Study Shows What Instagram Pics Drive The Most Sales

What filter (or lack thereof) you choose on Instagram may be giving away a lot of valuable info. According to a new study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin, retailers can now tell which kind of Instagram pics create the most sales. Researchers looked at data from the platform Olapic, which allows retailers to run a hand-selected feed of Instagram pics on their websites.

According to Fashionista, Purush Papatla, professor of marketing at the University of Wisconsin, says that he and his team collected data on people who browsed user-generated Instagram photos that were hosted on a brand's page via Olapic. The team then tracked if that person eventually purchased something from the brand that they had previously viewed. Papatla and his team were able to gather a few key photo characteristics that most frequently lead to purchases:

  • High levels of yellow or blue
  • Longer captions
  • No question marks or exclamation points
  • No filters
  • From infrequent posters with high follower counts

While some of those Instagram characteristics may make sense, researchers also discovered some surprising information about Instagram's interaction with retailers and shoppers. The data, especially in the area of colors, conflicted with previous marketing studies.

Even though many studies have shown the connection between colors and marketing and named red as a consistently consumer-appealing color, Papatla's research revealed some differences. The Olapic study showed red had no influence on consumers. Interestingly, the researchers also found that the elements of Instagram that lead to the most engagement (likes and comments) are not the same things that lead to sales boosts for retailers. Hm.

In response to the findings, Olapic's co-founder Pau Sabria told Fashionista that he believes the future holds an even larger place for user-generated photos in e-commerce and a more personalized e-commerce experience for consumers. Sounds about right.