesday and posted a picture of a doughnut from Cartems on an antique plate at 7 p.m., which got 43 likes. On Wednesday at 5 p.m., I posted a picture of me holding two bubble teas served in light bulbs from 17 Degrees Café, which garnered 55 likes. Thursday, I posted a picture of me and my friend hiking at Deer Lake, which got 53 likes. Friday at noon, I posted a selfie of me from Mother’s Day and got the most likes I’ve gotten since making Instagram, a total of 93. I usually post between eight to ten in the evening, since that’s when I get off work, but this post began to make me question if I should be using my lunch hour to boost my like count. On Saturday, bright and early at 9 a.m., I got 49 likes, then on Sunday at 3 p.m., I got 53 likes. On Monday, I decided to find out if noon was actually this magical time to post on Insta, so I posted a picture of chocolate cake and a slice of pizza from Boston Pizza and waited for the likes to roll in. It only got 49 likes, making noon somehow the best AND almost-worst time to post on Instagram.
Was the 93-like selfie just a fluke? A really good selfie? Is Friday just a time when a lot of people are on Instagram? It’s hard to say for sure. In an attempt to leave you with some useful information, though, I will say that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are the days of the week that brought in the most amount of likes.
EDITED VERSUS NOT EDITED
Most Likes: High-Quality, unedited
I’ll be the first to admit I enjoy editing photos. From the simple use of Snapseed to adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation, to darkening eyelashes and whitening teeth in PE-Fotolr, and clearing textured skin and concealing under-eye bags in Facetune 2 (the free version, of course) all my photos are my mini-masterpieces. Some people, though, feel edited photos and filters make photos look too busy or superficial. I categorized my photos according to edited and not edited and averaged the amount of likes. Edited photos, on average, got 40 likes. Non-edited had a slightly higher average of 42. I then made a third category: good quality, non-edited photos. Most of these were captured on high-quality cameras by talented people. This category had an average of 48 likes per picture.
CAPTION VERSUS NO CAPTION
Most Likes: Doesn’t Matter
I have an entire folder on my phone of potential *fire emoji* captions, like lyrics, quotes, poems, etc. (R.M. Drake and Rupi Kaur, anyone?), so you could say I take this topic very seriously. For the sake of this report, I consider a photo with “no caption” to be a photo with either literally no caption or a photo captioned by a single emoji or one hashtag. On average, photos with captions got 46 likes and photos without captions got 45 likes, so feel free to just slap a heart emoji on that picture and call it a day.
COLOURFUL VERSUS FADED/FAIR
Most Likes: Whatever you’re feeling like
I was expecting that more colourful photos, with pinks, blues, reds, and yellows, would get more likes than my grey, black, white, and sepia pictures, but I was surprised to find that, once again, it’s pretty much equal. On average, colourful photos got 43 likes, while less-colourful or faded photos got 42. Are artsy, moody, black and white shots making a comeback? Possibly!
So, the next time you sit down with your phone to post on Instagram, try posting a picture someone else took of you, post it near the weekend, make sure it’s good quality . . . Or just post a picture you really like, because YOU liking your account matters, too.