It’s been a while since a little brown egg on a white background became the most famous and liked picture on Instagram. But the little egg that could still reigns as Instagram’s favorite, with over 54.2M likes as of this writing.
The egg photo continues to surpass most-liked images posted by Instagram’s still wildly-popular celebrity influencers, including Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Aniston and Selena Gomez. But the influencer discovery story of an egg, and the message it’s brought to the world, is the most unique one of them all.
The Egg Appears
It began on February 6, 2018 when celebrity influencer Kylie Jenner posted a photo of her holding her infant daughter’s hand. The perfect, sweet shot garnered 18.6K likes. But someone decided to challenge the amount of likes that Kylie’s pretty-in-pink post commanded. On January 4, 2019, a new Instagram site, world_record_egg, run by the mysterious Egg Gang, was born. The post had a simple message:
“Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this.”
Nine days after that little egg was laid, Kylie’s record was surpassed, and the number of likes kept increasing. The Instagram account is now followed by an impressive 7M fans.
How the Egg Account Grew
Wisdom has it that to gain a massive amount of likes on Instagram, you need to have an equally large following. Influencers say you also need an Instagram-worthy photo that grabs attention. But this new egg account had no followers when it launched. And, there’s certainly nothing special about the photo of the egg. How did it rocket to have over 8K likes in the first few days after it posted?
The photo of the egg managed to go viral. By luck, it caught attention on Reddit and Twitter. Many viewers wanted to participate in the breaking of Kylie’s world record for most likes of an Instagram post. Everyone who participated began to encourage their own friends to do the same. Even Kylie got in on the fun by liking the post and posting a short video of her cracking an egg on the ground with the caption “Take that, little egg” (with 4.4M likes). With all the attention, the post’s likes continued to mushroom, seemingly out of the blue.
Mystery Solved at the Super Bowl
The mystery of who was behind the world record Instagram egg, and the Egg Gang, would become uncovered about a month after its launch during the 2019 Super Bowl. Chris Godfrey, then a young 29-year-old advertising creative in London, had the idea of posting an egg, a universal and neutral symbol, as a challenge to the Insta world, and it morphed into more photos and then a TV commercial.
Two colleagues joined Chris to keep the account active. A second image of the same egg, but with a tiny crack, was posted on January 18, 2019. A third and fourth image of the egg, each with larger cracks, then a fifth image that made the egg look like a football, was a clue that something was coming relating to the Super Bowl. By then, everyone was following the mystery. So much so that the fifth photo of the egg grabbed 7.5M likes.
The Super Bowl commercial, sponsored by Hulu, the streaming service, and starring an animated Instagram-famous egg, promoted a mental health campaign. The egg urged anyone struggling under the pressure of social media to seek help.
Three Good Eggs
One good-natured stunt on Instagram resulted in the formation of an in-demand new ad agency. Chris Godfrey, Alissa Khan-Whelan and CJ Brown recently formed their own London-based creative agency called Happy Yolk. They even landed a client, Happy Egg Co., a free-range egg company.
Most Liked Runner’s Up
It’s tough to beat the egg’s number of likes. But there are plenty of other most-liked pictures on Instagram, mostly from celebrities and mega-influencers. However, not one of the posts has surpassed the one-of-a-kind, non-celebrity egg. Here are a few recent (egg- and Kylie-free) top favorites:
XXXTentacion, @xxxtentacion, 17.5M Instagram followers —
The last photo the rapper posted before his death in 2018 has 18.8M likes and 7.4M comments. It’s also the only photo on his Instagram feed, and it is still live on the platform.
Jennifer Aniston, @jenniferaniston, 30.3M Instagram followers –
Her first post amassed 15.9M Instagram likes. It’s notable that the group photo of her co-stars from the “Friends” TV show was far from good quality, but that didn’t seem to matter to her fans.
Tentree, @tentree, 2.6M Instagram followers –
Here’s another egg-related, non-celebrity Instagram feed with an equally impressive amount of likes on its “Double Tap to Plant a Tree” post. This extraordinarily simple earth-conscious post garnered 15.6M likes. It’s mission: to start a movement to plant more trees in Indonesia.
Lebron James, @kingjames, 61.2M Instagram followers –
Lebron’s post expressing his emotions about the death of his friend, Kobe Bryant, brought tears to many and amassed 15.5M likes. The photo wasn’t the best quality, but you could clearly see the expression of love on both men’s faces.
Dwayne Johnson, @therock, 174.4M Instagram followers—
Over 14.6M fans of The Rock loved his wedding photo so much they clicked the like button. It’s a sweet, simple photo of a couple in white celebrating nuptials by the water. The only difference is that this photo is in Hawaii.
Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber and Cristiano Ronaldo all have posts that are liked by 13M to 14M fans. Rounding out the list are a few provocative posts from Kylie Jenner and her family.
Having a “most liked” picture on Instagram won’t translate to nano- and micro-influencers. Both types of influencers have a smaller, but much more loyal and attentive audiences. What’s more important to this level of Instagram influencer is the rate of engagement with their audience. And a high level of audience engagement may be the most important number to marketers seeking the perfect influencer for their brand campaigns.