How pictures with faces affect engagement on Instagram?

Many of the faces that we see in our day to day life now have a social media presence. Photo sharing platforms like Instagram have made it possible to chronicle like through pictures and to share this with large groups of like-minded people. As Kelsey puts it, “we are moving away from photography as a way of recording and storing the past, and instead of turning photography into a social medium in its own right”.

According to research done by scholars from Yahoo Labs and Georgia Tech, Instagram posts with faces are 38% more likely to get likes and 32% more likely to get comments. This clearly shows a trend of Instagram users preferring pictures with faces over pictures with just backdrops or maybe pictures with just food images. From the research, it is evident that users are attracted towards faces and there is science behind the human attraction for faces.

While researching this topic, we at QMocha analyzed various profiles to see how engagement is affected by the pictures posted. While analyzing various different influencer profiles belonging to different geographies, industries and having a varying follower base, we found that pictures with faces get more likes than the ones without them. Diving deeper into this, we could conclude that clear pictures with faces facing the camera are more popular than side profiles. Faces with closed eyes also generate less engagement than the ones with eyes open, this may be because of people connecting better when there is eye contact and also increase in attention span owing to eye contact.

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Meghan Rienks @meghanrienks, gets up to 4k more likes when she posts a picture with her face and expressions clearly visible and she gets up to 14k more likes when she posts a picture with 4 clear faces. Amongst other things, faces are definitely helping her engage more people on Instagram.


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