What The Most Popular Celebrity Photos Reveal About Instagram’s Success

By P. Claire Dodson

After years of shying away from change, Instagram is now evolving rapidly as it takes on Snapchat and caters to the celebrities who love the platform. Here, we examine three mega-popular posts that show how stars are using Instagram in creative ways.

Read our feature story, “How Instagram Changed—Before It Had To,” for more on how the photo-sharing giant is redefining itself.


@beyonce, 94.7 million followers, February 2017
Likes: 10.4 million

The photographic pregnancy announcement was classic Beyoncé, who rarely gives interviews and prefers to speak unmediated through her art and social media. As the world learned that two new Carters would soon enter the world, this image instantly became iconic, inspiring thousands of reaction articles, a few baby-announcement copycats, and even a five-story mural in Australia.

Selena Gomez

@selenagomez, 109 million followers, June 2016
Likes: 6.4 million

Though technically an advertisement for Coca-Cola, Selena Gomez’s sultry sips from a glass bottle with her lyrics on it garnered massive engagement. The company nailed this #ad for its “Share a Coke and a Song” campaign by playing to Gomez’s all-American aesthetic, and Gomez, who reigns as the most-followed person on Instagram, didn’t come off looking like a shameless brand promoter (and got to publicize her single “Me & the Rhythm” to boot).

Kendall Jenner

@kendalljenner, 74.2 million followers, May 2015
Likes: 3.6 million

Model Kendall Jenner’s heart hairstyle pic is still her most popular, and it’s evocative of how she treats her Instagram feed like her own glossy fashion magazine. The image quickly went viral, even sparking a parody account in which her “brother” Kirby, a mustachioed goofball, inserts himself into her most-liked shots and mimics her poses.


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