A new study covering over 160,000 Instagram selfies might help you keep your selfie game tight. HubSpot ‘Social Media Scientist’ Dan Zarrella is behind the research in this emerging area of study, which looks at tags, colors and filters to determine the secret recipe for selfie success. The results reveal that my gut instincts around selfies are dead wrong, which is something I might be proud of, actually.
Zarrella’s results show that selfies where cool colors dominated were more popular than ones where warm tones made up the bulk of the image, so I guess try to wear greens and blues and maybe take shots in forested or jungle settings, or maybe in front of a Starbucks sign. Hashtags are also key indicators that drive success, with #pretty, #boy, #daily, #girl and #hair scoring higher than most in terms of driving likes. Plus, begging for likes seems to actually work, too: Zarrella found that #l4l, #likeforlike, #like4like and a number of other similar requests for follows or other engagement generated more popularity in terms of likes.
Sadly for those of us who see #tags as unnecessary flotsam that clutter up the Instagram comments section, a higher total number of these drives higher like rates. There appears to be a valley just before the 30 mark, however, which indicates people are like “wow that’s too many tags” right before going “no I was wrong, MOAR TAGSSSSS!!”
The study also explores the use of tags, and my favorites mostly scored in the lower half of the popular range. Valencia, Lo-Fi, X-Pro II, Hudson and Rise are all common choices for my bite-sized pieces of photo art, but Zarrella found these didn’t drive nearly as many likes as Willow, Normal, Toaster, Mayfair, Sutro and Hefe. And the hashtag #NoFilter actually prompted the most likes of all – even though almost a third of the time its use was actually a dirty lie. Valencia and Amaro showed up as fake #NoFilter filters with a decent amount of frequency, for instance, proving you can’t trust people who take vanity pictures of themselves in bathroom mirrors to be 100 percent honest all of the time.
Finally, Zarrella found that even though you may think you look amazing when blotto, the #drunk tag actually decreases the amount of likes you’ll get. Selfie sober, friends, or if you don’t, just don’t tell anyone about it.