‘Battle of the Brands’ – who won Christmas on Instagram this year?

There’s three things we love in this world: Instagram, Christmas and… Data. So, it was both enjoyable and eye-opening for us to combine all three to find out which top consumer brands executed the best festive campaigns on Instagram this year.

In January we’re excited to be launching our Hopper HQ Instagram Analytics tool. But until then we’ve put it to good use to analyse our favourite Christmas brand’s Instagram data, like how many new followers they’ve obtained in a given time frame, how many new likes they’ve received and what their most popular post is.

We ran the UK’s top 15 consumer brands through the tool and monitored their Instagram activity from the 4th December to the 18th December, and you may be surprised by the results, we certainly were!

It wasn’t John Lewis, Coca Cola or Marks and Spencer that implemented the most successful Christmas post within their campaign on Instagram, oh no. It was in fact H&M who won the highest ‘liked’ post during ‘Battle of the Brands’, and on first review by a long. In fact, the most engaged with festive post from a brand was a regram of a pug in a festive dress that H&M posted!

Yet again more proof if you ever need it that dogs, more specifically pugs and user generated content often win on Instagram.

But as with everything in the Instagram world there is more that meets the eye. Looking at H&M’s number of followers and their global nature, its obvious their posts are likely to get the highest number of likes and comments, but this doesn’t necessarily say their campaign is the best.

By analysing the posts engagement rate (percentage of engagement relative to their number of followers), H&M is in fact 8th on the list receiving just 1.36% engagement. The brands with the highest engaged Christmas posts relative to their accounts were actually Aldi (5.54%), John Lewis (3.92%) and Heathrow Airport(!) (2.86%). Surprisingly the previous Christmas champion Coca Cola had the least engaged Christmas post at just 0.27% engagement.

Coca Cola are also second from last when reviewing follower growth over the festive period with just 0.44% growth. Topping the growth chart is once again challenger supermarket brand Aldi with an impressive 1.94% growth. This is a stark contrast to Walmart owned ASDA, one of their biggest rivals who are at the bottom of the growth table actually losing 0.57% of their followers.

Here’s the full breakdown of our brand Christmas Instagram data in order of how many likes their most popular Christmas posts received:

A post shared by H&M (@hm) on

Brand: H&M

Likes on post: 326,170
New Followers: 64,896
New Likes: 1,877,641
Engagement Rate: 1.36%
Follower Growth: 0.27%
Total Followers: 23,966,011

A post shared by McDonald’s (@mcdonalds) on

Brand: McDonalds

Likes on post: 24,086
New Followers: 14,241
New Likes: 23,403
Engagement Rate: 0.84%
Follower Growth: 0.50%
Total Followers: 2,860,323

A post shared by M&S (@marksandspencer) on

Brand: Marks & Spencer

Likes on post: 19,392
New Followers: 4,582
New Likes: 62,248
Engagement Rate: 2.73%
Follower Growth: 0.65%
Total Followers: 709,930

A post shared by Amazon (@amazon) on

Brand: Amazon

Likes on post: 12,700
New Followers: 9,282
New Likes: 16,852
Engagement Rate: 1.11%
Follower Growth: 0.81%
Total Followers: 1,147,241

A post shared by John Lewis (@johnlewisretail) on

Brand: John Lewis

Likes on post: 11,425
New Followers: 2,439
New Likes: 3,191
Engagement Rate: 3.92%
Follower Growth: 0.84%
Total Followers: 291,382

A post shared by Coca-Cola (@cocacola) on

Brand: Coca Cola

Likes on post: 6,394
New Followers: 10,180
New Likes: 16,102
Engagement Rate: 0.27%
Follower Growth: 0.44%
Total Followers: 2,328,230

A post shared by Aldi UK (@aldiuk) on

Brand: Aldi

Likes on post: 5,894
New Followers: 2,064
New Likes: 3,839
Engagement Rate: 5.54%
Follower Growth: 1.94%
Total Followers: 106,402

A post shared by Waitrose (@waitrose) on

Brand: Waitrose

Likes on post: 5,353
New Followers: 1,631
New Likes: 15,899
Engagement Rate: 1.99%
Follower Growth: 0.61%
Total Followers: 268,609

Brand: Heathrow Airport

Likes on post: 4,429
New Followers: 1,225
New Likes: 6,495
Engagement Rate: 2.86%
Follower Growth: 0.79%
Total Followers: 155,097

A post shared by Debenhams (@debenhams) on

Brand: Debenhams

Likes on post: 3,609
New Followers: 1,182
New Likes: 4,934
Engagement Rate: 2.32%
Follower Growth: 0.76%
Total Followers: 155,651

Brand: House of Fraser

Likes on post: 2,219
New Followers: 1,039
New Likes: 6,495
Engagement Rate: 1.72%
Follower Growth: 0.80%
Total Followers: 129,248

A post shared by Sainsbury’s (@sainsburys) on

Brand: Sainsburys

Likes on post: 2,533
New Followers: 877
New Likes: 7,863
Engagement Rate: 0.94%
Follower Growth: 0.33%
Total Followers: 268,609

A post shared by Tesco (@tescofood) on

Brand: Tesco

Likes on post: 844
New Followers: 989
New Likes: 4,330
Engagement Rate: 0.50%
Follower Growth: 0.58%
Total Followers: 169,993

A post shared by Asda (@asda) on

Brand: Asda

Likes on post: 723
New Followers: -871
New Likes: 2,070
Engagement Rate: 0.48%
Follower Growth: -0.57%
Total Followers: 152,154

A post shared by Lidl UK (@lidluk) on

Brand: Lidl

Likes on post: 317
New Followers: 552
New Likes: 0
Engagement Rate: 0.31%
Follower Growth: 0.54%
Total Followers: 102,041


Hopper HQ co-founder, Mike Bandar, said,

“The results of our research and analysis are surprising, we fully expected brands that are known for their Christmas marketing campaigns, like John Lewis and Marks and Spencer, to come out on top. I think what the results do show is that just because a brand invests heavily in a Christmas campaign, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be communicated and executed well over all marketing platforms. Although we do of course need to look at both the number of engagements but also the engagement rate from followers.

“What we can take away from this research is that it’s not as simple as creating an emotive advert, campaigns must be tailored depending on the platform and knowing your audience and how to interact with them is key – the fact the most engaged with brand Christmas post is a regram is testament that users love user-generated content, and brands should take note of that!”

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