The number of restaurant customers posting photos on Instagram grew in the third quarter, with Starbucks continuing to lead with the most location-tagged images, according to monitoring platform MomentFeed.
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company’s third quarterly MomentFeed Index Restaurant Instagram Report tracked activity on the photo-sharing social media platform for 65 restaurant brands during the quarter ended Sept. 30. The report tallied photos taken by consumers that were tagged to a specific restaurant location, not a restaurant brand’s corporate Instagram account.
More than a half million photographs were tagged to restaurant locations in the quarter, said Joergen Aaboe, MomentFeed’s director of marketing. Instagram photos for the 65 brands in the company’s data rose 2.75 percent in the quarter, he calculated.
Starbucks, with a total number of location-tagged photographs of 127,384 in the quarter, continued to lead the index in total number of Instagram photos tagged to a location, followed by The Cheesecake Factory. In-N-Out took the third place from Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, which was No. 3 in the second-quarter report.
“If you are looking at total photographs, Starbucks and Cheesecake Factory increased by more than 10 percent, but Applebee’s just increased by 2 percent. Olive Garden made a big jump, increasing 23 percent,” Aaboe said.
For average number of Instagram photos per location, Margaritaville led with an average of 303 photos per location. Hard Rock Café placed second, with 175.2 photos per location. The Cheesecake Factory bumped Dave & Buster’s from third place.
“That was a huge change,” Aaboe said. “Cheesecake Factory increased by almost 20 percent, and Dave & Buster’s dropped by almost 7 percent. That’s a big difference.”
The Cheesecake Factory logged 168.2 photos per location, while Dave & Buster’s had 153 in the quarter.
“Generally speaking,” Aaboe explained, “you can look at local engagement on the channel as a representative proxy for foot traffic, so there could be fewer people in the stores. That’s a potential explanation. Or people, for whatever reason, might be engaging less.”
For number of Instagram photos as a percentage of check-ins, Eddie V’s remained at No. 1 and In-N-Out at No. 2. Fleming’s Steakhouse bumped BJ’s Restaurants from the No. 3 slot in the third quarter.
“It’s noteworthy that BJ’s dropped from the third place spot down to what looks to be sixth place, and Fleming’s stepped up,” Aaboe said. “It may reflect changes in the business or how they manage social [media] in the quarter.”
The third-quarter results do not compare directly with the second-quarter data reported earlier, as the company had difficulty pulling consistent location lists for Chili's, Cinnabon, Yogurtland and Zoe's Kitchen, he said.
The 65 restaurants in the report were selected to represent multiple categories, according to MomentFeed. The company added that Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Margaritaville, Polly’s Pies and Texas Roadhouse use MomentFeed software.
MomentFeed continues to look at Instagram and other social-local data by guests in real time as a measure of business and foot traffic. “We want to work toward tying the two and establishing some linkages,” Aaboe said. “There’s a correlation between check-ins and sales, and this is something we will continue to monitor.”
Additionally, some restaurant brands are engaging with and motivating customers to use the photo-sharing platform, Aaboe said.
The MomentFeed ranking complements the NRN Social 200, which monitors Facebook, Twitter and YouTube engagement.