Seek Surprises in Your Instagram Data


At our 2015 conference, I talked on stage about the large shift we were seeing in Instagram becoming the most important social network for brands going forward. In large part, that is still true today.

On recent episode of The Social Toolkit podcast, I got to speak with Bob Gearing, who is the Global Head of Enterprise at Socialbakers. We got to talk about some of the big brands Socialbakers works with and every topic we touched on — from the Super Bowl to shoe brands — always circled back to Instagram.

You can listen to the full podcast here. Here’s a few highlights from our conversation.

Seek Surprises in Your Data

Bob talked with me about working with Crocs on their Instagram data data and learning that product photos and carousels were producing the most engagement in their feed, but not being posted very often.

Both of these insights could be surprises.


There is an impression for some Instagram users that carousel ads can produce lower engagement than a single photo. For Crocs, Carousels were producing their highest engagement numbers.

Carousels are definitely an underutilized format in social. They are especially undervalued as a Twitter ad format, but Instagram has a very special benefit. Bob points out in the podcast that Instagram will often resurface each frame of your carousel, even if a follower does not engage with the first image they see from the post.

This gives you multiple opportunities to gain awareness and reengage a user on Instagram Carousels are the only format that this is true for.

Carousels are also a more creative format. You can do much of the story telling that the story format allows you. You can overlap messaging and image across multiple images. You can even share long form copy, treating each frame as the page of a book or slide deck.

Bob also mentioned that carousels will start to allow shoppable tags some time this year (2020). Which is a great opportunity for all ecommerce brands to pay attention to.

Product Shots

The other surprise might be that product shots of Crocs were also one of the highest engaging types of content from their Instagram. As social media pros we are taught not to hit our audience over the head with “salesy” content or too many calls to action.

But, that’s not always the case.

Especially in fashion and aspirational goods, consumers want to see the product. And maybe only the product. Bob said this was very clear for Crocs in the data Socialbakers reviewed.

Not only were they able to tell that product shots were doing really well, but they broke down product shots into 3 categories: shoe focused, foot/leg focused, and full body. The closer you zoomed in on just the Crocs shoes, the more engagement posts received on average.

Always test new content types and formats and always look to be surprised by your social media data.

Listen to Engage

Bob also talked with me about how Crocs looked to their Instagram content to try and understand what colors were getting more reaction than others. Which colors were over indexing on engagement. It turns out that there was a lot of love for the basic white Crocs clog. Another win for contrast.

They also saw this in a photoshoot they did at Mall of America with a couple volleyball teams. Bob said, “Everybody was doing the white classic clog.” There is even a hashtag for the trend, RockWhiteCrocs, that Crocs and fans both use to celebrate this new-ish fashion icon.

Social media is a data gold mine, but the important thing to remember is you are looking for insights to act on. Any time you are thinking about “social media listening” – remember the phrase “listen to engage.” Always think about how you can act on the data.

“Ultimately, listening to engage with their audience and their photo shoots lead Crocs to double down on some of those pieces that were trending with their younger audience,” said Gearing. “That younger audience has actually helped reinvent the brand over the last few years.”


Get more insights and interviews like this from industry leaders every week. Search for “The Social Toolkit” in your podcast app today or click here to listen today.


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