If you like to spend time uploading content to Instagram, you have probably wondered what you can do to get more likes.
There are some obvious clues, like whether your account is related to a major brand or you simply have a lot of followers, as well as accompanying your posts with clever copy. However, science also has an answer to the question of how to get more likes.
A group of researchers at North Carolina State University wondered what would happen if follower counts and sparkling paragraphs were ignored, and posted images were simply examined. Will it be possible for users to get more likes by choosing to upload certain types of images?
To try to answer that question, the researchers wrote a computer program, scanned 147,963 Instagram images, generated scores based on six different visual qualities—which previous studies have shown to drive high user engagement—and then they accounted for the confounding variables (number of followers and number of likes).
The findings were published in an article in ScienceDirect titled: “Simplicity Isn’t Key: Understanding Business-Generated Social Media Images and Consumer Taste,” which could work perfectly as an introduction to the traits images need to improve their Instagram numbers.
Ultimately, the researchers established two tips, which are the most important: mix the balance of light and color (not too little, not too much) and make sure that the image is extremely simple or very complex. And more specifically, they detailed six specific qualities to create the perfect image.
What should be considered to post the perfect image on Instagram?
- Color Complexity: regarding the richness of the colors in the image. Essentially, less is more, and that gets you more likes.
- Luminance entropy: refers to the intensity of brightness in the image. The more the better.
- Unique items count: Instead of cramming a lot of different items into a single photo, it’s better to aim for fewer items within the frame.
- Edge Density: the ideal image should strike an almost perfect balance between edges and non-edges. As an example, the researchers suggest you imagine a large flag in front of a building with windows: neither intricate patterns nor giant solid-colored backgrounds help.
- Irregularity in the placement of objects: this has to do with visual clutter. The less regular this is, the more likes you can get. As an example, imagine a brick wall facing a wall with graffiti. Extreme simplicity can also get likes.
- Asymmetry in the placement of objects: the trait most related to the generation of likes. The more symmetry, both vertical and horizontal, the better.
Fortunately, Instagram’s designers are already doing the hard part for users: “In practical terms, we found that you could improve the number of likes on any image by about 3 percent if you applied the appropriate filter,” the article says.
“Our model suggests that optimizing feature and design complexity could improve consumer engagement by about 19 percent,” the authors add.
The researchers’ goal was to create a program and data set that could be used “to inform decisions made by design professionals in the marketing industry.”
However, the group also released the raw code for the show itself. “It’s not in a user-friendly format right now, but I’m sure the right techies will be able to use it to create a valuable tool for industry,” said William Rand, executive director of the school’s Business Analytics Initiative and co-author. of the studio.