NEW YORK: Nearly half of the world's biggest brands now have a presence on Instagram, the photo-sharing platform, indicating the increasingly diverse nature of corporate activity on social media.

Simply Measured, the analytics firm, assessed how members of Interbrand's annual rankings of the 100 most valuable global brands were utilising this service, which has 80m users.

It found that 40% were active on Instagram, compared with 51% for Pinterest, the content-sharing site. Google+, the social network, logged 64% here, falling behind Twitter on 94% and Facebook on 98%.

"Considering Instagram's relative youth, its strictly photo-posting focus and the fact that it's a mobile-only network, this is very impressive," the study argued.

The 40 major brands currently leveraging this medium had a combined audience of 3m users, although the top ten brands account for 96% of these followers.

MTV, the music channel, led the charts with 813k. It has posted 478 images, yielding 3,477 likes and 88 comments. Starbucks, the coffee house chain, had 758k fans, with its 202 pictures accruing 3,812 likes and 69 pieces of feedback.

Burberry, the luxury label, had 454k followers, taking third place on this metric. Nike, the sportswear giant, was fourth with 323k fans. It enjoyed especially high levels of engagement as its 335 photos secured 135 comments and 6,388 likes.

GE, the conglomerate, boasted 121k fans, ahead of Gucci, the premium fashion line, on 119k. Audi, the car maker, was on 105k, with jewellery company Tiffany & Co on 103k. Hermès, the French luxury operator, trailed on 51k, with McDonald's, the fast food group, on 38k.

Of the brands active on Instagram, 93% had uploaded photos to their account, and 65% added at least one image a week.

While this platform does not have a formal sharing tool, Simply Measured stated that links to 32% of pictures from a sample of 1,736 were posted to both Facebook and Twitter.

The amount of interactions per photo reached 4,028, including 27 tweets each, and 40 engagements on Facebook, the analysis revealed.

Looking ahead, the study predicted that Instagram will hit 100m users before its second anniversary, a milestone that took Facebook and Twitter four and five years respectively to achieve. "The growing audience is engaged, and top brands are taking advantage of this," it added.

Data sourced from Simply Measured; additional content by Warc staff