1. There might actually be a set of secret ingredients if you want to make sure the picture you upload to Instagram is really popular. First: if you’re a woman, be semi-naked.
Aditya Khosla, a researcher at MIT, released a paper this month, What Makes an Image Popular, in which he scoured a dataset of 2.3 million images from Flickr in order to determine whether it was possible to predict whether or not a photo would be popular.
Alongside two other researchers, the team decided to look at the impact of various aspects, such as the objects present, the importance of colour and the importance of having more friends on social media.
2. The researchers noticed that there was a strong correlation between a popular image and the number of times these objects were included: a miniskirt, maillot, bikini, cup, brassiere, perfume, revolver.
The team used a classifier to distinguish between different objects in the images. While an image that showcased a bikini did well, an image with guacamole, a laptop or a plunger was significantly less popular.
3. The researchers also found that colours with blue and green tones performed noticeably worse than more striking colours, such a red.
4. One of the other notable aspects the researchers studied is whether having more friends on social media helped the image to spread and be viewed by more people. Unsurprisingly, it does.
Alongside looking at the number of “contacts”, the team also looked at whether the number of tags and uploaded photos affected the popularity of a post.
Their research found that the more tags were included in the image, the more popular it would be. The ideal combination on Flickr included a fairly short title but a longer description.