If you thought the number of likes you receive on your Instagram photos was random, think again. The amount of engagement you see on your pictures actually correlates with the subject of the photos. According to a recent study by Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs, the amount of attention your photos receive has to do with whether or not your face is in the picture.
In the study, researchers looked at 1.1 million Instagram pictures and counted the number of likes and comments each photo received. They found that, regardless of the gender or age of the account holder, photos with faces were 38% more likely to receive likes and 32% more likely to receive comments than photos without faces.
Other factors impact Instagram photo activity, too, including the number of followers you have and the frequency at which you post photos. Though having more followers give you have a higher chance of receiving likes and comments, posting frequently can ultimately result in fewer likes and comments per photo.
While the study did not go so far as to answer why faces attracted more Instagram activity, it’s possible that humans’ affinity for faces might be one reason. In fact people look to faces for non-verbal communication and context.
Regardless of the exact reason why faces generate more likes and comments, though, the new information could prove useful for brands’ social media strategies.
Image by Joe Hardenbrook