The Top 50 Brands on Instagram

by Nick Cicero on Jun 24, 2013
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Instagram top brandsAt the beginning of the year, we wrote about the Top 25 Brands on Instagram and how they were using the site to connect with consumers.

Since then, Instagram has grown from 90 Million to now 130 million monthly active users uploading 16 Billion photos in just six short months.

With the introduction of Hashtags on Facebook and Videos, the potential for impressions on branded Instagram accounts are greater than ever.

Advertisers wonder when ads will be released on Instagram, while instead maybe they should be thinking about how they can inspire their users to create content.

For example, in the last 30 days Instagram users shared 591k photos across their timelines and newsfeeds tagged #Starbucks, generating 180MM+ potential impressions for free.

Nitrogram, an Instagram Analytics and Engagement Platform for Brands, has put together the Top 50 Index for branded Instagram accounts designed to showcase who is generating the most discussion through their channels and in their communities over time by taking into account two main factors:

  • Number of Followers of the Brand’s Account
  • Number of Photos posted on the Brand’s Hashtag

According to their list, Nike is the overall Top Brand on Instagram.

Their brand is highly active on Instagram both from the main @Nike account, but also in various sports verticals. Additionally, the athletics empire from Portland, Oregon has introduced a number of campaigns designed to activate content creation by their fans.

One example includes the Nike PHOTOiD Air Max campaign where they matched sneaker colors with the aid of Instagram snapshots, and #ProjectFlySF where they invited Instagram Influencers to lace up some fresh Nike gear for runs in Half Moon Bay and helicopter rides.


The Nitrogram Top 50 Brands on Instagram

  1. Nike
  2. Starbucks
  3. Forever 21
  4. Adidas
  5. Topshop
  6. Victoria’s Secret
  7. Vans
  8. Red Bull
  9. Michael Kors
  10. Converse
  11. H&M
  12. Go Pro
  13. MTV
  14. Burberry
  15. Audi
  16. Louis Vuitton
  17. Hollister
  18. BMW
  19. Gucci
  20. Louboutin
  21. Zara
  22. Sephora
  23. Marc Jacobs
  24. Asos
  25. Playboy
  26. Beats by Dre
  27. Steve Madden
  28. Youtube
  29. Roxy
  30. Monster Energy
  31. National Geographic
  32. American Apparel
  33. Abercrombie
  34. Urban Decay
  35. Disneyland
  36. American Eagle
  37. Disney
  38. Coachella
  39. Volkswagen
  40. Juicy Couture
  41. Armani
  42. Urban Outfitters
  43. Free People
  44. Taco Bell
  45. GQ
  46. Oreo
  47. Versace
  48. Brandy Melville
  49. Mercedes-Benz
  50. Guess

Top 10 Instagram Brands by Followers

  1. The Ellen Show 2.3MM
  2. Victoria’s Secret 2.1MM
  3. National Geographic 2MM
  4. Nike 1.6MM
  5. Louboutin 1.3MM
  6. Forever 21 1.3MM
  7. MTV 1.3MM
  8. Starbucks 1.3MM
  9. E! Online 1.2MM
  10. Topshop 1MM

Some other fun facts from the data:

  • 8 out of the top 10 brands in this list are related to fashion or footwear in some way
  • The 50 most popular brands on Instagram have on average 2X more photos on their #hashtag than followers on their @account

The list contains more than 400 brands and can be found here, and is broken down into a number of different categories you can sort by including follower count, and industry.

Did they leave any of your favorites off the list?  Let us know in the comments below.

Post Author

Nick Cicero is the Editor at Social Fresh and a Digital Marketing Consultant. Formerly of Expion and Livefyre, Nick has experience building social campaigns for Sony PlayStation, Winn-Dixie, Eminem, Teen Vogue and more. He’s a fan of playing...

  • arturo

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  • Good collection…!

  • I am not surprised that clothing and footwear has a very stronghold on Instagram.

    Instagram also has a wonderful way for artists and celebrities to showcase their art or the way they are living.

    I enjoy following many starts on there as well as following some of my favorite brands.

    I am curious how videos will change the way Instagramers view the accounts they follow. Will they continue to like religiously or have the same impression about them?

    Thanks for the article!

    Samuel from Internet Dreams

  • I love seeing this list. I guess the one thing missing for me would be WHY these are the top brands on Instagram. I Follow many of them, and candidly don’t see them really doing anything “innovative,” per say. I suppose they are just popular because of who they are? And the fact that they’re active in this channel?

  • Jimi Kunkel

    @socialcitizen I second your thoughts. It would be nice to see a “Best Of” list featuring some less obvious brands with explanations of what makes them the best. Maybe brands with a tougher product/service to sell and less creative/monetary bandwidth. I guess it would be kind of time consuming to do that sort of research though.

  • Got any “less obvious” brands you would recommend we write about?

  • We just did that for Vine a few days ago. Would be a great idea for Instagram as well. Thanks @socialcitizen:disqus

  • Indeed Ashley, the Nitrogram 50 gives the overview. We provide more details on why these brands are successful on our other outlets. Our classification uses the number of followers of the official brand accounts, as well as the number of photos posted on the brands’ main hashtag. This explains why Go Pro is so successful on Instagram: A lot of people Instagram their photos shot with a GoPro and hashtag them with #gopro.

  • Good question about video. We’ll have to wait and see how it pans out @webtolight:disqus. How did your consumption change after the Instagram update? Ours is a bit more of the same, we just get a ton more excited to check our feed when we see brands innovating in the video department!

  • Jimi Kunkel

    Not really. I totally realize that it would be difficult to come up with a definitive list of lesser known brands. My comment was more wishful thinking than an actual request. I think there is a lot to be learned from bigger brands, but there are also a ton of advantages (money, brand recognition, history etc.) which make it difficult to relate.

  • I don’t have an Instagram account for Internet Dreams yet. So I can’t really answer that question.

    Nice to know how it went for you. Brands now have an opportunity to engage and attract more people by creating iconic videos that an audience will love!

  • MereBear

    To me – Instagram is like a “photoshoot”, and has been fostered by many
    users in that way. These so-called “photoshoots” go hand in hand with
    fashion and art, which eludes to why these are the top brands. The
    growth of these hashtags was initially due to users wearing these
    fashion brands, and simply enjoying that experience. But of course this
    grew into a grounds for corporations to reap the benefits. Just as
    Facebook was able to develop a reputable userbase by starting with
    schools, Instagram grew from an artistic userbase. As long as there’s a
    strong culture around a social network, it will expand into other
    markets, which seems to be the case with Instagram.

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