Umass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research Blog

Business Success on Instagram

We wanted to share with you the latest study from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research on how successful businesses were using Instagram.

Instagram was launched in 2010 as a free mobile app for photo sharing and social networking. It enjoyed rapid growth, fueled by Millennials, and had a million active users just two months after its launch. It currently boasts over 300 million active users. Facebook purchased the platform in 2012 for approximately $1 billion. (

While this highly visual platform’s rapid growth can be attributed to young people, it has also attracted the attention of businesses. This report focuses on the adoption and use of Instagram among 2015’s most successful companies. The first group looks at the fastest growing businesses in the US, the Inc. 500 (named by Inc. Magazine) while the second group looks at the wealthiest businesses, the Fortune 500 (named by Fortune Magazine).

Here are the highlights of our study:
  • Rank influences the adoption of Instagram. Forty-four percent of the top 200 on the Inc. 500 list and 49% of the top 200 on the Fortune 500 list are active Instagram users.
  • Those in the consumer products and retail/consumer products industries hold the most active Instagram accounts.
  • Nike extends its dominance of social media sites with over 40 million Instagram followers. Lesser known Inc. 500 companies capture 1-2 million followers for the most active companies.
  • Approximately ¾ of all posts in both groups receive 1-30 comments from consumers. Half of the Fortune 500 group replies to comments while 33% of the Inc. group does.
  • For the Fortune 500, the objective of using Instagram is to disseminate information about their products/product lines, brands, specs etc. and for product promotion.  For the Inc. 500 companies, there is almost an equal emphasis on product promotion and sharing company happenings/events. They also engage in posting content that demonstrates thought leadership in their industry.
The Center is now taking clients for the January semester.  If you need high quality research done at extremely affordable prices, please give me a call at 508-999-8756.

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