Skift Take

Brands that are planning their 2015 marketing budgets should consider how they will allocate resources to producing original photographs or leveraging user-generated content -- or both -- on Instagram.

Instagram, the four-year-old mobile-first photo- and video-sharing platform, just hit a milestone for its community.

Twitter currently has 284 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) while Instagram reported that it has over 300 million MAUs. Although Instagram’s community is still smaller than its parent company, Facebook, and its video competitor, YouTube, it’s growing the fastest in 2014. Currently, Facebook has 1.35 billion MAUs and YouTube is at 1 billion Monthly Unique Visitors. To put it into perspective, Facebook is ten years old, YouTube is nine years old, and Twitter is eight.

Besides having the highest user growth rate among these three platforms, Instagram also has the most engaged community. According to Forrester, 4.21% of brands’ total followers have engaged with their content in comparison to 0.03% and 0.07% of brands’ total followers on Twitter and Facebook, respectively. This is one of the major reasons why brands are flocking to this network to reach consumers.

These figures will change dramatically in 2015 because Instagram also announced that it will eliminate spambots forever — so to speak, as nothing is really is deleted in the digital world — which will decrease total follower count. They are attempting to cultivate a human and brands-turned-human network.

An average of 70 million photos are uploaded to Instagram every day, and these photos are by and large uploaded with no filter. When looking at the top three most popular brands on SkiftIQ with the most engaged communities — National Geographic Travel, Tourism Australia, and Walt Disney World Resorts — photos and videos are uploaded 90% of the time, and the remaining are Lo-fi, Rise, and Earlybird filtered.

Here’s a quick look at the largest and most active brands and influencers in travel by Instagram metrics and the most popular content from as tracked by SkiftIQ.

Note: SkiftIQ tracks the social media efforts of over 2,700 travel brands.

Top Travel Brands by Instagram Followers:

Instagram Accounts Followers
natgeotravel 1,486,935
australia 996,039
fosterhunting 972,278
waltdisneyworld 813,756
anthonybourdain 400,281
usinterior 386,060
travelandleisure 322,080
lonelyplanet 210,444
richardbranson 200,946
tsa 194,832

Source: SkiftIQ

Fastest Growing Travel Brands on Instagram:

Instagram Accounts Followers/Day
natgeotravel 7,378
waltdisneyworld 3,302
australia 1,765
travelandleisure 1,251
anthonybourdain 1,179
travelalberta 843
tsa 607
usinterior 566
cntraveler 564
explorecanada 534

Source: SkiftIQ

Top Travel Brands by Total Likes on Instagram:

Instagram Accounts Likes
australia 60,260,987
natgeotravel 35,842,084
fosterhunting 13,367,446
waltdisneyworld 10,766,486
usinterior 9,679,922
travelandleisure 5,384,206
zachspassport 4,163,912
puremichigan 4,020,837
chefaz 4,012,540
cntraveler 2,930,390

Source: SkiftIQ

Top travel brands by Total Likes/Total Media on Instagram:

Instagram Accounts Likes/Media
waltdisneyworld 23,204
natgeotravel 16,359
australia 15,428
anthonybourdain 8,007
usinterior 6,445
fosterhunting 5,341
puremichigan 4,232
travelandleisure 2,926
zachspassport 2,566
airbnb 2,507

Source: SkiftIQ

Increasingly, travel photos has become huge on Instagram. Here are the most popular content from the top performing travel brands as of 12/10/14:

"Let the storm rage on!" (Photo: @zach_moree) #waltdisneyworld #frozen

A photo posted by Walt Disney World (@waltdisneyworld) on


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Tags: disney, disney parks, instagram, skiftiq, social media, tourism australia

Photo credit: Contributing photographer's mundane shot of autumn leaves on a rainy day in New Jersey. John Kernick / Instagram

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