Researchers from Yahoo Labs and Georgia Tech have released a new study which explains how get the optimum number of shares and likes for your Instagram posts. Apparently it all has to do with which filters you use.
Remember back before smartphones when pictures taken with your phone were all terrible. Even the ones taken with the first smartphones. Then came Instagram.
[See the full research report here.]
The app not only makes it easier for you to share you pictures with others, but it also comes with a number of filters and other features which let you “touch up” your pictures. It is like a poor man’s mobile Photoshop.
And, as with everything nowadays, people want to be recognized for nothing in particular. Maybe you are a budding photographer looking for new business and job opportunities. Maybe you are an aspiring entertainer looking for more exposure, or are already a celebrity who uses Instagram for promotional purposes.
Or maybe you are just a self-important, exhibitionist narcissist like Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus. In any case, you will want to see the results of this study.
The study finds that, “filtered photos are considerably more engaging than original ones—with filters that increase warmth, exposure and contrast boosting engagement the most.” Specifically, higher contrast, exposure and warmth will bring your pics more comments and views. Adding an aged effect will also increase views, but decrease the number of comments that it gets. The opposite is true for higher saturation, which leads to fewer views and more comments.
The researchers sought out Flickr users who used the mobile app at least a few times a month. This assured that they were familiar with the app and the filter options through the mobile interface.
They found that filtered photos attract “more implicit usage as well as explicit action from viewers.” Filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to receive comments, compared to non-filtered ones. Specifically filters that impose warm color temperature, boost contrast and increase exposure, are more likely to be noticed.
Other filters showed no significant effects.
As to be expected, the researchers found that the number of followers strongly influences both views and comments. Also, photostream views are positively correlated with photo views and comments. The number of tags is also a driving factor for views but not for comments. The relative importance of followers compared to photostream views is stronger in comments than views, suggesting stronger social dependency in comments.
These results highlight the motivations behind using filters and how it might impact the perceptions of the viewers. Many casual photographers enjoy filtering their photos and so filters made post-processing easier for those who do not have knowledge of photography.