Studying prominent brands on Instagram can help merchants generate ideas for their own marketing campaigns.
Here is a list of the top brands (excluding celebrities) on Instagram ranked by followers. The brands use behind-the-scenes and do-it-yourself content and inspiring images, as well as stories, contests and giveaways, shoppable images, and lots of videos.
Instagram is the platform’s official account and has the most followers by a wide margin. It posts compelling images, video clips, and longer IGTV — Instagram TV — videos in categories: Talent, Travel, Beauty, Fluff, ASMR, Sports, Art, Food, and Templates. Videos feature DIY content, popular individuals and events, Meet the Creator posts, and weekly found videos at “IGTV Gold.” Instagram’s official account has 300 million followers.
National Geographic posts amazing images to experience the world through the eyes of National Geographic photographers. Videos feature behind-the-scenes footage from the “Hostile Planet” show and creatures up-close in the Under the Lights series. The brand also has a National Geographic Travel page, dedicated purely to travel images, with 30.9 million followers. National Geographic has 109 million followers on Instagram.
Nike is known for celebrity athlete endorsements, but its Instagram account also features plenty of inspirational photos and videos from amazing individuals that you don’t know, fighting to pursue their dreams in segment series like “Dream Crazier,” “Fight for Your Dreams,” and “My Crazy Dream.” The account features triumphs from professional athletes as well. Nike has 87.7 million followers on Instagram.
The Ellen Show
The Ellen Show uses its Instagram account to promote upcoming shows for broadcast and to provide show highlights and behind-the-scenes content. The account also features surprise giveaways to followers. The Ellen Show has 72 million followers on Instagram.
Real Madrid C.F.
Spanish soccer club Real Madrid C.F. is the most popular sports team on Instagram, though rival FC Barcelona is close behind. The page features gameplay highlights and behind-the-scenes content with its players. Real Madrid C.F. has 71.9 million followers on Instagram.
FC Barcelona is just behind rival Real Madrid C.F on Instagram. In addition to showing “Inside the Tour” content with the team, the account features hosted video previews of upcoming matches. FC Barcelona has 70.5 million followers on Instagram.
Victoria’s Secret features images and videos of its models and products. Content is organized mainly along product lines with categories such as Perfect Comfort, Swim, and Eyewear. Instagram TV videos feature behind-the-scenes content on models, such as “Ask an Angel,” and events, such as “Road to the Runway.” Victoria’s Secret has 66.3 million followers on Instagram.
9GAG is a social media website for humorous user-generated content through images, memes, and videos. The Instagram feeds features content from the platform, as well as promotional contests such as “Get 9GAG APP to win US$1,000 by leaving your best GoT fan theory!” 9GAG has 50.2 million followers on Instagram.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration has an Instagram page to help followers explore the universe and to discover our home planet. The page features incredible images of space and space travel. Videos explore different aspects of NASA’s space exploration mission, such as its monthly series, “What’s Up in the Night Sky?” NASA has 42.7 million followers on Instagram.
NBA features images and video highlights of spectacular game performances. Instagram TV video content mainly promotes upcoming games. NBA has 36.9 million followers on Instagram.
Marvel Entertainment features images and videos relating to its superheroes stories. Some of the content focuses on illustration and animation, while other content explores live-action movies and television production, covering the range of its story universe. Marvel Entertainment has 36.5 million followers on Instagram.
Chanel posts images and videos of its high fashion models and products, mainly at runway shows and events, such as a Chanel dress on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. In addition to highlighting the latest trends, there are also DIY moments to help followers create their own sophisticated looks. Chanel has 34.7 million followers on Instagram.
Gucci features its products in richly composed scenes, as well as fashion events such as the recent Met Gala. Its Instagram TV video features seasonal campaigns and fashion shows. Gucci has 33.9 million followers on Instagram.
Adidas Originals is the heritage line of the Adidas brands, focusing on design and creative streetwear. Its Instagram account features content from creators such as Donald Glover and innovative projects such as Sound Labs Creator Camp. Adidas Originals has 33.6 million followers on Instagram.
Spanish fashion retailer ZARA is one of the early adopters of Instagram’s new Tap to Shop functionality, allowing merchants to sell products within the Instagram app. ZARA applies the shoppable image functionality to a few of its posts. But ZARA’s Instagram account is a good resource for merchants to monitor the developments of social commerce. ZARA has 32.7 million followers on Instagram.
See the update from March 2022: “Top 15 Brands on Instagram, for Inspiration.”