The Truth About How Often You Should Be Posting on Instagram

Not sure about yourselves, but we've heard so many different things about how often businesses should be posting on social media. It seems like a new tactic on Instagram posting times is underlined every time we read something on the topic.

It's time to alleviate the confusion, as we shed light on the mystery that's been eating everyone up inside. 🕵️‍♀️


This is Nike's highest performing piece of content. It dates back to 2015 and yielded a 3.55% engagement rate. That is leaps and bounds above their now 0.47% average.



It's a tad fascinating to think about Instagram strategy rules, because when it all comes down to it, there doesn't seem to be a one-size-fits-all handbook. And we've been long time observers (see: this very blog 🤓). Each and every account, whether belonging to a business or an individual, has its own unique properties that simply cannot be generally catered to.

That said, there are some guidelines that apply to all users, big or small, professional or amateur. Add to that deep marketing knowledge, as well as a robust social media strategy, and those players are off to the races. There is one thing we haven't touch upon on this biz blog yet, though, and it's been on our minds for a little while. It's something we've read a ton about without ever finding a consistent thread between all the findings. You might be intrigued as well? Posting frequency.

Instagram peak hours are covered in our Instagram scheduler, but how often to post? It's a different animal. A conundrum no one seems to have a concrete answer to. We're totally aware of the agony brands have been experiencing trying to figure out the optimal goal-reaching posting cadence, and we didn't want to go on one minute longer in this world without addressing it.

But if the rules are different for each handle, who's actually figuring out what the right thing is? We are. And we're basing it on something pretty darn tangible: the biggest brand accounts by size, as well as the most successful brand accounts by engagement. This way, we'll be able to pinpoint exactly what seems to be concretely working.

The time has come to identify what those top brands are doing and how often they are posting to pull some educative conclusions for actionable insights. You might want to get your notepads out for this intel. 📝

NatGeo, the king of Instagram for business.

The Top 10 Brands on Instagram by Size*

*Note: All of these stats were accurate at press time and will probably be slightly different as you read this article. These are the stats based on Instagram posts from the past 12 weeks.

1. @natgeo

TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 77,917,641
ENGAGEMENT RATE: 0.64%
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 65
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 0.43%

2. @nike

TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 72,459,885
ENGAGEMENT RATE: 0.47%
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 2
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 0.30%

3. @victoriassecret

TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 55,724,479
ENGAGEMENT RATE: 0.6%
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 23
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 0.39%

4. @nasa

TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 24,603,857
ENGAGEMENT RATE: 2.06%
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 10
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 1.07%

5. @nba

TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 23,406,528
ENGAGEMENT RATE: 0.8%
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 107
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 0.48%

6. @chanelofficial

TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 22,081,000
ENGAGEMENT RATE: 0.57%
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 8
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 1.09%

7. @hm

TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 21,377,170
ENGAGEMENT RATE: 0.54%
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 20
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 0.62%

8. @adidasfootball

TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 21,126,870
ENGAGEMENT RATE: 1.15%
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 9
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 0.48%

9. @adidasoriginals

TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 20,596,978
ENGAGEMENT RATE: 0.73%
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 15
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 0.92%

10. @zara

TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 20,068,317
ENGAGEMENT RATE: 0.48%
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 8
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 1.26%

OBSERVATIONS 👀

These are all insanely huge accounts with multiple millions of followers. Here are some key takeaways from this data:

  1. All 10 of them are major brands with international recognition. It's highly likely that their Insta popularity has been achieved thanks to their name alone.
  2. The top 3 accounts with the most followers unsurprisingly have the bottom 3 lowest growth rates. It's interesting that Nike is on the very bottom as it relates to growth, but the fact that they only post twice a week sheds light on their poor performance. While Nike is a cool brand, their social media content's infrequencies are taking a toll. Their posts lack luster and do not resonate with Instagram users.
  3. Only 2 names on this list exceed a ratio of 1% engagement. That is very little and proves the above theory of big brands being followed simply because of who they are, and not necessarily because their followers find their content to be compelling.
  4. This low engagement rate on nearly all of these accounts also suggests what we've been observing all along: the bigger your audience, the lower your engagement rate.
  5. Let's look at the only 2 brands on this list that surpass 1% engagement: @nasa at 2.05% and @adidasfootball at 1.15%. Both belong to very niche sectors, something that usually translates to a hyper fanatical audience. It's therefore logical that their followers are highly engaged.
The Posting Frequency Net Net:

Posting frequency is all over the map here, with @nba at the peak of the spectrum and @nike in the valley. Chanel and Zara are growing the fastest and they both average out at 8 posts per week, even though they are on the lower end of the engagement scale.

If we look again at @nasa and @adidasfootball, the two engagement rate standouts, their posting patterns net out at just a little under 2 posts per day: often enough to remain on their followers' radars, but not too much as to feel spammy. This also enables to keep the focus on quality and not on quantity.


Everything Gigi touches turns to gold.



But because determining optimal posting frequency should be correlated to post engagement, using the brands with the top engagement on all of Instagram feels like a more accurate approach than trying to draw conclusions from the app's biggest business accounts.

Here we go.

The Top 10 Brands on Instagram by Engagement**

**It's important to note that this list remains in constant flux. These are the stats based on the past 12 weeks.

But first, a few things to note about Instagram engagement:

  • It is not a permanent metric and this list is ever-changing as businesses adjust their content strategy and as audiences grow.
  • For most business accounts, anything above a 1% engagement rate is good. Anything above 2% is superior, and anything above 3% is astronomical. That makes the following 10 brands complete anomalies in the game.
  • Here at Dash Hudson, we consider the engagement rate metric to be the true barometer of success on Instagram, because it indicates whether or not your followers find your content compelling and care about what you post.

With that in mind, here's what the KPIs look like for the top 10 brands that are crushing it:

1. @tommyxgigi

ENGAGEMENT RATE: 8.09%
TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 224,066
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 6
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 0.70%

2. @mrkatedotcom

ENGAGEMENT RATE: 6.3%
TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 209,573
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 15
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 2.09%

3. @tourismireland

ENGAGEMENT RATE: 5.73%
TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 207,865
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 5
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 1%

4. @maddiestyle

ENGAGEMENT RATE: 5.7%
TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 506,106
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 9
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 1.94%

5. @champion

ENGAGEMENT RATE: 5.56%
TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 685,986
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 4
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 4.23%

6. @fentyxpuma

ENGAGEMENT RATE: 5.3%
TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 388,895
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 4
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 2.06%

7. @boeing

ENGAGEMENT RATE: 4.92%
TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 418,316
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 7
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 1.85%

8. @mercihandy

ENGAGEMENT RATE: 4.69%
TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 137,836
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 6
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 1.89%

9. @sackclothxashes

ENGAGEMENT RATE: 4.3%
TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 240,685
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 5
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 1.43%

10. @captureminnesota

ENGAGEMENT RATE: 4.8%
TOTAL FOLLOWERS: 126,858
AVERAGE POSTS PER WEEK: 9
AVERAGE WEEKLY GROWTH RATE: 0.27%

OBSERVATIONS 👀

Not sure how you guys feel, but we find it extremely fascinating to see that only a select handful of industries are represented in the highest performing top 10. Here are some thoughts:

  1. It looks like users are exceptionally engaged and feel ultra compelled by content that is travel/tourism-related (@tourismireland, @being, @captureminnesota), that serves a charitable cause (@mercihandy, @sackclothxashes) or that is affiliated to a celebrity (@tommyxgigi, @mrkatedotcom, @maddiestyle, @fentyxpuma, @champion from Vêtements fame). If your brand calls one of these niches home, you're in luck and are sitting on a major opportunity.
  2. The fastest growing accounts on this list are all celebrity-related, with the exception of @tommyxgigi, which is experiencing very slow growth. The reason for that appears to be simple: their average weekly posting frequency from the past 12 weeks is 6, but they haven't actually posted anything since April 20th. That supports our not-posting-equals-not-growing mantra.
  3. The slowest growing accounts on this list all seem to post less than once a day, despite what their 12-week average indicates.
The Posting Frequency Net Net:
  • The top 5 biggest accounts from the list average at 6 posts per week.
  • The top 5 highest engaged accounts average at 8 posts per week, with @mrkatedotcom in second place posting at least twice a day.
  • The top 5 fastest growing accounts average at 7.6 per week.
  • The entire top 10 averages out at 6.4 times a week, which is almost once a day.

All of this is a clear indication that you should post at least once a day for optimal engagement. Between once and twice per day like @mrkatedotcom, @maddiestyle and @captureminnesota is also proving to be very effective for keeping followers hooked.

What is also ringing true here is that it's important to consistently stay in front of your followers without spamming them with content. A steady pace ensures that your exposure is continual, but you're focusing on quality as opposed to quantity.

Champion is certainly the champion with its insane engagement and superfast growth.

Evidently there are a slew of factors beyond posting frequency that affect engagement and growth, but this successful user sample is a great place to pull insights from to help guide your efforts. It's important to remember that each account is different, and that what works well for one audience can fail miserably for another.

It all comes down to a robust social strategy, being well-versed with everything encompassing your business' image, being involved with your community, experimenting with content trends, working with the right ambassadors, testing out different Instagram ads and various content formats like video and slideshows, and finally, to back everything up with actual data, courtesy of Dash Hudson.

* Note: All of these stats were at press time and will probably be slightly different as you read this article.


For more Instagram performance insights, get in touch today (right after you subscribe to our weekly newsletter below 👇).