The 10 Most Important Brands on Social in January

It's probably not who you think.


Spoiler alert: Mickey Mouse is real popular.


Brands of the world have recognized that social media marketing is a prevalent component of the funnel. Oddly enough, it's also a practice that eludes a lot of companies. How does a business concoct a marketing strategy that yields high Instagram engagement rates? The mystery is alive and well.

We identified the top brands with the highest engagement on Instagram this past month, and some of these names will likely surprise you. Operating above the line usually means being lead by the abstract, which makes social media more of an art than a science. While data should inform most of your decisions, that thing known as intuition should guide the intangible efforts.

Creating a branded world and telling a compelling story to engage people through visuals is a challenge for a lot of marketers. And Instagram isn't forgiving — if your content is no good, then your performance is going to be lacking, whether or not you've been getting by on name recognition. Brand value is a whole different ball game in today's contemporary landscape.

So what does success look like on the visual platform? There's no one size fits all solution, but one of the most telling signs of social resonance is a high engagement rate. It's actually a very tricky thing to accomplish, and while a ton of brands manage to establish themselves as Instagram savvy, it remains a real tough feat to rise above 1.5%.

V true. The new season of @TeachersSeries premieres tonight at 10/9c on @TVLand. #sponsored

A photo posted by BETCHES (@betches) on

Let's be real, people.


Here are some factors that affect engagement, making it hella hard to climb upwards.

- The time of day. The more optimized your posting times are, the higher your engagement will be. Our scheduler tool is not only a heaven-sent for social media editors as it relates to practicality and overall planning for grid aesthetic, but it also tells you what times your images will perform best according to your posting history. Yup.

- Your image quality. If you're not posting high quality images, chances are you're not reaping any love. People won't dispense any double taps for a crappy visual, that's just the reality we live in.

- Misunderstanding your audience. Marketing 101: know your target market and find the best ways to reach it. If your followers are not who you think they are, then the content you're posting will not resonate with them.

- The algorithm. The world first heard rumblings of this, um, situation almost one year ago, and it finally reared its head in the early summer of 2016, forever changing the Insta game. The algorithm surfaces content according to a very complex equation of factors, which ultimately affects engagement rates.

That said, it's normal for individual accounts to have high engagement rates because it's far easier to form interpersonal relationships than for businesses to develop connections with people. It's therfore quite a coup to rack up anything above the 1.5% mark, let alone 2%.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 brands with the highest engagement on Instagram according to the January data.

10. @icecream - 3.28% engagement rate

Unsurprisingly, people respond really well to ice cream. The Ice Cream account is a niche within the Infatuation vertical, [soft] serving up some of the best ice cream porn on the 'Gram.

9. @volvocars - 3.4% engagement rate

They say Volvos are some of the best cars out there. Well, apparently they also have some of the most highly engaged fans on Instagram. Safety first.

8. @pizza - 3.57% engagement rate

Another sibling within the Infatuation family. When the moon hits your eye...

7 fishes 🎄, 8 days of light 🕎, 9 nights of #Pizza 🍕. 📸: @vandough #EEEEEATS #DailyPizza

A photo posted by 🍕 #DailyPizza (@pizza) on

7. @pokemon - 4.22% engagement rate

The Pokémon craze is not over, no sir no ma'am. The little yellow critter is shattering Instagram records. Next up: world domination?

Zzz...just five more minutes, please… #PokemonCenter #Pokemon #Pikachu

A photo posted by Pokémon (@pokemon) on

6. @newyorkercartoons - 4.61% engagement rate

Name one person who doesn't love cartoons. Whoever they are, they're lame. The New Yorker account dedicated to humoristic sketches is killing the game on IG.

A cartoon by Will McPhail. #TNYcartoons

A photo posted by The New Yorker Cartoons (@newyorkercartoons) on

5. @disneyaulani - 5.12% engagement rate

Stop and think for a second: what is the dreamiest combo you can think of? If you answered Disney and Hawaii, then you're onto something.

Come for the sunrise. Stay for the sunset. #Aulani #Beach #Hawaii (Photo: @ makitmr)

A photo posted by Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa (@disneyaulani) on

4. @disneylandparis - 5.12% engagement rate

Leave it to Disney to have not one, but 2 features on this list. Goes to show that people love to dream. From Hawaii, all the way to Paris.

3. @johndeere - 5.2% engagement rate

Who knew a company that builds construction equipment would ever find itself to be in the top 5 highest performing brands on social media?

Going the distance. #DeereSighting by Kyle W.

A photo posted by John Deere (@johndeere) on

2. @champion - 6.41% engagement rate

The old school sports apparel brand is crushing the competition in the race that really matters: the Instagram one.

Team Maroon. ✋

A photo posted by Champion (@champion) on

1. @fentyxpuma - 6.51% engagement rate

Leave it to Robyn Fenty Rihanna to create the number one brand on Instagram. Mic drop.



Do any of these surprise you? We want to know, leave a comment below!


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