Curalate Analyzes Image Qualities That Drive Likes and Sharing on Instagram

Curalate Analyzes Image Qualities That Drive Likes and Sharing on Instagram


Philadelphia, PA—Curalate, a visual analytics and marketing platform, released new research on the image properties that drive likes and sharing on Instagram. Curalate used custom algorithms to examine how more than 30 image features—such as background ratio, dominant color, lightness and saturation—combine to create high-performing Instagram images for brand marketing.

After analyzing more than eight million Instagram images, findings showed the best performing images feature a large amount of background space, blue as the dominant color and high levels of texture.

“Likes on Instagram, while incredibly valuable, are hard to come by with 65% of Instagram images garnering between 0 and 10 likes,” said Apu Gupta, CEO of Curalate. “By making a few small tweaks, brands looking to connect with consumers on visual sites like Instagram can see their engagement skyrocket, resulting in increased customer loyalty and more importantly, sales.”

Key findings of Curalate’s research include:

Blues and Single Hues Are Best.
Blues perform best on Instagram, while images with high concentrations of reds and oranges perform poorly. According to Curalate, images with blue as the dominant color generate 24% more likes than images that are predominantly red.

Also, the more a single hue dominates an image, the more likes it receives. Images with single hue dominance above 40% receive the most likes. Currently, most images on Instagram don’t have single hue dominance, as 90% of the images analyzed only have between 0–20% single hue dominance. Images with 0–15% saturation (or little color) generate 18% more likes than images with more vibrant color (20–40% saturation).

Light, Textured and Complex Images Win
. Images should allow the eye to rest by having some background space, noted Curalate. “Images with a large amount of background space (above 90%) are very successful. Despite this, 70% of current Instagram images only have 0–20% background space, leaving significant room for improvement.”

Conversely, the study found that dark images minimize sharing and likes. Images with 65–80% lightness generate 24% more likes than dark images with 0–45% lightness.

In addition, Curalate found that images with high levels of texture generate 78% more likes than those with little texture.