The Power of Content on Instagram - identityUP
August 22, 2016 identityup

The Power of Content on Instagram


The Power of Content on Instagram

High-quality vs. Low-quality Images

Written by Hunter Gebron


Does it really matter?

What is the big deal about posting high-quality content on Instagram anyways? Does it really matter all that much? I mean, it’s hard enough to post ‘every single day’ on social media and now we have to make sure that each post is a masterpiece too!?

Do I really need to post super-high-quality-content everyday? Images that will capture the attention of every person scrolling through their feed, leaving them gasping in awe at my posting genius!? Do I really need to provide insights and tips that will leave even the most jaded marketeer weeping with joy? IMPOSSIBLE!!! But Before you throw your phone across the room cursing the day social media ever became a thing you were forced to care about, lets just take a deep breath together. As it turns out the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think.

A deeper look at the varying factors that determine what type of content you should post to your Instagram account reveals that maybe, just maybe, you might be able to get away with posting sub-par content while growing your followers and engagements through the roof on Instagram…although probably not.


It should be noted that this article was written for people who are interested in growing their instagram followers and boosting their engagements. If you don’t give two baloney sandwiches about your Instagram followers or your audience then read no more. You have been absolved of your duties. Continue posting terrible workout selfies and granulated images. The instagram community applauds your efforts and we bid you adieu.

However, if you are interested in actually building a following that cares about what you have to post. And you actually care about them caring, well then read on because this article is just for you.

“To Thine Own ‘Instagram Account’ Be True”

I may have just committed copyright treason but I think Shakespeare would be proud. After all this is the first and arguably the most important point concerning how you should post on Instagram. “To Thine Own Instagram Account Be True” means that the quality of your
image should relate to the type of business, product or service you offer.

Let’s tell a story that highlights what I’m getting at…

You are the owner of a new Italian restaurant that has just opened its doors. You want new patrons to come to your restaurant. You hope that Instagram will help you achieve that goal. You’ve had your chef create the most artistically displayed dishes from your menu. He knows they are going to be posted on Instagram for the world to see, so he’s pulled out all the stops. Everything is finally ready. All of the dishes are displayed around a gorgeous table setting. Then you take out your 1997 flip phone and start snapping away. The chef’s face menaces in terror because he knows the quality of the images will be garbage. All of the time and preparation spent on the food and table setting has gone completely to waste. The images (if they were to be posted like this) would actually be harmful to your restaurant. People would think, “If the quality of that photo is any indication of the quality of the food then I’m not going there.” Of course you as the owner knows they would be wrong, the food at your restaurant is delicious. But it goes back to that famous quote, “perception is reality.” And that my friends is Instagram in a nutshell. The quality of the image tells a story about the quality of your product.

So the takeaway from this little story is, if your business or craft is going to suffer because you don’t have high quality images. DON’T POST ANYTHING. Until you have better quality images to post, just hold off.

You are better off having no Instagram account at all for your business than a bad Instagram account that makes your business look horrible. If you don’t have a photographic eye or an expensive camera then hire someone who does. It will be well worth the additional expense. Trust me.

Here is a list of some industries that should only post high quality images :

Restaurants, art, photography, interior design, jewelry, bakeries, real estate, furniture, cars, fashion, nature, modeling, creative agencies, graphic design, 3-D rendering, tattoo shops, barber shops, architecture, films or any other business that relies heavily on visual appeal.

It may seem obvious that these industries should only be posting high-quality content but time and time again we see restaurants posting pictures of food that might very well be a kindergarten project.

Here is an example:

High Quality VS. Kindergarten Project


Exceptions to the rule?

We have discussed the importance of high-quality content on Instagram. But what about
the accounts on Instagram that time and time again post low-resolution, poor quality images, yet still have tons of followers and positive engagements? What about those pesky accounts!?

Yes its certainly true there are exceptions to the rule.

If the quality of the image itself is secondary to the message being delivered then you may be able to get away with having poor quality or low-resolution images.

Great examples of this are Instagram accounts that post humorous content or funny memes. The originality of the punchline and the caption are far more important then the quality of the image itself.

Example of funny meme with low resolution image but high engagement.


Other examples of Instagram accounts that do not necessarily need high-resolution images to be successful are inspirational in nature or are associated with charitable causes that have an important mission. In cases like these, again, the underlying message being delivered strikes a chord that goes much deeper than the quality of the image itself.





Example of a low resolution image with high engagement from a charitable organization with a strong message.

causeIf your Instagram account has a strong message or delivers pertinent information, such as, the time and place of an event, meet-up, celebrity spotting, breaking news story etc. You can get away with low-quality images and still have positive engagement. Similarly, if you already have a built in audience or dedicated fanbase outside of Instagram then you can also get away with posting low-res images.






Example of account with a large fan base outside of Instagram posting low-res images.


Quality over Quantity – which is better?

There is a lot of discussion about whether quality is better than quantity on Instagram. Is it better to post five mediocre photos a day or one really great one every two days? Well, here’s what Union Metrics – an industry leader in social media analytics had to say about it,

“We haven’t seen any relationship between the amount of content a brand posts each day and the engagement rates those posts receive, and definitely not a negative one. We’ve monitored accounts that post once an hour, all day long, and they see above-average engagement rates on almost all their content, no matter when it occurs in the one-post-an-hour sequence. Later posts do not decline in engagement.” “However, this does not mean that you should immediately start posting 10 or more times a day to boost your daily engagement rates. Most brands will not have cultivated the kind of audience that’s ready or willing to see that many new photos from the same account every day, not to mention the time it would take your team to create enough content to keep that tempo going.”

“Stick to a regular posting schedule, but generally don’t post more than a few times a day. One or two great posts a day is better than 10 mediocre posts.”

An excerpt from an article titled, “Success on Instagram – A data primer for brands from Union Metrics”.

So there you have it! There does not seem to be any negative correlation between how often you post and your engagement rates. But you probably shouldn’t go too crazy if you aren’t a well established brand that has a loyal following. Posting higher quality images less often is the way- to-go if you are trying to build a follower base on Instagram.

That’s about the size of it

To recap,

Whether or not you should be posting high-quality/high-resolution images on Instagram depends entirely on what industry you are in.

As a reminder here is a list of some industries that should post high-quality/high-resolution images:

Restaurants, art, photography, interior design, jewelry, bakeries, real estate, furniture, cars, fashion, nature, modeling, creative agencies, graphic design, 3-D rendering, tattoo shops, barber shops, architecture, films or any other business that relies heavily on visual appeal.

On the contrary,

If your Instagram account is associated with a charitable organization, is humor related / informative or, “the quality of the image itself is secondary to the message being delivered”. You can get away with posting low-resolution/poor quality images and still retain high engagement ratios.

This article separates Instagram accounts into two distinct camps. The idea is to give you an entry level understanding of what type of content to post on your Instagram account.

But remember, Instagram is a massive social media platform. Of course there will be nuances

and outliers of every variety. The complexity of which would be impossible to divulge in any article without massive amounts of data and research. So use this article as a basic guideline. And if you feel like you are the exception to the rule. You know your audience best. Then by all means do what feels right to you!

And remember, “To Thine Own Instagram Account Be True”.

***identityUp is an online advertising agency that specializes in driving traffic organically to social media platforms. If you want to grow your Instagram account or need help setting up a paid advertising campaigns for your business, contact us at (424) 281-0416 or visit our website at to get started.

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