20 most followed brands on Instagram

20 Most followed brands on Instagram in 2019

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Veena Ramakrishnan
September 9, 2019 13 min read

Which are the most followed brands on Instagram and how did they get there? Luckily, we have an Instagram analytics tool that tracks, among other things, which brands have the most followers.

Instagram has proven to be a great platform for brands to market their products. In fact, 60% of the world’s top brands use this photo/video sharing network for marketing, so it’s little wonder brands are doing everything they can to grow their audience.

So what are they offering to keep their audience engaged? What is their social strategy on Instagram? Are they paying to get more followers on Instagram or are they growing their fan base organically?

Fashion dominates Instagram

First thing’s first. A look at the top brands from Fashion, Cosmetics, Athleisure, and other industries painted a clear picture that the Fashion industry dominates on Instagram in terms of followers. This might not sound all that surprising considering fashion and Instagram go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong (10 points for those that get the song reference). A look at the top fashion brands found that they have an average of 35 million followers followed by Athleisure brands at 21 million followers, and Cosmetic brands at 15 million followers.

Top brands on Instagram

1. Nike – 90 million followers

Nike is the most followed brand on Instagram with over 90 million followers.

 

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Few make history. Fewer change it. ⠀ Don’t change your dream. Change the world. #justdoit

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I know I just said that fashion brands dominate, and I know Nike isn’t a fashion brand, it’s just the exception to the rule.

The brand’s content strategy centers around sports personalities adorned in Nike apparel as an inspiration to go out there and JUST DO IT.

This iconic brand added 87 million followers in the last 5 years, a staggering 2,858% growth in follower—with an average of 43,000 followers added per day! While there are several reasons for the brand’s steady growth on Instagram, the regular campaigns run by Nike account for a major increase in fan growth.

Campaigns like the 2018 #makersofthegame—a tribute to athlete Kobe Bryant who revolutionized sports and culture—and the 2017 #Breaking2—centered around athletes who embarked on running a marathon under 2 hours—were two campaigns that gave the brand a boost in engagement and follower growth.

Their top posts on Instagram feature sports personalities like Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Madison Keys to name a few. The brand also uses this highly visual platform to create a buzz around their new product launches in the form of teasers and videos.

2. Victoria’s Secret – 68 million followers

 

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@carmellarose got the memo: gorgeous lingerie is meant to be seen. #regram

A post shared by Victoria’s Secret (@victoriassecret) on

Victoria’s Secret is the Fashion industry leader with 68 million followers on Instagram. The brand’s showcase of its models adorned in VS apparel helps create aspirational appeal among its followers.

Victoria’s Secret had a steady growth on Instagram over the last 5 years. The brand added 62 million followers since 2014, a 1,343% growth in followers which is almost 32,000 followers added per day.

The brand’s content strategy centers around behind-the-scenes photos of fashion shows, product promotions, and new product launches that boost their engagement rates.

3. Huda Beauty – 38 million followers


This beauty empire created by Huda Kattan spearheads the cosmetic industry in terms of audience size with 38 million followers. What sets Huda apart from the other cosmetics brands is that the founder, Huda, is the brand. She is the voice and face of every campaign and makeup tutorial the brand launches. 

Launched in 2013, Huda Beauty has seen consistent growth on Instagram. The brand gained nearly 24 million followers since 2016—that’s 21,000 followers added per day!

The brand follows a well-crafted content strategy on Instagram. Huda invests heavily on educational videos with makeup tips and tutorials rather than images of their products. By posting consistently and creating Instagram stories like a pro, Huda beauty has built a strong community that adores its beauty line.

4. Chanel – 36 million followers

Luxury brand Chanel takes the second position in the Fashion industry with 36 million followers. The brand’s content screams luxury and aspiration which has won it a loyal following.

Consistency is the watchword for Chanel as it grew its Instagram account at a gradual pace without any major upticks in growth. The brand added an average of 19,500 followers every day over the last 4 years.

Their content strategy, like most fashion brands, follows the trend of uploading product-related images and videos, celebrity endorsements, and behind-the-scenes footage from fashion shows.

5. Gucci – 35.6 million followers


Gucci is perhaps the definition of Italian craftsmanship. This luxury brand has 35.6 million followers (a hair’s breadth behind Chanel) and has added close to 4 million followers in just the last 6 months. Similar to Chanel, the brand posts aspirational images and videos from its fashion events, new product launches, and celebrity endorsements.

Gucci has had a steady increase in fans since 2014, gaining a total of 33 million followers over the last 5 years with an average of 17,000 followers added daily.

Gucci runs several campaigns on Instagram that garners a lot of engagement. One such campaign called #24hourace featured videos of the brand’s sneakers brought to life in the hands of video artists from all over the world and did phenomenally well.

6. Zara – 34 million followers

 

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This week at @livingzara, meet @teget and her favourite dogs #livingzara

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Instagram is the perfect platform for Zara to treat its audience with its visual storytelling. With 34 million followers, Zara reigns supreme on this platform with captivating images, videos, and killer influencer campaigns.

7. Louis Vuitton – 33 million followers

Fashion is best translated through visuals and Louis Vuitton is a master at it. This luxury brand is acing the Instagram game with a healthy mix of images and videos, all of which look sophisticated and appealing. With 33.3 million followers (and counting!), Louis Vuitton is winning social media engagement one heart at a time.

8. Dior – 26.6 million followers


Dior is yet another luxury brand that is doing great on Instagram. The brand’s handle is loaded with alluring images of models adorned in Dior and has captured 26.6 million followers with some classic campaigns.

9. Adidas – 24 million followers

Adidas’s visual content on Instagram is a treat for any viewer. With images of sports personalities adorned in the brand’s label and motivating campaigns, Adidas leaves its 24 million followers nothing short of inspired and enthused to buy their products.

10. MAC – 22 million followers

MAC Cosmetics’ quality assurance doesn’t just apply to its products but is a reflection of the brand’s social media strategy as well. The brand also effortlessly blends its employees and work-related content in its feed. With stunning images and captivating videos, this cosmetic brand stands tall in the Cosmetics industry with 22.3 million followers.

11. BMW – 22 million followers

 

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Styled for challenges. The BMW M4 Coupé. #TheM4 #BMW #M4 #BMWM #BMWrepost @CGERM_ @blacklist.culture __ BMW M4 Coupé: Fuel consumption in l/100 km (combined): 10.0 – 9.9 (9.3). CO2 emissions in g/km (combined): 227 – 225 (213 – 211). The figures in brackets refer to the vehicle with seven-speed M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic. The values of fuel consumptions, CO2 emissions and energy consumptions shown were determined according to the European Regulation (EC) 715/2007 in the version applicable at the time of type approval. The figures refer to a vehicle with basic configuration in Germany and the range shown considers optional equipment and the different size of wheels and tires available on the selected model. The values of the vehicles are already based on the new WLTP regulation and are translated back into NEDC-equivalent values in order to ensure the comparison between the vehicles. [With respect to these vehicles, for vehicle related taxes or other duties based (at least inter alia) on CO2-emissions the CO2 values may differ to the values stated here.] The CO2 efficiency specifications are determined according to Directive 1999/94/EC and the European Regulation in its current version applicable. The values shown are based on the fuel consumption, CO2 values and energy consumptions according to the NEDC cycle for the classification. For further information about the official fuel consumption and the specific CO2 emission of new passenger cars can be taken out of the „handbook of fuel consumption, the CO2 emission and power consumption of new passenger cars“, which is available at all selling points and at https://www.dat.de/angebote/verlagsprodukte/leitfaden-kraftstoffverbrauch.html.

A post shared by BMW (@bmw) on

BMW emerges as the auto industry leader with 22 million followers on Instagram. It uses Instagram to showcase its latest innovations and concept cars, spurring enthusiasm and questions on what the brand’s latest offerings are.

12. Dolce & Gabbana – 21.5 million followers

Dolce & Gabbana is reigning on Instagram with its alluring product images and videos garnering thousands of interactions by the second. The luxury brand’s visual storytelling leaves its 21.5 million followers in awe and excitement to get their hands on the brand’s products.

13. Mercedes Benz – 21.5 million followers


This German automobile brand is known for its visually compelling content on Instagram. The brand’s feed is filled with stylish cars captured in different locations by social influencers that include photographers, car bloggers, and car racers. Mercedes also runs innovative campaigns on Instagram. Their #pride campaign featuring their luxury cars with one car for each color of the rainbow gave a strong message of inclusion, garnering a lot of engagement from their community of 21.5 million followers.

14. Kylie cosmetics – 21.4 million followers


Kylie Jenner’s very own makeup line is a paradise for cosmetic enthusiasts. If you stumble upon Kylie Cosmetics’ Instagram handle, you’ll surely find yourself spending hours scrolling through their attractive feed. The brand’s video content educates its audience on product usage and makeup guidelines along with updates on new product launches. Kylie Cosmetics bags the third position in the Cosmetics industry with 21.4 million followers.

15. Lamborghini – 21 million followers


The chances of coming across comments that say “Yeah no, I don’t like the look of this car” on Lamborghini’s Instagram handle is as slim as it can get. Visuals, visuals, and more visuals. That’s how this brand uses Instagram to narrate its story. Lamborghini’s Tour of China campaign which marked the brand’s 10th anniversary in the Chinese market garnered a lot of engagement on Instagram. The brand posted images of drivers and passengers touring China’s rural countryside in style. The brand added 4 million followers in that last 6 months by rolling out innovative campaigns and creating buzz around their new designs to keep their 21.2 million followers engaged.

16. Prada – 20 million followers


The devil may wear Prada, but Prada wears digital like a second skin. Like most fashion brands, Prada has embraced the digital era with an active presence on social media. The brand’s Instagram feed leaves its 20.3 million followers itching to get their hands on the luxury designer brand’s latest products.

17. Anastasia Beverly Hills – 19.5 million followers

 

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Perfect brows in under 1 minute using Dipbrow Gel Waterproof & long-wearing.

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This beauty brand is one of the most powerful and engaging players in the Cosmetics industry. Anastasia Beverly Hills leverages user-generated content to grow its community like a pro. Nothing shows commitment to serve better as a brand than responding to your followers directly and building relationships. And Anastasia Beverly Hills does just that to its 19.5 million devotees on Instagram.

18. Versace – 18.9 million followers


Opulent and bold. That’s how I’d define the luxury brand Versace’s Instagram handle. Versace’s Instagram feed is a sight for sore eyes. One look at the models in the brand label and you’ll be itching to get your hands on their product line yourself. The brand has mastered the art of visual storytelling and has built a community of 18.9 million followers.

19. Calvin Klein – 18.3 million followers


Calvin Klein has 18.3 million followers on Instagram that adore the brand for its highly stylish product line. The brand has rolled out several campaigns in the past that resonated really well with their audience. One such campaign which took the Internet by storm was #MyCalvin. This campaign asked celebrities to post images of them wearing Calvin Klein with the line  I _____ in #MyCalvin. Celebrities like Justin Beiber, Kendrick Lamar, and Kendall Jenner to name a few participated in this campaign which won loads of interactions for the brand.

20. Starbucks – 18 million followers

 

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Dragonfruit and coconutmilk. 💖Introducing a match made in paradise. #DragonDrink

A post shared by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on


If there is one brand that can make coffee look irresistible, it’s definitely Starbucks. The brand has built an ardent community of 18 million coffee lovers on Instagram. Starbucks regularly posts pictures of its products set in unique and beautiful locations that capture the essence of Instagram which is all about visual storytelling.

Tips to score big on Instagram:

1. Master the art of visual storytelling

Nothing captures the attention of your audience than an eye-popping visual of your brand’s products. Create a visual narration for your brand by posting alluring images set in unique and beautiful locations. Following a consistent theme of hues, angles, looks, or even captions on your Instagram feed can also greatly help with brand recognition. 

2. Posting consistency

Having a consistent posting schedule will help you track your performance and also give your audience a chance to get used to your style and tone of voice. Visual Marketing tool Tailwind’s study on posting frequency on Instagram revealed that the more you post on Instagram the more likes you get. While this has proven to be working for brands like Dior and Starbucks, who post almost everyday, Nike, which bagged the number one position, posts less than 2 times a week and yet receives a large number of interactions. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop experimenting. But once you find that sweet spot that gives you more engagement, stick to that. 

3. Have a killer content strategy

Have a healthy mix of videos and images as part of your content strategy. The content that you post acts as the voice of your brand. Build a narrative around your products and post content that isn’t just product updates. Give your audience a glimpse of your company culture, entwine employee stories, and insights on the social activities your brand indulges in as part of your content strategy.

4. Leverage user-generated content

User-generated content drives high engagements for brands, as seen by Starbucks which is a great example of utilizing user-generated content.  By building a feed around you and your audience, you create a sense of solidarity with your brand.

5. Post at the right time

This is where you need to pay heed to your Instagram insights and analytics. You need to know when is the best time to post on your handle, what are the best and worst days to post your content, when are your audience most active on Instagram, and so on. If you need help finding the right Instagram analytics tools, here’s an article to help you with just that.

If you admire the strategies of these top 20 brands and want to evaluate your social media marketing plan, be sure to track your efforts with Unmetric Analyze.

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