Instagram continues to add new features, gain new users (welcome, Sir David Attenborough!) and compete with TikTok, all the while remaining a quick and easy way for celebrities to promote their work, connect with fans and make big announcements — not to mention truckloads of cash through paid sponsorships.
While Instagram itself boasts the most followers with 380.9 million people signed up for updates from the photo-sharing social network, the top ten is rounded out with actual live people.
Who are they? Pretty much the same people we’ve been fascinated with in years past.
10. Justin Bieber, 151.98 million
The Canadian singer has been making hits and headlines since he was 13 years old. In 2020, he released his fifth studio album Changes which was the seventh album of his to reach the top of the US charts. In 2020 alone, he has collaborated with Chance the Rapper, Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes and J. Balvin and he is, of course, married to Hailey Baldwin so it’s little wonder so many people around the globe are keen to see snaps from his life.
9. Beyonce, 156.56 million
They don’t call her Queen B/Bey for nothing. In 2020, the incredibly talented singer, songwriter, dancer, actress and producer used her massive social media following to bring attention to the Black Lives Matter movement and the importance of voting. She also kept fans happy with stunning pictures of her and husband Jay-Z along with stylish promotional shots for her IVY PARK activewear line. The former Destiny’s Child frontwoman may have over 150 million people following her every move, but the songstress still follows exactly zero people herself. Fierce.
8. Leo Messi, 169.78 million
The Argentine soccer player is one of only two athletes in the top ten, with close to 170 million followers. That number is sure to skyrocket as the sports star has now broken Pele’s record of most goals scored for one club, racking up his 644th goal for Barcelona on December 22.
7. Kim Kardashian-West, 192.49 million
The reality TV superstar, entrepreneur, mum-of-four and aspiring lawyer lands at number seven on the list of most-followed people. In 2020, people not only came to her page looking for pictures of her beautiful offspring and latest news about her many brands but for answers to the pressing questions they had about her husband, Kanye West, who has had a tough year battling mental illness. Kardashian-West’s use of Instagram also resulted in some backlash (and plenty of parodies) when she posted about the elaborate family vacation she planned for 40th birthday amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
6. Selena Gomez, 195.52 million
What a year it has been for the former Disney star. Now a successful and powerful young woman in her own right, Gomez released her third album Rare, launched a makeup line, established a charitable organisation, advocated for racial equality, debuted a cooking show and made scars even sexier by showing off hers from her kidney transplant. I, meanwhile, also did er, things. Sigh.
5. Kylie Jenner, 201.91 million
The beauty mogul may have been stripped of her “self-made billionaire” status by Forbes, but Kylie is doing just fine. In fact, she is the first of the Kardashian/Jenner family to hit the 200 million mark in terms of followers. 2020 saw her continue to promote her booming business and share plenty of photos of her daughter Stormi on the ‘gram, and, in addition to being number five on this list, she was the top-earning celebrity of the year, adding $590 million to her sizable nest egg.
4. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, 205.4 million
One of the busiest, and most loved men in showbusiness, Johnson was the highest-earning actor of the year. The former wrestling pro likes to mix it up on his Instagram account, posting a combination of business promos (he owns a tequila brand!), feel-good human interest videos, political calls to action, insane workouts and tender family moments. Oh! And he also released an alcoholic ice cream line in time for the holidays so he is officially my hero.
3. Ariana Grande, 208.1 million
The recently engaged singing sensation has a very arty Instagram account, with moody black and white images interspersed with cutesy candids. The Positions singer also uses her platform to promote her various collaborations and business ventures and, like many of her peers, urged her massive following to vote and get involved with human rights issues in 2020. The animal lover also tends to post plenty of pics of her pups which, truthfully, is reason enough to follow her.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo, 243.95 million
The soccer player kept his spot as the most followed human on Insta for the third year in a row with his 240 plus million devotees. His social media star has risen with impressive speed — in January 2020 he celebrated the 200 million followers mark, a number that has risen by a staggering 43 million in just 12 months.
1. Instagram, 380.09 million
It’s only fair that the platform itself holds the top spot on this list. With a colourful feed designed to help you find your new favourite account to follow or the latest trend taking the world by storm, if you’re not one of the 380 million or so people who follow Instagram, you’re definitely missing out.
*These numbers were accurate at the time of publication.