When you think about Instagram, what pops into your head? Carefully filtered, edited and framed shots of beaches, sunsets, city scapes and coffee art? Artists with an Earlybird fetish and Time photographers documenting natural disasters? Perhaps just the occasional clever shot of some beautiful architecture or a stunning landscape, mingled in with the occasional cat photo?
That’s probably the impression you’d gather from Instagram’s branding, blog posts and general persona as the social network for hipsters. You’d expect the top users to be photographers, illustrators and travellers with a unique eye for detail. Well, you’d be wrong.
While there are a few creatives with sizeable followings, the fact remains that if you look at the most popular users on the service, it’s pretty much the same round-up of celebs that rack up the follower counts on other social media platforms. And, like the tweens who are using the service for internal competitions and the teenagers posting social pics, they’re largely uninterested in filtered sunset shots. Purists may mutter that they’re not using Instagram ‘properly’, but they’re the stars that users are obviously interested in following (and trolling).
Instagram analytics from Webstagram give interesting insight into exactly who is the most loved and what is the most shared. Did you know that 44% of two-million or so of the most popular grams haven’t been filtered (one of the hallmarks of the app)? Or that the third most popular tag is #me? Or that a large number of the most followed users are members of the Kardashian family?
According to Webstagram, the list of the most-followed users looks a little something like this:
1. Instagram (@instagram): 17.54-million followers
Yep, the most popular account on Instagram is Instagram’s, which is followed by just over 17% of its 100-million users. The team uses the account to share a mix of shots from its office over at Facebook HQ as well as to highlight interesting accounts and images, broadcast the latest hashtag project (devised for their users every weekend), advertise instameets and showcase the shots users have taken relating to topical events or at exotic destinations.
2. Kim Kardashian (@kimkardashian): 7.01-million followers
Reality stars have a huge following on Instagram — and Kim K leads the pack. So, what does she post? Selfies. Lots of selfies. Plus pics of her shoes, mirror shots of her outfits before events, reposted press photos, family and behind-the-scenes snapshots and her latest style obsessions… which almost always elicit major comments wars between trolls and Kardashian devotees.
3. Justin Bieber (@justinbieber): 7.00-million followers
Following just behind Kim is the kid who has been dominating social media since his baby face first hit YouTube. Justin is a fan of the one-handed self-portrait, but also shares shots of his family, daily life, meetups with celebs, his Super Mario PJs and travels (especially in and around private planes).
4. Rihanna (@badgalriri): 5.50-million followers
This singer seems to be seriously into motivational posters… and smoking…. and half-naked shots of herself.
5. Kendall Jenner (@kendalljenner): 4.59-million followers
One of the younger members of the Kardashian/Jenner clan is almost as popular as her big sister on Instagram. Seventeen year old Kendall Jenner’s feed is stocked with pretty city and landscape shots, as well as a random self-portrait or two and large doses of photos of ice cream, bread, candy and cake.
6. Taylor Swift (@taylorswift): 4.55-million followers
Ever wondered what it would be like to be Miss Swift? Her Instagram feed can help you out. It’s all sweets in her dressing room, her adorable cat, the view from her hotel room in Cannes and lots of girlishness.
7. Kylie Jenner (@kyliejenner): 3.90-million followers
Like her big sisters, little Jenner is a frequent Instagram user. The fifteen year old shares shots of… well, herself. More specifically, her nails, her jewellery, her shoes, her car, her friends and her face.
8. Khloe Kardashian Odom (@khloekardashian): 3.80-million followers
Khloe’s gallery is a random collection of family snaps, things seen out and about, motivational posters and product shots of her shoes and her husband Lamar Odom’s clothing line, Rich Soil.
9. Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash): 3.52-million followers
Yes, another Kardashian. Are you sensing a trend? You can see from Kourtney’s feed that she’s a mom — it’s all pirate cupcakes, food, kids toys and baby clothes, mixed in with the Kardashian staples (shoe shots and selfies).
10. Ariana Grande (@arianagrande): 2.74-million followers
Outfit shots, inspirational sayings and a lot of pink hues are order of the day over on Ariana Grande’s profile. The 19-year-old singer and star of Nickelodeon sitcom ‘Victorious’ uses her Instagram account to showcase behind-the-scenes studio shots from the making of her upcoming album and catalogue her baking adventures and her fur baby.
11. Beyoncé Knowles (@baddiebey): 2.73-million followers
It seems Beyoncé is a lady of few words — she’s not really into lengthy captions, but posts quirky photos both of her and taken by her (like of the champagne at the Grammy Awards and the floor markings at Barack Obama’s recent inauguration). She also uploads shots of handwritten notes to her fans and motivational quotes.
12. Harry Styles (@harrystyles): 2.56-million followers
With hundreds of variations of “Harry I love you <3" and "Harry if I met you I would die", the comments section in Harry Styles' photos shows the crazy level of devotion among Directioners. The singer keeps them all entertained with shots of his travels, his One Direction bandmates and what's happening backstage and on tour.
13. Snooki (@snookinic): 2.54-million followers
The Jersey Shore star is a “mommy and a future wifey” who shares shots of her baby mixed in with a lot of one-handed self portraits and mirror shots. No, really. A lot.