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What performs well on Instagram- Images, Videos or GIFs?

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

What performs well on Instagram- Images, Videos or GIFs?

Instagram is a popular social media platform for consumers and businesses alike. Many businesses are resorting to Instagram marketing to increase their followers and eventually sales.

Before we go ahead, have a look at some of the reasons that make Instagram immensely popular.

  • It is highly visual in nature

  • Businesses garner about 1/3rd of the most viewed stories

  • Most brands post about 2.5 stories a week

  • At least one business profile is viewed daily by 200 million Instagram users

Images and videos are more engaging than written text. Also, visual content is better remembered than text. However, understanding exactly what kind of visual content to post on Instagram is a tough task. What should you post more-images, GIFs or videos? That is a tough question to answer.

As it takes a lot of time and effort to develop visual content, it is important to know where to focus your resources.

Social media content can either be paid or organic. While organic content is unpaid content that follows a natural Instagram algorithm, paid content follows a different algorithm.

Additionally, Instagram offers two ways to share content- Posts and Stories. These affect the performance of certain media and therefore, choosing among video, images, and GIFs becomes tough. Also, GIFs are seen as video content on Instagram and technically you cannot post a GIF to Instagram. The only way to do so is to upload it as a video.

So, how do videos/GIFs and images perform when uploaded to Instagram?

Images can reach as many as two times more people organically. Videos also work but Instagram was designed as an image-first platform.

Do note that Instagram is owned by Facebook and since Facebook is heavily into video sharing, it only makes sense that Instagram is an image-first platform. Although videos with high engagement could pass through the algorithm, images perform much better on Instagram.

HubSpot team has observed (based on user behavior) the same impact of images in paid form as well.

Paid video content offers organic results and is slowly becoming popular on Instagram. A five-second animated video (almost like a GIF) is trending on Instagram.

Most marketers use such videos to attract users and garner clicks to their profiles and websites.

However, when it comes to Stories, nothing is clear. Stories are helpful in engaging the audiences by themselves rather than the medium.

According to HubSpot, the more branded your Instagram Story (image or video) appears, the poorer it performs. However, if the content looks closer to everyday posts shared by friends, it could perform better.

When it comes to paid Story content, it has several restrictions on Instagram. Marketers get only a single frame or poll that does not allow A/B tests on Stories.

Organic Instagram Stories have some new trends. While image-based stories perform better than videos of people talking to the camera, you can have a Story with similar metrics but with 30% more reach.


To sum up, it can be said that images –both organic and paid as well as in Instagram stories perform well. If you want to post on Instagram Stories, make sure to include content in a natural way. Videos and GIFs content also works well, so don’t forget to implement them on your Instagram.

Use these above trends along with your audience analytics to produce the best content for your Instagram.

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