Top 8 Instagram Brands 2018

These companies have the biggest global followings

Two Baby Sea lions
••• Taken by Andrew Thirlwell / Getty Images

Instagram has become the online social network of choice for everyone from teens and tweens to celebrities and the Fortune 500 because of its ease of use and its ability to tell a story without text. As of late 2018, Instagram reported about 800 million monthly active users.

If you want to connect with others online, tell your story, sell your brand, or grow your business, you might try Instagram. But first, take a look at some of the biggest successes on the site.

Top Instagram Brands 2018

Below are the brands with the most followers globally on Instagram in 2018, according to marketing site HubSpot. (The list omits celebrities. They are a category unto themselves.)

You'll see that Instagram itself takes the top slot since it curates and posts a selection of the most fabulous content posted anywhere on the site. For many users, it's essentially the front page of the site.

Note that the top brand in the world, omitting Instagram itself, is National Geographic, a venerable magazine that pays much more attention to great photos and intelligent journalism than it does to marketing strategies.

For those not yet on Instagram, 9GAG offers a constant stream of comic relief and all of the adorable cat videos anyone can wish for. For Americans who have managed to remain totally oblivious of soccer, Real Madrid is an immensely popular soccer team everywhere but in the U.S.

  1. Instagram, 246 million
  2. National Geographic, 90.1 million
  3. Nike, 79.5 million
  4. Real Madrid, 62.1 million
  5. 9GAG, 46.3 million
  6. NASA, 34.7 million
  7. NBA, 30.1 million
  8. CHANEL, 29.3 million

The Instagram Story

Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in October 2010 as a free mobile app exclusively for the iOS operating system. A version for Android devices was released two years later, followed by a stripped-down website in November 2012.

Originally, a distinctive feature of Instagram was its limitation of photos to square dimensions. That didn't change until 2015. By then, there had been other enhancements, such as the addition of the "explore" tab that shows users a variety of popular media, trending tags and a "places" option, channels for recommended videos, and a place for curated content. Private messaging was launched in 2013.

Why Instagram Works

Instagram is a bit like the little engine that could, because it packs a punch for such a seemingly simple app. The app lets registered users upload photos or video to the service. Users can apply various digital filters for a customized look. and add locations through geotags. Users can add hashtags to their posts and link their photos up to other content on Instagram featuring the same subject or overall topic.