Scroll through Instagram's epic landscapes, laughing babies, delicious food, and adorable animals for a few minutes and you'll eventually land on an inspirational quote post.
In fact, the Instagram hashtag #quoteoftheday has over 12 million posts. And that's just one quote-related hashtag. When you add #quote, #quotes, and #quotestoliveby, that number swells.
With all this inspiration being shared online, which ideas resonate with people most? Which quotes get the most likes, inspire the most comments, and are most often shared?
We did the math on over 3 million quote posts to find out. Here's what we learned.
Instagram's Most Popular Inspirational Quotes
Tally up the likes on Instagram quotes and you'll find that the most popular saying – with a whopping 215,128 likes – is a simple quote that reminds us all to be a little more selfless.
"When "i" is replaced with "we" even illness becomes wellness."
The second most popular quote also carries the theme of selflessness and caring for others: "If you need me, call me. I don't care if I'm sleeping, having my own problems, or angry with you. I'll be there for you."
The rest of the top 10 quotes support the idea that we're all in this together – for better or, at least one quote believes, for worse. "It's funny how people can apologize and then go right back to doing the same sh*t."
It makes sense that so many of the top quotes revolve around relationships, our treatment of others, how others treat us, and, by extension, our overall happiness. After all, Americans are pretty obsessed with happiness – to the degree that some experts believe is detrimental to our psychological well-being.
The Most Popular Instagram Quotes, by State (Interactive)
"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud," Vermont residents say. "Say what you mean and mean what you say," Alaska Instagrammer users suggest. "Don't live in the past ..." South Dakota residents recommend. "Whenever sh*t gets weird this week, remember to find the blessing in the midst of it all," Michigan social media users say.
When we tally up popular quotes by state, we find that no two states are the same. Texans are most inspired by a Bible verse excerpt, while West Virginians prefer George Orwell. Wyoming residents favor C.S. Lewis, and North Carolina Instagrammers love Dostoyevsky.
When breaking our data down by state, the overall themes of loving, being loved, and seeking happiness are still present. In fact, most quotes talk about believing in yourself, expressing love, speaking the truth, sharing happiness, and treating others well.
What Are the Most Popular Quotes Really Talking About?
It probably won't surprise you to learn that when we ran 3 million quotes through a filter searching for common words, words that showed up most often were "people" (6.40 percent), "love" (6.35 percent), and "life" (5.75 percent).
Other common, and perhaps less expected, words were "teenager" (4.1 percent), "time" (3.0 percent), and "things" (2.6 percent) – though maybe "things" isn't that surprising after all, since it's one of the top 100 most common words in the English language.
Running that same search for the most common phrases reveals "simple reminders," "positive energy," and – a topic that inspires most of us – "falling in love."
When Do We Seek Out and Share Quotes on Instagram?
When do Instagrammers long for inspiration? When do we yearn to share or seek out words of wisdom?
The answer, it turns out, is midweek. The majority of quotes are posted on a Wednesday or Thursday. Monday and Tuesday also rank relatively high, while Friday and the weekend are the least likely times to find quotes floating around your Instagram feed.
It may be that people post more of everything – not just quotes – midweek on Instagram. Or it could be that Wednesday and Thursday are when we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel of a long workweek and get inspired for the weekend.
As we've learned, #quoteoftheday is a pretty massive hashtag. But what are some of the other common hashtags mentioned in our quote posts?
The answer for most of the quotes we analyzed was #love – a hashtag with almost 1 billion total posts – followed by #life (157 million total posts), #instaquote (6 million total posts), #happy (328 million total posts), and #inspirationalquotes (2 million total posts). Nearly 600,000 people also marked their quotes with #TRUE – capitalized for emphasis.
Quotes at Inspirational Times of the Year
What are the most popular Instagram quotes during Christmas, Easter, or Independence Day? It turns out, many sport the same themes as other quotes during the year – ideas about friendship, relationships, and love for others.
At Thanksgiving, this means: "Let your kindness be like rain, that cares not about whom it falls upon." An apt sentiment for a holiday about gratitude.
At Christmas, soul mates take the stage. "True love never fades – I'll always love my soul mate, even if only in my dreams."
And as Hanukkah draws to a close, Instagrammers go wild for: "Use your love to change the world, but don't allow the world to change your love."
What Inspires You?
Relationships, friendships, small reminders to live well and love well … based on our data, these are the things that most inspire us on Instagram. What inspires you? Which quotes do you love and share? What messages do you send out into the world? And what small reminders do you hope for day to day?
We scraped Instagram's API for posts containing the hashtags #quoteoftheday, #quote, #quotes, and #quotestoliveby. We returned over 3 million posts.
For "A Quote for the Masses," we used Microsoft Cognitive Services to pull the text off the images.
We used QDA Miner to run a text analysis on the most frequently used words and phrases on Instagram posts containing quote related hashtags.
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