CORRECTING and REPLACING Instagram is the Fastest Growing Social Network Among World Leaders

BCW Study Finds 92 Heads of State, 48 Heads of Government and 36
Foreign Ministers Have Personal Accounts on Instagram

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First bullet of release dated December 4, 2018 should read: Ghana’s
President Nana Akufo-Addo is Sub-Saharan Africa’s most followed leader
on Instagram with 431,000 followers… (instead of 431 million).

The corrected release reads:


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most followed world leader on
Instagram with 14.8 million followers. He is closely followed by
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, with 12.2 million followers, who more
than doubled his followers over the past 12 months, according to the
newly released 2018 World
Leaders on Instagram
by leading global communications
agency BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe). With 10 million followers, U.S.
President Donald Trump is in third position.

Pope Francis is in fourth position with 5.7 million followers, just
ahead of Queen Rania of Jordan, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
and the White House account, each with more than 4 million followers.
The UK Royal Family has almost tripled its followers over the past 12
months in large part thanks to the pictures of the royal wedding of
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle which increased the account’s followers
by 570,000 on May 19, 2018.

The study analyzes the activity of the 426 Instagram accounts of heads
of state and government and foreign ministers, 100 more than in the 2017
study, using aggregate data from Facebook’s CrowdTangle tool. As of
October 1, 2018, the accounts have a combined total of 98.3 million
followers and published 98,372 posts in the past 12 months which have
garnered a total of 860.4 million interactions (comments and shares).

U.S. President Donald Trump leads the rankings in terms of total
interactions (comments and likes). Over the past 12 months,
@realDonaldTrump has garnered more than 218 million interactions, more
than three times as many as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has
more followers but only 69 million interactions on his 80 photos and
videos over the past year. However, considering the number of
interactions (comments and likes) per post, India’s Prime Minister
Narendra Modi is the most effective world leader on Instagram, with each
of his 80 posts receiving, on average, 873,302 interactions. Turkey’s
President Erdoğan is in second position with 413,934 interactions and
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo’s Instagram posts receive an average
of 411,673 interactions per post.

“This third installment of the BCW study shows Instagram has become the
social media network where world leaders garner the most interactions,”
said Chad Latz, Chief Innovation Officer, BCW. “What is astounding is
that the average size of world leaders’ Instagram accounts is less than
half the size of their Facebook pages – with five times fewer posts over
the past 12 months. However, all Instagram accounts together total 860
million interactions, which is 162 million (23 percent) more than the
total interactions on Facebook over the same period.”

The World Leaders on Instagram study also found that 156 of the 193
United Nations member states maintain an official Instagram account, 16
more than in the 2017 study. Ninety-two heads of state, 48 heads of
government and 36 foreign ministers maintain personal pages on the
platform, which tend to get better engagement than institutional

Instagram is not the most obvious social network to make sweeping policy
statements, however Instagram Stories have become a secondary channel
for digital diplomacy, where word leaders meet, greet and tag each other.

Other Key Findings Include:

  • Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo is Sub-Saharan Africa’s most
    followed leader on Instagram with 431,000 followers, ahead of Rwanda’s
    President Paul Kagame and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari with
    more than 160,000 followers each.
  • Jordan’s Queen Rania is the most followed Arab leader with more than
    4.8 million followers, surpassing Sheikh Mohammed, the Vice President
    and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, with more than 3.3
    million followers.
  • Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri is the most followed Latin
    American leader on Instagram with 880,000 followers ahead of outgoing
    Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Paraguay’s Mario Abdo Benítez
    who each boast more than half a million followers.
  • The British Royal Family tops the Instagram ranking in the European
    Union with 3.5 million followers, far ahead of French President
    Emmanuel Macron, with 1.1 million followers, and Germany’s Chancellor
    Angela Merkel with 684,000 followers.
  • The Information Department of the Government of Brunei is the most
    active government account, with more than 17 posts per day on average.
    Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, is in second position with more
    than 10 posts per day and the Foreign Ministry of Kuwait is the third
    most prolific with more than eight posts per day.
  • Since June 2018, 15 percent of the 426 accounts have created Instagram
    TV (IGTV) channels which allow users to upload up to 60-minute-long
    videos in vertical format.

About the Study

World Leaders on Instagram is BCW’s latest research into how
world leaders, governments and international organizations communicate
via social media. The research builds on BCW’s highly acclaimed annual Twiplomacy
study, which is now in its sixth year. In 2016, the Twiplomacy study was
expanded to cover all key social media platforms and has massively
enhanced BCW’s digital reputation worldwide. For more information, visit

About BCW

BCW is one of the world’s largest full-service global communications
agencies. Founded by the merger of Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe,
BCW delivers digitally and data-driven creative content and integrated
communications programs grounded in earned media and scaled across all
channels for clients in the B2B, consumer, corporate, crisis management,
CSR, healthcare, public affairs and technology sectors. BCW is a part of
WPP (NYSE: WPP), the world leader in communications services. For more
information, visit


Catherine Sullivan
212 798 9501

Matthias Lüfkens
22 593 6926