The 19 Instagram Accounts With the Most Followers (& What Marketers Can Learn From Them)
2. National Geographic
Followers: 111 Million
National Geographic hires the most talented photographers in the world, so their Instagram posts of landscapes, cityscapes, and the surrounding life always seem to be awe-inspiring. But their stunning visuals aren’t the only reason why they’ve attracted over 100 million followers.
National Geographic is a historic magazine that’s famous for their credible journalism and compelling storytelling. In each post’s caption, they are able to craft fascinating narratives about the photo or video, usually in a way that spreads awareness for a relevant environmental issue.
National Geographic also uses Instagram Stories, Stories Archive, and IGTV to drive traffic to featured articles and videos on their website. But they also know their followers prefer not to leave the app.
Instead of using gimmicky visuals and clickbait copy to coax people into visiting their website, they actually summarize the feature article or video in their stories and IGTV shows.
For marketers, National Geographic’s Instagram strategy clarifies that it’s crucial to meet your audience where they are, and not force them to go somewhere just because you want them to go there.
If people end up clicking through to your website, that’s great. But you should be more than willing to educate your audience where they want to be educated, even if it results in a lower amount of traffic. 3. Nike
Followers: 88.5 Million
In the advertising industry, Nike is known for their motivational ads that inspire athletes to believe in themselves when aiming to reach their full potential.
On Instagram, the iconic brand’s content follows this theme, with posts in the form of short films, documentaries, and inspirational videos and photos. Nike also uses Instagram to update their followers with quick news about the sports world, proving that they deeply understand their audience’s interests and desires. 4. Real Madrid
Followers: 72.6 Million
Real Madrid is arguably the most popular soccer team in the world, so most of the team’s Instagram posts update their massive fan base on scores, highlights, and transactions.
But the way they attract and engage twice as many Instagram followers as teams with similar fan bases isn’t through standard updates. They’ve built their enormous following by giving their fans an inside look of the team’s everyday activities through player takeovers and practice highlights on IGTV.
Breaking down these barriers between fan and player makes Real Madrid’s fan base feel like they actually know their favorite players on a personal level, which develops a more intimate and loyal relationship between the two. 5. FC Barcelona
Followers: 71.1 Million
Like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona updates Barcelona fans with sports photography, season-related stats, information about Barcelona players, and other fun tidbits related to the team and season.
They use a mix of content styles with videos, action shots, and posed photos, but they always use many tags, hashtags, and eye-popping emojis in their captions.
During games and other events, you can find FC Barcelona launching one or multiple Stories with their own video content as well as curated content sourced from fans.
With curated Stories by fans, they’re able to post more fresh, interesting content. FC Barcelona’s curated Stories also enable fans to contribute to the Instagram channel. While we aren’t able to post stories directly, you can find some on the account’s page . 6. 9GAG
Followers: 50.2 Million
With plenty of dog, cat, and baby videos, meme references, and jokes that are almost too relatable, 9GAG has one of the funniest accounts on Instagram.
The account’s Instagram stories and Stories Archives engage their audience well too — they post a ton of polls about topics that everyone has an answer for like, “Is soup a food or a beverage?” and “Would you travel to the past or future?”
They also use Instagram stories to drive traffic to their website by asking their followers to swipe up and see if they correctly guessed the name of a TV show or movie with only emojis as clues. On IGTV, they generate even more brand engagement by letting their followers ask questions during live Q&As with celebrities. As the only online content platform on this list, 9GAG proves to marketers that interacting with your audience is one of the best ways to engage them, develop a relationship, and attract more followers like them. 7. NASA
Followers: 43.7 Million
Scrolling through NASA’s Instagram feed makes you feel a little like an astronaut floating through the depths of space. You’ll experience intimate views of different planets, constellations, and supernovas in the Milky Way galaxy, all of which are taken by NASA’s spacecrafts and Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA’s Instagram Stories and IGTV channel also educate their followers about interesting space insights, like the views of the sun and Earth, the search for life in space, and NASA’s new technology launches
NASA’s popularity on Instagram proves that you can actually create educational content that doesn’t sacrifice any entertainment value. 8. UEFA Champions League
Followers: 41.3 Million
In the last year, the Champions League surpassed the NBA’s account in Instagram followers. Like the other soccer brand accounts we’ve noted, the Champions League regularly posts action and team shots, as well as updates related to upcoming and past games.
Along with regular updates and action shots, some of the account’s regular posts include stats like “Top Scorers,” behind-the-scenes videos, and team roster images.
Followers: 37.5 Million
Marvel posts regularly about its movies, TV shows, and Marvel.com content. It also mixes things up with the use of photo and video posts. Additionally, the account occasionally uses fun videos to cross-promote with other Marvel-affiliated accounts and influencers.
While many other accounts, like HBO , promote their content by posting trailers as Instagram Stories, Marvel uses Stories to cover red carpet premiere events. These stories include photos and clips of the stars, as well as other interesting things that happen at the events. Most recently, Marvel featured the premieres of Dark Phoenix and Avengers: Endgame. 10. Chanel
Followers: 34.9 Million
Throwback Thursday will always be a huge deal on social media — who doesn’t love a heavy dose of nostalgia every week? Recently, though, Chanel decided to take #tbt to the next level. They’ve been evoking nostalgia in fashionistas all over the world by posting old ads that spotlight previous fashion trends for their Chanel Holidays campaign every day.
The legendary fashion brand also posts a lot of content about Coco Chanel’s early fashion influences to promote Inside Chanel , a web series that recounts Coco’s life and how she built her fashion empire.
Harnessing the power of the past is one of the most effective ways to evoke an emotional response from your audience and forge a connection with them. With that in mind, nostalgia should always be in your marketing arsenal. Top Instagram Accounts (Influencers)
Discover Financial, Borica AD Tie Up to Boost Card Acceptance
Discover Financial Services ( DFS – Free Report ) along with Borica AD, the owner of Bulgaria’s national payment scheme Bcard, has inked a strategic deal, per which Bcard’s Global Cards outside Bulgaria will be allowed on the Discover Global Network.
Bcard and Discover Financial will team up on the integration of the latter’s EMV contact, contactless and mobile solutions — D-PAS — for its global usage in order to provide secure transactions. Member banks of Bcard will get a solution for the acceptance of Bcard’s Global Cards outside Bulgaria in the Discover Global Network.
Notably, this contract will benefit Bcard as it will be able to serve customers outside its territory of Bulgaria. Bcard’s member banks can now access a locally useful and highly competent platform, a slew of products along with an opportunity to choose from unique payment products.
This partnership completely aligns with Discover Financial’s commitment toward boosting card acceptance across the world. It has been constantly tying up with companies to provide multiple transaction options to customers.
Recently, the company’s payment brand, Discover Global Network, entered into an agreement with Sage Pay via which, the latter provides better and wider options to pay for online and in-store transactions to Discover Global Network cardholders that consist of Discover, Diners Club and affiliate network cardholders in the UK and Ireland.
Discover Financial is one of the major card issuers in the United States and a leading innovator in the credit card industry. It has more than 44 million merchant acceptance locations and two million ATM and cash access sites across more than 190 countries and territories.
The company has been active in forging alliances and partnerships, on the back of which, card sales volume expanded on average rate of 4.6% in the last five years (2013-2018), primarily owing to a rise in the number of customers using Discover card.
We believe, significant investments in marketing and business development will consistently favor Discover Financial’s card account growth and card sales volumes in the future.
Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 3.8% in the past year against its industry ’s decline of 5.5%.
Stocks to Consider
Investors interested in the same space may take a look at some better-ranked stocks like Mastercard Incorporated ( MA – Free Report ) , PayPal Holdings, Inc. ( PYPL – Free Report ) and Global Payments Inc. ( GPN – Free Report ) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .
Mastercard provides transaction processing and other payment-related products and services in the United States and across the globe. The stock managed to pull off average four-quarter positive surprise of 5.8%.
PayPal works as a technology platform and digital payments company. It delivered average four-quarter positive surprise of 7.6%.
Global Payments offers payment technology and software solutions and it came up with average four-quarter beat of 3.1%.