Since joining Facebook, Instagram is getting more and more love from big brands

The number of big companies posting once a day on Instagram has doubled in the past two years, according to a new report out from social analytics company Simply Measured. In 2012 only 54 percent of the top brands — like Coke, McDonalds, and GE — had an Instagram account, but 86 percent of them have one now. As the application has matured, with a little help from Facebook, the adults of the advertising world have cottoned onto the opportunity.

Simply Measured chart tracking number of brands on Instagram (blue bars) and average views per Instagram post (orange line)

Simply Measured chart tracking number of brands on Instagram (blue bars) and average engagement on brand’s posts per month (orange line)

Simply Measured did its study by looking at the Interbrand 100, a metric used in the advertising community to determine the strongest brands every year (a bit like U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings). Simply Measured looked at every single post made by these 100 brands on Instagram in the last financial quarter, and tracked the engagement (user likes and comments) each one received. That way, Simply Measured was able to tell which brand posting techniques led to the most interactions with Instagram users.

The number one secret that makes people interact more with a brand’s Instagram post might surprise you. It’s location tagging, something that less than 5 percent of all top 100 brand Instagram posts do. Telling users where a picture was taken increases engagement 79 percent. Another trick of the trade includes @ tagging other users in the post, which raises the chance of engagement by 56 percent. That makes sense — of course users are more likely to respond to a company’s post if it’s personally addressed to them.

It’s good news for Facebook as the company starts trying in earnest to make money off Instagram with advertisements. The brands are ready and waiting.