Wondering why that selfie or photo of your dog wearing a sweater you posted on Instagram only got, like, eight likes? Chances are, it had too much contrast or not enough texture.
That's according to research from Curalate, a visual analytics and marketing platform used by brands like Gap and Neiman Marcus.
Curalate analyzed more than 8 million Instagram images, analyzing image features such as texture, color and saturation to determine what makes a successful Instagram photo (obviously measured in likes). The findings showed that if you want a lot of attention on Instagram, you'll want to make your photos blue, textured and full of background space. Some more detailed tips:
• Blues perform best on Instagram, while images with high concentrations of reds and oranges perform poorly. Images with blue as the dominant color generate 24 percent more likes than images that are predominantly red.
• The more a single hue dominates an image, the more likes it receives. Images with single hue dominance above 40 percent receive the most likes. Currently, most images on Instagram don’t have single hue dominance, as 90 percent of images analyzed only have between 0-20 percent single hue dominance.
• Images with 0 to 15 percent saturation (or little color) generate 18 percent more likes than images with more vibrant color (20 to 40 percent saturation).
• To generate consumer interest, images should allow the eye to rest by having some background space. Images with a large amount of background space (above 90 percent) are very successful. Despite this, 70 percent of current Instagram images only have 0 to 20 percent background space, leaving significant room for improvement.
• Dark images minimize sharing and likes. Images with 65 to 80 percent lightness generate 24 percent more likes than dark images with 0 to 45 percent lightness.
• Images with high levels of texture generate 78 percent more likes than those with little texture.
So why is this information valuable? "Likes on Instagram, while incredibly valuable, are hard to come by with 65 percent of Instagram images garnering between 0 and 10 likes," says 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."
Brands are constantly looking for ways in which to make Instagram a valuable marketing tool, which can be a challenge partly because it's so image-driven and you can't actually put working links into captions. So, it's important for brands to get the most engagement possible out of an image.
On a more personal level, this info can help make you feel more popular. Who doesn't want more likes?