Which visual content has best response on Instagram?

Which visual content has best response on Instagram?

Needless to say, that today Instagram is one of the most widespread platforms among consumers, as well as various organizations. The site is so popular and successful thanks to its visual content.

Because of human psychological features, videos and pictures are more attractive, easily perceived, and better remembered than textual information.

Creating picture-based content is a complicated task, before choosing a suitable option it’s essential to know what exactly to be focused on.

Videos, images, or GIFs?


There are three types of visual media that can be used on Instagram: videos, images, GIFs. Let’s dig deeper into SMM surveys to find out which option has the best response on Instagram.

In the beginning, let’s mention some meaningful features on Instagram. As far as you know, there are two types of content in social media: organic and paid. Organic content is what happens on social media without paid promotion. Sponsored social media posts, ads, videos, pop-ups, etc. refer to paid content. The performance in this case is influenced by many other factors.

Additionally, there are two main ways to share content on Instagram: posts and Stories. They influence the performance of a particular medium, so it differs between the two.

Instagram post
Instagram Stories

Pictures vs. videos


According to Marketer’s opinion, GIFs are regarded as videos on Instagram, since technically the way to upload GIFs is the same one as to upload videos.

Thus, let’s figure out how pictures and videos/GIFs can be compared:

  • by means of organic content vs. paid content
  • by means of posts vs. Stories

According to Social Media Marketing surveys, organically, twice as many people can be attracted by images. This doesn’t mean that videos don’t work at all, but it’s due to the fact that Instagram is a more image-orientated platform. Taking into account that Facebook owns this platform, and Facebook is overloaded with videos itself, it’s logical that Instagram was originally created as an image platform. It’s not a strict and exact division, but it was revealed that images had a better response on Instagram.

As to paid content, in spite of many other factors that have influence in this case, the effect of images here is the same. This conclusion is based only on user behavior trends.

Regarding paid content, to define what has better performance, it’s necessary to find out the purpose of the ad. As to paid video content, an increasing tendency was noticed – subtle animation, GIF-like animated images are now becoming popular. They are used to gather more clicks and to draw attention.

Still unclear


The situation with Stories is unclear, there are no certain results and evident reasons for them, that’s why it’s hard to observe the best medium here. Only one distinction was found out here – if you have very branded content on Stories (whether videos or pictures), it will have a poor performance. A simple content, looking like a post shared by a friend will perform much better and engage a lot of new users. Looking for the particular medium here doesn’t make much sense, as Stories are quite attractive themselves and have a lot of various options to engage users. There aren’t a lot of opportunities to make A/B tests Stories, that’s why it wasn’t investigated that much to provide exact results.

However, there is one observation that remains unexplained for organic Stories content – Stories containing images have a better performance than the ones containing videos.

To sum up the above, according to SMM surveys, image-based content has a better performance on Instagram, whether it’s organic content or paid content, whether it’s a post or a Story. That doesn’t mean that video content is absolutely unsuccessful, it’s just a trend.