New Instagram Research Says When in Doubt, Choose Mayfair

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America’s biggest brands are doubling-down on Instagram. But new research from my creative colleagues wondered if something as simple as choosing different Instagram filters could impact the results businesses see on Instagram.

It turns out there is one such titillating trend. Here’s the big reveal:

Posts that use the Instagram filter Mayfair get more interactions on average.

According to Instagram, the Mayfair filter creates “a warm pink tone, subtle vignetting that brightens the center of the photograph, and a thin black border.” Here’s an example of an Instagram post using the Mayfair filter from American Airlines.

So how big of an engagement punch does Mayfair pack?

Instagram posts with the Mayfair filter get 6 percent more interactions (likes and comments) on average.

That being said, most Fortune 500 businesses fail to use this simple Instagram hack to their advantage. Mayfair is used in only 0.49 percent of Instagram posts from America’s biggest businesses.

Why the distaste for Mayfair?

It turns out that America’s biggest brands aren’t snubbing Mayfair specifically. Fortune 500 brands don’t love using Instagram filters in general. A whopping 89.03 percent of Instagram posts from Fortune 500 brands use no filter at all.

Why? Because most big brands favor pre-produced images on Instagram. Rather than uploading and editing photos, the tendency is to post photos bearing the beautification of the brand’s creative team, like this one from Dior.

Highly produced, aspirational imagery certainly has its place on Instagram. The Dior post above saw 146,000 Instagram interactions and counting, or nearly twice as much engagement as Dior’s average Instagram post. (Although, let’s be honest, Jennifer Lawrence’s star power may have something to do with that.)

But in the big picture, filters win. Twelve Instagram filters see higher average engagement than the “normal” or no filter on Instagram.

If your company’s Instagram account reflects a Photoshop addiction, try mixing it up with an authentic image. Or, take your cue from General Motors, and upload a Photoshopped picture to Instagram with a filter for a more channel-specific look. This post uses the Lo-Fi filter.

Here are examples of Fortune 500 Instagram photos using the 12 best Instagram filters.

The best Instagram filters to use are:

1. Mayfair

2. Hefe

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Today we celebrated Chinese New Year with the Dragon & Lion Dance. #LunarVegas

A video posted by MGM Grand Hotel & Casino (@mgmgrand) on

3. Ludwig

4. Lo-Fi

5. Juno

Picture perfect pals! 📸❤️ #tbt

A photo posted by Disney (@disney) on

6. Nashville

Some #BNHP fuel, in the form of a cauldron-shaped cookie! #WizardsWanted #ReadTheMagic

A photo posted by Barnes & Noble (@barnesandnoble) on

7. X-Pro II

Ready and waiting for the next adventure. #iFlyAlaska #AvGeek #Seattlesairline

A photo posted by Alaska Airlines (@alaskaair) on

8. Crema

9. Perpetua

10. Sierra

11. Clarendon

Caramel cousins. #IcedCaramelMacchiato #IcedCoconutMilkMochaMacchiato

A video posted by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on

12. Amaro


Creating the right content is just one part of a winning Instagram strategy. We cover it all in our Fortune 500 Instagram Report. Download your free copy to learn how America’s biggest brands use Instagram, including the best times to post, trends in hashtag and filter usage, and more.