How Popsugar Connects With Readers on Social

[Originally published on the Dash Hudson blog.]

The global media empire known as Popsugar uses Instagram on a daily basis for its various niches to continue the conversation with its social audience through visuals. We decided to dive into how the company’s efforts translate from the web to the ‘Gram, as well as to understand what content trends are resonating the most with Popsugar readers.

Carefully selected to be published on the fashion Instagram account. 💁

Visual communication has been elevated to ubiquity thanks to the digital revolution. In fact, it has become one of the most powerful conversation tools of our modern times. While social media ironically renders people quite antisocial, it has facilitated connecting with peers from all over the world through photos and videos with the simple click of a button. One thing that Back to the Future did not see coming.

It’s a new universal language in which most are fluent, no matter their geographic location, making it easy to understand why businesses would jump on that visual conversation bandwagon. Creating a dialogue between them and consumers is what brand-building is all about, especially now in this new era of communication.

Cultivating an audience and a brand image in tandem is the challenge that many companies are confronted with when facing the upward climb of social media success. Reconciling creative brand assets with requisite audience engagement is the apex of marketing on Instagram, yet always proves a bit of a struggle for B2C entities. Even more so if they’ve built a multifaceted lifestyle corporation that targets an assortment of audiences for various categories.

One of the best ways to smartly compartmentalize the discussions on social media is to create individual channels for each segment, just like bonafide online glossy Popsugar has. Giving a voice to all their content branches enabled the media company to maximize every one of their pillars and build an engaged community around specific points of interest. They can go deep instead of wide, which always transpires into better engagement. And the social media metrics prove it.

Focusing on the Popsugar magazine lifestyle categories, those audiences are being served hyper-targeted Instagram posts according to what they care about. As a booming global website boasting an impressive reach on the World Wide Web, we were curious as to how that great content translates to social media as a visual communication tool with each niche’s followers.

In other words, what does the Popsugar reader who’s into fitness find compelling, versus a beauty devotee? The answers lie below.

Pop! Goes the Sugar

The Popsugar empire is divided into a slew of top Instagram accounts, each owning their respective pillar. Today, we’re going to focus on five of them: the mothership, and the specialty profiles for fitness, beauty, fashion, and of course, celebrity news. Time to dig in. 🆒


Popsugar’s main handle publishes content that pertains to general lifestyle things. The broader scope of this account tells a story of positivity, offering an enthusiastic perspective on living.

This audience seems to have a particular penchant for quotes and pastels, according to their highest engaged content, seen below:


The fitness branch is all about health, wellness and empowerment. The athletic aficionado is called upon through visuals containing positive affirmations, delectable nutritious dishes (everyone should know how to properly cut an avocado), and easy workout demos. This account’s most popular content segments in the past 3 months are:

1. Quotes & Affirmations

2. Good-for-you Food

3. Workout Demos

The @popsugarfitness team could take advantage of these top categories and source similar content. For example, surfacing top UGC and determining the highest potential performers, such as healthful food bowls:


The beauty account is all about glam, bam, thank you ma’am, but with a cheeky dose of humor that is appreciated by today’s modern woman. Some of their most popular content pillars are glossy funky lips, nail art, and colorful hair affairs. Let’s zoom in:

What’s interesting to note here is that while @popsugarbeauty’s most popular content categories are illustrated above, the category that boasts the most potential for top performers are open products, like this one:


Nothing grabs people like some good ol’ fashioned celebrity news. In fact, this is Popsugar’s most popular Instagram handle out of all the accounts mentioned in this story. Folks cannot get enough of their favorite stars’ love stories, royal spottings, and, well, Beyonce.

It’s clear that this account’s audience has a mild obsession with famous couples when looking at their top engaged Instagram posts of all time:

However, the @popsugarcelebrity account should think twice before posting beach shots and face close-ups, as these types of images are not likely to perform very well:


In need of a fashion fix? Popsugar’s style-centric Instagram account can fulfill that craving. This content category kills two birds with one stone, as the team focuses primarily on star style.

For this account, it looks as though detail shots are high performers, as well as bright backdrops and full body pics at an angle:

… While flat lays and one-note, light colored images are likely to perform poorly.

Siloing its social content was a smart way for the publishing behemoth to streamline the dialogue to better connect with each segment’s rightful audience. It allows for social teams to be hyper-focused and to have a much more thorough insight into which visuals can best relay the message their specific category is looking to transmit.

Pairing this strategy with robust data to inform decision-making would make Popsugar a force to be reckoned with.

Want to learn more about social content performance? Get in touch today.

Visual marketing platform built for and used by the world’s most discerning brands and publishers.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store