Social Media Analytics Blog

The 10 Most-liked UK Brands on Instagram

The mobile photo-sharing app, Instagram, has over 14 million registered users in the United Kingdom. That makes the software provider from California the 4th most used social network in the UK. We saw this figure as an opportunity to gather the data for the ten most-liked UK brands on Instagram.

This article provides information on the Instagram campaigns of these companies and also looks into different aspects that determine the success or failure of a brand’s Instagram strategy. In addition, it also reveals more about the strategies and tactics that these companies use to engage with their audience.

All brands we have chosen are not picked out of the blue - we were inspired by a list by Business Review Europe that collected the ten most liked brands in the UK: Burberry, Primark, Alexander McQueen, Jaguar, Stella McCartney, BBC News, Aston Martin, Bentley Motors, Rolls-Royce, and Land Rover. The analyzed period was the fourth quarter of 2016 (October 1 - December 31.)

Looking at the follower growth and the favored post type used by these brands is necessary to identify how these brands engage their audience with their content to generate a significant amount of comments and even more likes.

The analyzed accounts are varying from accounts with 2.1 million followers, like ‘Land Rover’, up to Burberry with 8.3 million followers. It also includes different industry sectors such as the fashion industry, a broadcasting company, and the automobile sector.

Let’s start with a glimpse of the posts made by the ten most liked UK brands on Instagram.

Instagram remains the platform for images

Taking a look at the average amount of posts for the most liked UK brands on Instagram, we can see that every brand posted on average 67 posts (including video and image posts) per month. That equals about 2 posts per day. Those are useful numbers for marketers, as it reveals more about the frequency of how a specific amount of posts can boost an Instagram account, and can also eventually be adapted to your own Instagram strategy.

The predominant post type on Instagram *drum roll* are images, which shouldn’t come off as a surprise since Instagram started as a platform for photos. Looking at the average amount of image posts, we can see that the brands post at least 45 images per month, in contrast to the average of 22 video posts per brand, which is a pretty notable amount of videos.

This underlines the prevalence of images on Instagram, but not all brands see Instagram solely as an image platform.

85.95% of BBC news posts are videos

The exception in our case is the BBC. The British broadcaster follows another agenda to engage their audience. They prefer to use video content to image content - a strategy that can be beneficial for engaging viewers for a longer period of time with the posted content. Their video posts vary from scientific discoveries to current affairs and wildlife nature shoots, like this one:

Of their 477 posts, BBC made use of 410 video posts, a share of 85.95%. This certainly is an interesting figure compared to the amount of videos posted by the other UK brands on Instagram which are mainly focusing on images. We can only estimate the dedication the BBC puts into Instagram, especially when estimating the time editing one video takes.

For example, Primark - the company with the most posts in total - concentrates mainly on photos. Of their 511 overall posts were 93.54% images (478), and only 6.46% videos (33).

But Primark didn’t solely focus on providing a lot of image content to their audience, they also know how to engage their audience when you look at the amount of likes they received!

Instagram Emoji Study

The fashion company certainly knows how to do one thing for sure, and that is how to engage their community. Over 20 million likes were achieved between October and December 2016. This makes Primark the company with the most likes of all analyzed brands.

What we can learn from Primark is that the high-street fashion retailer follows a specific strategy that seems to be more engaging and in particular more attractive to its audience. Olly Rzysko - Head of Digital at Primark - told Digiday back in June 2016 about the secret behind their success:

We found that our content has done best when it looks like a friend posted it. It’s not about being staged. We’re essentially a guest on their feed, so we need to fit in.

Providing a personal touch to their content seems to be the key secret to the chain’s Instagram success.

But Primark is not the only well-performing UK brand on Instagram. Looking at the figures on a more detailed level, we can see that the British car manufacturer, Jaguar, had the most successful post in terms of amount of likes. Jaguar’s post that shows the luxury model F-Type, garnered over 110,000 Instagram users to like the picture. The longing for luxury goods seems to attract a lot of people. This phenomenon can also be seen with the other luxurious brands such as Burberry or Rolls-Royce.


Elevating performance to an art form. #Jaguar #FTYPE #Coupé #InstaCar

A post shared by Jaguar (@jaguar) on


Encourage your audience

Engaging your audience is not only important in terms of likes, but also important in terms of comments. Creating interactions on an Instagram account is the key to boosting the success of your content.

This category is also dominated by Primark. 9 of their 511 posts made it to the list of the ten most commented posts. Their most successful post received 4,562 comments.

To conclude, a straightforward strategy that directly speaks to your target group can lead to highly successful Instagram performance. Therefore, tailoring your content to a specific group that it directly speaks to is more effective than simply showing a video or a picture of your product.

Filters are outdated

Filters are certainly not state of the art anymore. Since nearly all UK brands on Instagram do not make use of them at all and have switched to a non-filter strategy. Similar tendencies were already revealed in a previous quintly Instagram study.

We can only guess why 9 out of the 10 profiles didn’t use any filters at all. But one reason could be that all pictures that are used on Facebook timelines are already edited and adjusted to Instagram before they get published.

Through this, the editing of a picture with a filter becomes unnecessary. That also means that higher production costs are involved in the process of producing pictures on Instagram.

Gone are the days of the snapshots, welcome to the days of high-end productions.

UK Car manufacturers grow by 20%

To conclude our analysis, let’s take a look at the follower growth of the accounts. To make this easier and more clear for you to learn more about, we have visualized them for you.

Growth rate of UK brands on Instagram

Interesting to see here is that five brands, Land Rover, Bentley Motors, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and Jaguar all had a follower growth of over 20%. That is remarkable and shows that even big brands still have the potential to attract more followers. It also implies that Instagram is far from being saturated.

What’s also interesting in this relation is that Burberry had the lowest follower growth in percentage but the highest growth in absolute follower numbers. The British luxury fashion brand from London gained 676,138 new followers on Instagram. This again underlines that Instagram is not even close to reaching its saturation point.

Takeaways for Marketers

Providing attractive content to your community is as important as constantly posting content. Your followers need to feel the urge to double-tap your image.

This strategy can be taken on in various ways: Be it by triggering a desire for luxury goods (Burberry, Jaguar), showing a combination of affordable products in a scenario that looks like if a friend posted it (Primark), or simply informing your audience (BBC news).

There are many different approaches to secure a successful Instagram campaign. We tried to outline some of them for you so that you can test them out and maybe apply them to your own strategy. Use this as inspiration!

Surprised by the results or simply want to know more about the most liked UK brands on Instagram? Just leave us a comment or tweet us.

Tags: Instagram, analysis, UK Brands, Social Media Analysis

Nils Herrmann

Nils is part of the quintly communication team. He is a committed writer with a keen interest in new technologies and social media strategies.

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