SEATTLE: Leading brands are adding Instagram to their social marketing schedules and are attracting more followers and engagement, according to a new survey.

The latest Instagram brand adoption study from social media analytics company Simply Measured found that usage of the social networking site among Interband 100 brands had jumped from 40% to 71% in the past year.

This made it the fastest growing social network among marketers worldwide, with nearly 200m users. Figures for Facebook and Twitter remained steady on 98% over the same period.

Automotive, media and luxury brands were prominent on the site, with Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi making up three of the top five most engaging brands. Overall, the top ten brands received 83% of all Instagram engagement, while accounting for 33% of all posts.

The study also said that brand engagement generally was skyrocketing, growing 350% year on year, although this figure was boosted by a 70% increase in brands posting to the visual network.

Not only were more brands posting, they were posting more often, with 57% of top brand marketers averaging at least one post per week, up from only 38% in the equivalent period in 2012. Consequently they were garnering more followers, with one third of top brands having 10,000 followers and 19% more than 100,000.

While brands can post both videos and photos, the former have yet to gain much traction, accounting for just 6% of all posts in the third quarter, the study found. In addition photos drove 26% more engagement than videos.

But Ann Handley at argued that short-form social video, such as that offered by Instagram and Vine, on Twitter, meant content had to be short and punchy, and offered businesses a multitude of ways to reach consumers, from useful how-tos to contests.

Simply Measured also noted that hashtags were becoming the norm, with 63 of the 65 active brands on Instagram using the feature. Some 83% of posts included at least one hashtag, although the study noted that top brands trended to be more sparing in their use.

Meanwhile, Sina Weibo, the Chinese social network, has also moved to develop its offering for brands by enabling them to offer subscriptions to fans and followers via the new Weibo Fan Service.

Brands can suggest content via text or voice messages and Sina says 60,000 brands and celebrities have already signed up for this service in the beta-testing phase.

Data sourced from Research Live, Reuters, Sina; additional content by Warc staff