Social Media Research Study 2023: Instagram

11 September 2023

How Professionals, Content Creators, and Brand Accounts Use Instagram

Study based on analysis of 316,394 professional Instagram accounts, 2,418,508 posts, 9,419,426 Stories and 1,068,716 Reels.

Metricool’s annual Instagram Study 2023 is here. The meeting point for marketers, social media managers, and agencies that manage professional Instagram accounts. 

Data is compared in relation to the previous year’s Instagram study to see how this social network has evolved, learn about the strategies and formats that work today, and make better decisions based on real data. 

Data collection took place over a 30-day period: the month of June 2023, the same time period analyzed in the 2022 study.

The Study Sample

Compared to the previous year, the sample has increased significantly, which allows us to make more clear decisions. Similarly, we note that the use of Reels have grown by 282%, indicating that brands have bet on the short-form video format in the last year.

This is the data of the sample compared to the previous year:

The Instagram accounts analyzed were separated into groups based on the number of followers. The aim is to be able to analyze the results with accounts that are comparable to each other and to see how the data evolves as the accounts grow in those number of followers.

Therefore, there are five groups differentiated according to the number of followers:

  • 0-500 followers
  • 500- 2K followers
  • 2K- 10K followers
  • 10K-50K followers
  • 50K-45M followers

Differentiating Small Accounts – Large Accounts

In the study we talk about small accounts and large accounts. When we refer to small accounts, we talk about any group smaller than the next one and vice versa. 

That is to say, a small account does not have to be the group of 0-500 followers but it would also be the group from 10K to 50K in relation to the next one which is 50K to 45M.

2023 Instagram Trends: Answers to the Big Questions About Instagram

Are Reels still the format with the greatest reach and interactions?

The format with the highest reach and interactions continues to be Reels, although we can see that the reach has decreased significantly compared to the previous study.

The average reach of Reels is still twice as high as that of feed posts, although this same reach has been reduced by up to 76% compared to the previous year.

This is due to the fact that brands and professionals have increased their creation of Reels, therefore, as the number of Reels is larger, the reach is lower.The previous year, Instagram favored these types of publications.

In conclusion, before it was much easier to reach more people using the reel format, but today this reach has decreased even though Reels are still the format with the highest reach.  

Therefore, it is a good idea to continue using the rest of the formats depending on your objectives.

Reels- These allow you to reach more people who aren’t yet familiar with your brand.

Carousels– They help generate more interactions with your community.

Stories– Stories are important to maintain engagement with the most loyal followers. We also observed that they have good reach in accounts with fewer followers.

Image in Feed- Similar to carousels, these can help to generate interaction with your community. The choice between a carousel, image, or video post depends on the message you want to communicate.

What posting format works best on Instagram?

Without taking into account Reels, the format in second place is carousels, which outperforms image posts in terms of both reach and interactions. 

In fact, this year’s interactions in the post format are down 17.51% compared to 2022, as is the number of image posts published.

We see that brands and creators have also increased carousel posts in the feed. 

Does the frequency of publication influence the number of followers?

We can see that the data is maintained over time, as seen in the 2021 and 2022 studies, a clear trend is observed. Accounts with more followers have a higher publication frequency than accounts with fewer followers, both in Stories, Reels, and feed posts.

Monthly POST Posting Frequency 2022 vs. 2023

Account size20222023Difference
Up to 500 followers109-7.10%
500 – 2K followers1110-11.09%
2K – 10K followers1412-16.93%
10K – 50K followers1915-21.68%
50K – 45M followers4228-32.98%

Monthly STORY Posting Frequency 2022 vs. 2023

Account size20222023Difference
Up to 500 followers1716-4.35%
500 – 2K followers3230-6.41%
2K – 10K followers5952-12.53%
10K – 50K followers10384-18.54%
50K – 45M followers165130-21.14%

Monthly REEL Posting Frequency 2022 vs. 2023

Account size20222023Difference
Up to 500 followers45+35.50%
500 – 2K followers45+29.75%
2K – 10K followers46+52.25%
10K – 50K followers69+44.50%
50K – 45M followers1019+93.50%

Therefore, the greater the number of publications, the greater the number of followers.

What is the best time to post on Instagram?

The best time to post on Instagram in all time zones remains unchanged, 8 PM, regardless of the day.

How to Use The 2023 Instagram Study

This analysis brings together all the accounts investigated, without distinction by sector, to find general Instagram trends. In addition to using this data, it is always advisable to analyze your competitors or the accounts you follow in order to draw specific conclusions for your Instagram strategy.

Welcome to Metricool’s annual Instagram study. Let’s take a closer look at the results report.

Frequency of Account Posts and Types of Content

Professional Instagram accounts of all sizes have seen a significant increase in Reels posted over the past year, with small accounts up 35% and large accounts up 93.50%.

Even so, the most frequently published content continues to be Stories, feed posts (image or carousel), and finally Reels. 

While it is true that Reels continue to generate the highest reach, and their number has increased compared to 2022, they are not the most frequently published content. This is probably because it takes more time to create a Reel than an image or carousel post.

Types of Content

On average, for every 10 posts published, 5.3 are single images and 2.4 are carousels. Compared to last year, the number of feed posts has reduced and the posting of reels in all accounts and sizes has increased.

Do you have a scientific soul?

If you want to access all the raw data and graphs of the report, you have it in this Looker Studio dashboard. 

Content Reach by Post Type and Account Type

What content has the highest reach on Instagram?

One of the most surprising facts compared to the previous year’s study is the average decrease in reach, affecting all posts, including Reels.

Reels: Largest drop in scope. 76.88% in relation to 2022.

This is due to the fact that many brands and creators are now using Reels, and that last year Instagram favored the new format through its algorithm.

Posts: The decrease is 16.40% compared to the previous year.

Stories: The number of Stories fell by 11.80%.

This is the format that has seen the least decline in reach, particularly for smaller accounts (Tiny, Small and Medium), where story reach has increased.

The reach of all posts is higher in accounts with fewer followers on Instagram.

Interactions Are Correlated With Reach

After creating the Instagram study for the third consecutive year, we can confirm that there is a correlation between reach and interactions. Posts with greater reach also have more interactions.

The Best Day and Time to Post on Instagram

The best day to post on Instagram is Monday and Thursday. Although to see this difference you have to look at the data in detail, as the variation is minimal.

The time at which the most people are on Instagram has remained constant over time. The best time to post on Instagram is 8PM, followed by around 3PM, including on the weekends.

The worst time would be 5AM, although from 10PM and onwards, there is a drastic drop.

Now, it’s up to you. Draw conclusions, adapt them to your own field, and don’t forget to share your results with us. 

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Isabel Romero Isabel Romero , 11 September 2023
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