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Study: Almost quarter of Fortune 500 is active on Instagram

However video remains a mostly unexplored realm for the top brands that have embraced the Facebook-owned app, new research suggests.

Instagram founder Kevin Systrom as he introduced video on the photo sharing app in late June. James Martin/CNET

Fortune 500 companies are hip to Instagram but they're sticking with photos for the time being, according to new research compiled by competitive intelligence firm TrackMaven.

TrackMaven collected and analyzed the Instagram content of Fortune 500 companies and found that 123 of these brands maintain accounts, though only 112 are active. Collectively, the bunch has posted 19,009 pictures and just 243 videos as of September 17.


Three-year-old Instagram, owned by Facebook, has become a photo and video playground for more than 150 million people. Early-adopter brands such as Nike and Starbucks, the two most-followed Fortune 500 brands on Instagram, use the platform for creative marketing purposes, and have inspired others to follow suit. As it stands, 22.4 percent of the Fortune 500 are active on Instagram, meaning 112 of these big brands have posted at least one photo or video to Instagram in the past 30 days, according to TrackMaven's study.

These Instagram-astute companies, however, aren't yet to ready to venture into 15-second video-creation, a feature added to the application in late June, and have been primarily posting photos. In the past 30 days, there have only been 74 videos posted from Fortune 500 Instagram accounts, TrackMaven found.

The study also determined that videos see fewer interactions, defined as "likes" and comments, than photos. The average photo receives an average of 37 interactions per 1,000 followers, while videos receive an average of 24 interactions per 1,000 followers.


"Video is only about three months old and brand use of it hasn't been pervasive yet. We've seen brands try different things but not invest heavily yet in Instagram video specific campaigns," TrackMaven founder Allen Gannett told CNET. "Brands seem unsure of what ... to do."

Despite the slow adoption, Gannett said he expects brands to get the hang of Instagram's video product by the end of the year.

One thing that seems to be working in the favor of big brands on Instagram is hashtags. TrackMaven found that there is a strong correlation between using hashtags and garnering more likes and comments, with five being the optimal number of hashtags to use. The firm concludes that Instagram is as much about people exploring new content as it is about them following the photos and videos of people or brands they like.