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The top 10 Instagram categories

We took a sample of around 10M Instagram profiles and looked at which categories were the most popular. The top 10 Instagram categories by number of profiles are:

  1. Media
  2. Fashion
  3. Music
  4. Arts
  5. Fitness and wellness
  6. Photography
  7. Food
  8. Travel
  9. Cinema and acting
  10. Makeup

An infographic from Heepsy showing the top 10 Instagram categories and their average engagement rates.

The least popular categories among the profiles we analyzed were rock, pop, family, folk, and jazz. With respect to the music genres, this is probably because most music accounts would fall into the broader music category. As for family, most of those profiles would belong to mommy influencers and brands or organizations related to them.

We also looked at the average engagement rates for these categories. The highest averages were 4% for photography, 3.9% for cinema and acting, and 3.8% for media. The lowest averages were 2.2% for fashion and 2% for food.

The infographic at the right lays out all the info for the top 10 Instagram categories. You’re more than welcome to download it and use it elsewhere, we would just love a link back to Heepsy if possible!

Instagram categories with the highest average engagement rates

While photography clocked in with the highest average engagement rate out of the top 10 Instagram categories, it wasn’t the highest rate we saw. The Instagram categories with the highest average engagement rates are:

The categories on Instagram with the highest average engagement rates.
  1. Volleyball: 5.9%, with 8.5K associated Instagram profiles
  2. Comics & Otaku: 5.3%, 75.4K profiles
  3. Hockey: 5.2%, 6.8K profiles
  4. Running: 5.1%, 32.7K profiles
  5. Handball: 5%, 3.3K profiles
  6. Soccer: 4.8%, 43.5K profiles
  7. Baseball: 4.8%, 6.4K profiles
  8. Basketball: 4.7%, 20.2K profiles
  9. Rugby: 4.6%, 50.2K profiles
  10. Athletics: 4.59%, 8.3K profiles

Noticeably, these are more niche categories than what we saw in the top 10 sorted by number of accounts. And this makes sense. The more niche a market is, the higher the engagement tends to be. The people who move in those circles are more intensely interested in the topic and don’t only seek out content, but a community to discuss it with.

On the other hand, while many of us probably enjoy topics like music, fashion, arts, and wellness, those topics are quite general. We might regularly touch on them in our daily lives, but they’re not necessarily our raisons d’être. Therefore, while we might scroll through content in those categories, we might not take the time to like, comment, or start a discussion with other Instagrammers about it.

These top categories are also broader, with various niches that fall within them. Fashion for example can be broken down into a bunch of niches: fast or slow fashion, streetwear, swimwear, bohemian style, etc.

This idea is similar to what we see with the influencer tiers, too. Micro influencers, for example, tend to have much higher engagement rates than influencers with larger followings. And while there are various reasons for this, one of them is the size of the community they manage.

Micro influencers, who work in niches and have smaller followings, can offer their audience that personal touch. This in turn creates trust, and that comes back as engagement. But mega influencers, who have millions of followers, can’t offer as laser-focused an experience to their audience, and engagement therefore tends to drop off.


Hopefully this information helps orient you when you want to find influencers for your brand’s campaigns. Now you can get a better sense of which categories are most popular, and what the average engagement for those categories is. Understanding this can help you better analyze influencers’ engagement against their peers on Instagram, in the same category, and with similar followings.