Selfie-indulgence the key to Instagram popularity

Pictures of people are 38 percent more likely to be liked on Instagram. ©Goodluz/

Pictures of people are 38 percent more likely to be liked on Instagram.

(Relaxnews) – A study has found that the key to attracting comments and engagement on the image-sharing social network is to upload photographs of people, not places.

The selfie is here to stay. Well that’s according to the Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs researchers anyway.

They’ve just announced the conclusions of a study that examined 1.1 million photos on Instagram and the biggest finding is that despite the infinite number of potential subjects for a smartphone-snapped photo, pictures featuring human faces, and not cats or dogs, generate the biggest positive response.

In fact, if an image features a person’s face it is 38 percent more likely to be liked and 32 percent more likely to attract comments.

Perhaps surprisingly, it doesn’t matter whose face or how many of them are in shot. The research shows that neither age nor gender made a difference to how other users on the image-sharing social network responded, and this is despite the fact that we’re genetically engineered to find children ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’ and that as the researchers point out, Instagram is more popular with younger people.

In fact, the only real deciding factor was image overload. Instagram users with more followers will generate more engagement, but if they post too much or too often, others stop interacting.

“The more you post, the less feedback you’re going to get,” said Saeideh Bakhshi, the Georgia Tech College of Computing Ph.D. student who led the study. “Posting too much decreases likes two times faster than comments.”

Although the study doesn’t attempt to present a reason as to why faces are so popular, the researchers are confident that their findings will have a big impact on how image-led sites and even brands increase engagement with users.

The team used face detection software to scan each of the 1.1 million images in the study and now intendeds to drill deeper into its findings to try to see if selfies generate more engagement than group shots and if images of friends are more popular than images of family.

However, that’s the future; the next step is to present the paper “Faces Engage Us: Photos with Faces Attract More Likes and Comments on Instagram,” in Toronto at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems in April.


Share Button

Related posts

‘Social media wedding concierge’ will live-tweet ceremony for $3,000Giant selfie installation proves our obsession with photo sharingSamsung scores marketing home run with Obama selfieCoca-Cola designs ‘social media guard’ for latest adApple sued over iPhone iOS7 upgradeAll-new Smart concept heading to FrankfurtMiley’s twerking dance officially enters lexicon BlackBerry planning another exclusive Porsche handsetNokia launches first phabletNow anyone can fly a spaceship to the moonGoogle offers free e-book on smartphone photographyFacebook adds video sharing to InstagramPie in the sky with DomiCopterViral video: Senator complains to Apple CEO about iPhoneCould this be the ultimate hipster camera?Turn your iPhone into an ATM?YouTube invites you to remix the world’s largest collection of Creative Commons videosVision-based gesture recognition to feature on 600 million smartphones by 2017How mobile is putting sports fans at the centre of the actionNetflix: the revolution that changed the US TV landscape