THE BLOG

18/05/2017 15:46 BST | Updated 18/05/2017 15:46 BST

More than 1.2 million posts have been scheduled through HopperHQ to date - that means we have a lot of data at our fingertips! We thought it would be helpful to analyse this data to find out just what makes the perfect Instagram post. When we say perfect, we mean it terms of getting the most engagement through likes and comments.

So here's a handy guide of what works best on the world's favourite photo sharing platform:

1. Filters

Instagram gives you a variety of options when it comes to putting a filter on your post. According to our data Gingham is the most popular and attracts the most likes and comments, giving photos a vintage edge and is especially effective on selfies. Clarendon came in at a close second, accentuating light and dark colours, and is often used on scenery images. If you're feeling more advanced, check out our recommendation for 5 of the best photo editing apps to take your Insta-photography to the next level.

Instagram Filters

2. Type of photo

Posts that share personal experiences also receive a high amount of engagement, for example, weight loss journeys and travel pictures. These updates received, on average, a fifth (22%) more likes compared to other images posted by the same account.

Posts from female users receive the most likes and comments (sorry gents!), with an average of 578 likes compared to 117 on average for a post from a male user. The number of comments was also higher, 170 on women's posts, a third more than men who receive an average of 113 comments per post.

Posts of animals, such as cats and dogs, are the second most engaged with, receiving on average 120 likes and 60 comments. Scenery images, such as beaches, mountains and sunsets, are the third most popular, earning on average 90 likes and 45 comments.

3. Hashtags

A hashtag, as you probably already know, will categorise your photo, so when a user an Instagram searches a hashtag that your post includes, they'll be able to see it in the results. We've previously given you the best hashtags for Instagram photography, and the best for Insta-fashion accounts, this time round we've found the top ten list of most popular hashtags currently used on Instagram. If you use any of these hashtags you're going to improve your chances of your post being seen by people who don't follow you already, which can mean more likes and comments.

1. #love - 1.017 billion posts

2. #instagood - 544.2 million posts

3. #photooftheday - 389.0 million posts

4. #beautiful 363.1 - million posts

5. #tbt 357.8 - million posts

6. #happy - 349.5 million posts

7. #cute - 348.8 million posts

8. #fashion - 344.9 million posts

9. #followme - 322.7 million posts

10. #me - 312.8 million posts

4. Captions

Captions are written to accompany your image post. Obviously posts that include a number of popular hashtags do better than if you weren't to use them. However, we did some more digging and discovered that caption length can also affect engagement. Posts that include captions where a user has to click 'more' tend to receive less likes and comments (on average 15% less) so we'd recommend keeping them short and sweet. Captions that include emojis also do better, however try and limit these to three maximum, otherwise it can make the caption harder to read.

Schedule your Instagram posts.

Fully automated posts. No phone required.

Create your first post

5. Time

According to our data, the best time to post on Instagram on average, is in the evening between 6pm and 7.30pm in the week and 11am at the weekend (BST). This is simply because this when the most people are using Instagram, therefore are more likely to see your post in their feed. Though this can vary depending on your followers see our article on the best time to post on Instagram, to see how your followers can affect this.

We hope you find these Instagram hacks helpful and your notifications blow up! Please let us know if you have any questions on Twitter @Hopper_HQ, happy posting!

HopperHQ.com