It’s no surprise that Taylor Swift and the Kardashian-Jenner clan dominate the list of most popular Instagram photos of all time.
As it turns out, they have some effective Instagram hacks on their side, and we don’t just mean having tens of millions more followers than the average user.
In honour of the photo-sharing platform’s fifth birthday, TIME’s Olivia B. Waxman rounded up the top five most liked pics on Instagram.
Though more than 40 billion photos have been shared since Instagram’s 2010 inception, America’s so-called “First Family” snagged three of the top five spots on the list, while Taylor Swift took the remaining two.
So why did these particular photos make the cut?
What compelled followers to double-tap these pictures rather than just scrolling through?
Read through to find out.
5. Kylie Jenner adds a little pomp and circumstance to her high school graduation with this viral post, which racked up 2.3 million likes.
To start, this photo is filter-free. A study from Georgia Tech showed that photos without filters reliably gather more likes than those that have been altered.
We passed it through FilterFakers.com and determined that it hasn't been passed through an Instagram filter. It still could have been edited in some way, but typical Instagram filters are out.
The photo's colouring is cool and skews blue. Blue-tinted photos receive a full 24% more likes than warmly huged posts, according to the Daily Mail.
It also has lots of visible background space, which can net a photo 29% more likes than closely cropped pics, according to the Mail.
Also, a study from Georgia Tech determined that people are drawn to photos that prominently feature faces, according to Mashable, with the odds of netting likes and comments increasing by over a third if there's a face in the photo.
Like the previous photo, this one has no filter, has cool colouring, and has plenty of visible background space.
This photo held the record for most popular Instagram photo for over a year. Another reason for its success could be exclusivity.
'The more you post, the less feedback you're going to get,' Saeideh Bakhshi, who led a Georgia Tech study on which Instagram posts get the most likes, told the New York Daily News. 'Posting too much decreases likes two times faster than comments.'
Although Kim Kardashian West is normally one of the most prolific posters on Instagram, her wedding was kept under lock and key, with social media posts of the ceremony and its attendant parties strictly banned. This was one of the first Instagram posts from her wedding ever to see the light of day, and clearly, followers couldn't hold back their excitement.
3. Taylor Swift captured 2.5 million likes with this sweet photo of her and beau Calvin Harris on vacation.
This photo ticks the boxes of being filter-free (although that lighting is too good to be true, so maybe this is the work of VSCOCam), having blue colouring, showing plenty of background space, and incorporating two faces.
Swift also has an edge over the Kardashian-Jenners because she currently has a high follower count -- the highest, in fact, of anyone on Instagram.
2. Taylor Swift got flowers from Kanye West and posted a photo of them on Instagram. Their combined social-media super powers nabbed 2.5 million likes.
With no filter, cool colouring, visible background space, and Swift's high follower count, this photo ticks many of the boxes for photos that have been proven to do well on Instagram.
It also has a secret weapon: a cameo from Kanye West.
This is the second time West popped up in a photo on this list, so it's clear that, even though the rapper doesn't have Instagram, he's good to keep in mind if you're trying to put together a post that will get a lot of likes.
We're chalking this one up to exclusivity again, since he rarely posts on social media. So if you want to replicate Swift and Kardashian West's success and you don't actually know Kanye West, maybe grab a friend of yours who doesn't have Instagram. Your followers might double-tap since they're seeing someone who they rarely come across on the platform.
1. Behold your queen, Kendall Jenner. Her heart-shaped hair post blew away the competition with 3.1 million likes.
The number-one most popular photo of all time has a lot to offer: no filter, cool colouring, a prominent face, and visible background space.
There's also an element of exclusivity as Kendall Jenner posts to Instagram about once a day, sometimes even less, while Kim Kardashian West, Taylor Swift, and Kylife Jenner are all much more ubiquitous on social media.
She has fewer followers than anyone else on this list and there's no mention of Kanye West in this photo. So how did she get to number one?
The answer might lie in the heart shapes adorning her hair, as well as the heart emoji in her caption. Hearts are the most popular emojis on Intsagram, with a heart emoji taking the number-one spot when it comes to hashtagged emojis.
So if you want to replicate these stars' Instagram success, you know what to do.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.