50% of all news posts on Instagram are serious

50% of all news posts on Instagram are serious

Combining both sets of posts gives us a very neat split of 20 Entertainment stories, 40 Viral, and 60 Serious.

We’ve previously covered how certain news publishers approach Instagram. One common trait across publishers was a more relaxed or casual approach to the way news is presented on the platform. As the landscape of news on Instagram matures this remains true, but what about the content of the news itself? Is Instagram only home to behind the scenes goofing around and lightweight content?

To investigate this, we looked at 2 small sample data sets from Instagram news publishers around the world. We limited the data to include only established news outlets who are also on Instagram, within 3 of the categories within our own database: General News, Business News and Tabloids.

We sorted the content into 3 basic categories: Lightweight & Viral News, Serious News and Entertainment News.

What is Serious News anyway?

It was a challenge in some cases to define and to separate viral or lightweight news from serious news. For example, sometimes there was a viral angle or approach to a clearly serious current affairs news story. In this study we focused on the subject and not the presentation.

For example, we would consider this story about the biodiversity crisis to be in the Serious category:

Whereas this story about a screaming robot vacuum cleaner would be considered Viral/lightweight.

We considered this story on Amsterdam and combustion engines to be serious news:

Whereas this story about a train going through a market was not considered relevant enough to make it out of the viral/lightweight category:

Even though this story about Snoop Dogg and weed is presented in a viral way, it’s still a piece of serious business news, so it just about gets in to the Serious News category.

Entertainment was fairly easy to define: news revolving around a celebrity or entertainment product or member of the British Royal Family.
Where we were really stumped, we moved on and excluded the story from our study.

The Results

One of the most surprising findings from the data we looked at was the amount of serious news posts published versus lightweight/viral or entertainment posts. Our initial analysis suggested that viral news was dominant. The top 20 posts during a 1 week period showed serious news making up only 35% of the total content:

However, a deeper look at the top 60 posts across the same publisher dataset significantly changed the balance.

Recreating the same study on the top 60 posts a week later revealed a similar split:

Combining both sets of posts gives us a very neat split of 20 Entertainment stories, 40 Viral, and 60 Serious. So over 2 weeks of Instagram news data, 50% of all posts were serious news items while 50% were a combination of viral and entertainment content.


Is this a surprise?

The proportion of content that covered serious topics was higher than we expected. We analysed Instagram posts only, which cannot include external links. This means all news items need to be presented as self-contained images or videos, which is resource-intensive and requires deeper understanding of the platform – something media publishers are clearly developing.

Video has traditionally demanded a greater amount of resources from news publishers, a barrier for many newsrooms to invest in Instagram specific video, especially on a platform which does not return any direct ROI. However, perhaps due to the proliferation of video content within online news, the resource cost of video creation has fallen enough that creating or adapting content for Instagram is no longer such an issue.

Our findings indicate that more news publishers understand how Instagram works and what that specific audience appreciates – it’s very different from Facebook video and reaches a younger demographic overall. We expect to see both more news publishers on Instagram and for the percentage of serious news items to rise.

50% of all news posts on Instagram are serious

World leaders on Instagram – 2016

Please follow and like us:

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages


  • The Domestic Dimension of Public Diplomacy 11th July 2019
    The Domestic Dimension of Public Diplomacy Nov 6, 2018 Discussions of public diplomacy often favor an international scope, especially as states address how they are perceived by publics abroad. But as Jitka Pánek Jurková of Charles University in Prague notes in a new analysis, the domestic dimension of public diplomacy is drawing increased attention. What […]
  • How to Build a More Diverse Foreign Policy Sector 10th July 2019
    How to Build a More Diverse Foreign Policy Sector Oct 16, 2018 For many, the terms "male, pale and Yale" come to mind when thinking of foreign policy leadership. This can have dire consequences for foreign policy practice. As civic and community engagement firm Vestige Strategies notes in a recent report on diversity and inclusion […]

RSS Diplo Portal Belgrade

Catalog of Destroyed and Desecrated Churches in Kosovo ( VIDEO )

Most Viewed Posts

  • Twitter Suspends Hamas Accounts
    By ROBERT MACKEYLast Updated, Sunday, Jan. 19 | Several Twitter accounts used by the military wing of Hamas have been suspended by the social network in recent days, angering the Islamist militants and delighting Israel’s military. #Twitter has suspended the official account of #Hamas, a terrorist group that uses social media to threaten #Israel http://t.co/g1UxKc9fpf
  • The State of Gastrodiplomacy
    By Paul Rockower It is fitting that a magazine devoted to studying innovations and trends in the field of public diplomacy has turned its focus on an increasingly popular forms of cultural diplomacy: gastrodiplomacy. Public Diplomacy Magazine’s Summer 2009 issue on Middle Powers explored the behavior of middle powers and the contours of “middlepowermanship.” Articles

How Belgrade based diplomats use Digital Diplomacy and Internet 2016

Diplo Portal Belgrade

Please follow and like us:
Scroll Up

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)