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Instagram VS Latergram


Researchers: Andrea Drake, Theobald Coleman McSheehy IV, Christina Surrusco, Kathryn Wheeler, Jessica Williams


As Instagram becomes more and more popular the desire for more likes increases and users want to be able to maximize their activity on this application. Instagram Versus Latergram: When To Get More Likes is an important study because it will provide valuable information to the mass amounts of people that are active users on Instagram. It is a primary social media platform for people to share their photos and connect with others.  The information found in this research aims to help users improve their posts, get more likes on their photos and gives them knowledge about when the most popular times to post to Instagram are.  The study looks into the patterns of students at the University of Missouri and their behaviors on Instagram. The goal was to obtain 100 students to take the survey that was formulated for this study. The questions answered in this study regarded the time of day users checked and posted to Instagram and other liking behaviors.


Instagram was launched in 2010. In the last 5 years, they have obtained 400 million active users with an exponential amount of photos being posted, shared, and liked at any given time. Instagram is important to study because 53% of young adults, ages 18-29, use this service compared to only 37% who used the application in 2013. Pew Research Center, 2015). This is a large chunk of the young adult population and it is clear that Instagram is only increasing in popularity. As more members of this generation increases their use of Instagram, we want to make sure we understand how to use this platform effectively. In an age when everyone is dependent on technology, it is crucial that there is an understanding of how to get the most out of it for personal, family and friends, or business use. This is why we conducted this research, to help ourselves and to help our peers better understand the value of utilizing Instagram and its social applications.  


The first step in conducting our research study was to choose a specific topic that was interesting. We chose Instagram because of its popularity and potential. We were curious about how Mizzou students specifically use Instagram so we developed three research questions we would like to answer by the end of the study. These three research questions are:


  • How many Mizzou students use Instagram?
  • What is the liking behavior of Mizzou students who use Instagram?
  • How do Mizzou students who have a lot of followers differ from those who have fewer followers?


After developing the three research questions, we constructed quantitative survey questions that we used to survey  Mizzou students in order to better understand Instagram use throughout the University of Missouri student population. A few questions included were:

  1. Do you use Instagram?
  2. Is Instagram your preferred picture sharing platform? (if not what is)
  3. What time of day do you most frequently check Instagram?
  4. What time of day do you most frequently post?
  5. Do you try to get likes on Instagram?

We wrote an IRB proposal that included all of our survey questions, intended method, and the associated risks to us and the participants. After this proposal was approved, we opened our survey on Missouri Qualtrics, and began recruiting participants by posting the link to our survey on various Mizzou groups on different social media outlets. Our goal was to have at least 100 participants. After about 3 weeks we surveyed a total of 105 University of Missouri students. This allowed us to close the survey and begin analyzing data.

We analyzed the data by combing over the information from our survey, including students’ responses. After analyzing the results, we chose to present the most interesting findings in both a poster and presentation. These results included the most useful personal, business oriented , and friends and family findings. Finally, we chose results that best answered our three research questions.


Our survey, Instagram Versus Latergram: When to get more Likes, utilized the Qualtrics online survey software and insight platform through a University of Missouri affiliated system. The survey itself lasted approximately 20 days, with the first survey being completed on October 26 and the last being completed on November 15 in the year 2015. The mean time it took our subjects to complete the survey was 1m 19s, with the shortest time to complete being 5s, and the longest being 36m 34s.

Once our survey, Instagram Versus Latergram: When to get more Likes was completed, we compiled and analyzed all of the results. Some of the basic data we gathered included the gender of our subjects, their year at the University of Missouri, and their preferred social media platform. The following data applies to our first research question, How many Mizzou students use Instagram?

Research question #1. How many Mizzou students use Instagram?

The most skewed aspect of our survey was the overwhelming number of female subjects. Out of the 90 participants who responded to question 18, “What do you identify as,” 73(81%) identified as female, 14(16%) identified as male, and 3(3%) identified as other. These skewed results can be attributed to two main factors. The first factor was that we had to utilize Facebook to promote our survey. Had we been able to assess a random portion of the University of Missouri population, there would have been a more even gender ratio. The second factor that contributed to our overwhelming number of female respondents was that our research group was composed of 4 females and 1 male. Assuming that the 4 female researchers reached more female friends through Facebook than the male researcher reached male friends, we can conclude that this contributed to the vast majority of female respondents in the survey.

Our survey Instagram Versus Latergram: When to get more Likes, also asked respondents what year they were at the University of Missouri. Out of 90 respondents who answered question 17, “What year are you in school at Mizzou,” 4(4%) responded freshman, 9(10%) responded sophomore, 10(11%) responded junior, 45(50%) responded senior, and 22(24%) responded other. The category other referred to students who were either super seniors (5+ years at the university), or graduate students.

Another basic question we asked our respondents was question 5, “Is Instagram your preferred picture-sharing platform.” Out of 95 respondents, 73(77%) responded yes and 22(23%) responded no. For those students who responded no, we had them answer question 6, “If you answered no to the previous question, what is your preferred picture-sharing platform?” This question is unique in our survey because it allowed our subjects to answer in a qualitative manner. There were 25 total responses to the question; meaning 3 respondents answered the question even though they did not need to. Two of the extra respondents answered “N/A” and the third stated, “Instagram is good for your ‘best pic’ of the night. Facebook is better for all the pics from the event.” Out of the 22 respondents who answered no to question 5, 15(60%) stated that Facebook was their preferred picture-sharing platform, 4(16%) stated Snapchat, 2(8%) stated Tumblr, and 1(4%) stated that Instagram was their preferred picture-sharing platform.

Research Question #2. What is the liking behavior of Mizzou students who use Instagram?

Our second research question pertained to the liking behavior of University of Missouri students. Two of the basic questions we asked students were “What time of day do you most frequently check Instagram,” and “What time of day do you most frequently post to Instagram.” We cross-tabulated this data to see how both behaviors related to each other throughout the day. Knowing the patterns of students checking Instagram and posting to Instagram better helped us to understand their liking behavior.

The first question that applies to research question #2 was “What time of day do you most frequently check Instagram?” Out of 90 respondents, 4(4%) responded that they check Instagram between 6:00am-10:00am, 30(34%) responded that they check between 11:00am-2:00pm, 31(35%) responded that they check Instagram between 3:00pm-7:00pm, 21(24%) responded that they check between 8:00pm-12:00am, and 1(1.11%) responded that they check between 1:00am-5:00am. Finally we found that the mean time University of Missouri students check Instagram was 3:00pm-7:00pm.

The second question that applies to research question #2 was, “What time of day do you most frequently post to Instagram?” Out of 90 respondents, 1(1%) responded that they post between 6:00am-10:00am, 25(27%) responded that they post between 11:00am-2:00pm, 37(41%) responded that they post between 3:00pm-7:00pm. 26(28%) responded that they post between 8:00pm-12:00am, and 1(1%) responded that they post between 1:00am-5:00am. The mean time for students posting to Instagram was between 3:00pm-7:00pm.






Figure 1.1

After cross-tabulating this data, we found that University of Missouri students both check and post to Instagram at similar times. These results can be seen in figure (1.1)


Another useful bit of information we used to answer research question #2 was to cross-tabulate our data on the year of Mizzou students who use Instagram versus whether or not students try to get likes on Instagram. The question, “Do you try to get likes on Instagram revealed that out of 90 subjects who answered the question 46(51%) answered yes and 44(49%) answered no. The results of this cross-tabulation can be seen in figure (1.2)

Among many things, it revealed that freshmen who responded either yes or no were the smallest minority of the cross-tabulation coming at 2%. Seniors who responded that they try to get likes on Instagram were the majority at 32%.

Screenshot 2015-12-08 00.14.34

Figure 1.2

An interesting result from this data is that seniors who try to get likes 29(64%) outnumber seniors who do not try to get likes 16(35%.) Vice versa, students who identified as other(super seniors and graduate students,) had the opposite results. Of students who responded as other, 7(31%) responded yes, and 15(68%) responded no. This data shows that students who responded as other did not desire likes nearly as much as students who responded as seniors. These results can be seen in figure 1.3.


Figure 1.3

Figure 1.3


Research Question #3. How do Mizzou students who have a lot of followers differ from those who have few followers?

To best answer research question #3, we first had to determine how many followers our subjects had. Out of 90 respondents, 10(11%) had between 0-100 followers, 16(18%) had between 100-250 followers, 14(16%) had between 250-400 followers, 18(20%) had between 400-600 followers, 17(19%) had between 600-800 followers, and 15(17%) had 800+ followers.  Next, we cross-tabulated this data with the results we found for the question “do you try to get likes on Instagram.” Those results can be seen in figure 1.4.

Figure 1.4

Figure 1.4

Figure 1.4 shows some interesting results.  The x-axis represents the number of followers mizzou students have. While the x-axis is numbered 1-7, those numbers actually represent the number of followers the respondents have. For example, 1= between 0-100 followers. The y-axis represents the number of respondents who answered the question “do you try to get likes on Instagram.” The blue line represents those who responded yes to that question, while the red represents those who answered no. As the graph shows, the number of respondents who had more followers desired more likes, and those who had less followers desired less likes.


This research can improve life in a variety of ways. It can be beneficial to businesses and their marketing campaigns, In can help strengthen connections between friends and family, and can help you get more likes for your personal benefit. The more Instagram likes the better, right?

Businesses will be able to increase the amount of exposure their company or brand receives on Instagram if they used the data provided that most people are on Instagram between 3:00PM and 7:00PM. Instagram exposure is free for business so they may as well utilize it to its capacity.

Strengthening connections between friends and family is easy using Instagram when you know how to use it effectively. Creating wedding hashtags, birthday posts and shoutouts, congratulations posts, are all ways to use Instagram to connect with family and the best time to post these photos will be between 3:00PM and 7:00PM in order to maximize the number of likes.

The more followers a person has, the more likely they are to chase likes. When it comes to the personal benefits, improving your Instagram growth, the amount of likes you receive, and your reach to outside sources can be best achieved when you post during the desired time as well.


There is a strategic way to use Instagram to improve your social media presence in multiple ways, your professional life, personal life, and your connection with family and friends as well. When it comes to your business and career with social media you can use our data to help your company receive more likes and attention in a free and marketable way. Our research can help your  personal life with increasing your own personal followers, and improving your own brand online. Lastly, our research can help improve your connections with family and friends, by reaching more people with our data, you can help keep your current connections and help increase them as well. Overall the data we have collected through our research  is very relevant in today’s world of social media and can help you in a variety of ways throughout your life.

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