Taking a Slice Out of Facebook:
Pizza Brands Turn to Instagram

Editor’s note: Marco’s Pizza is a Northlich client.

At Northlich, we are in the business of finding out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to how our clients and their competitors are performing on social media. This research helps us identify important trends that lead to valuable opportunities for our clients

By the numbers, Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, with more members than Instagram and Twitter combined. So how is it possible that Pizza Hut gets more engagement on Instagram than Facebook?

Here is the proof. With over 25 million Facebook fans, Pizza Hut gets a mere 1,600 likes and 150 comments per post on average. That means Pizza Hut’s average engagement on Facebook is just .007792%.

In contrast, Pizza Hut is exploding on Instagram, with numbers to prove it. We surveyed 30 of the brand’s Instagram posts during June and July 2015. The average engagement per post was over four times that of Facebook.

On average, Pizza Hut’s Instagram posts received 7,800 likes and 200 comments each. Keep in mind that Pizza Hut’s audience on Instagram is just over 315,000, compared to the 25 million who follow them on Facebook.

Here are the key takeaways from the numbers:

  1. Instagram is organically powerful. A follower on Instagram actually means something. Facebook likes, while not worthless, mean little.
  2. Boosting on Facebook is effective. When Pizza Hut put dollars behind their posts, users engaged. They shared, commented and liked the content at a very high rate.
  3. Content platforms aren’t equal. The same piece of content is engaged with differently, at different rates, on different platforms.

We know that Instagram is helping to drive sales for Pizza Hut. So are other pizza brands trying to grow their social media engagement by using Instagram? 

If you examine the “Big Four” pizza chains, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesars and Papa John’s, three of the four are growing rapidly by making a commitment to Instagram. Little Caesars is the one aberration, as they appear to not be focusing on Instagram.

While you would expect the “Big Four” to have a sizable audience and an already existing fan base, up-and-coming pizza brands are finding their way on Instagram as well.

Here are four up-and-coming brands we want to draw your attention to:

  • Jet’s Pizza — 574 percent growth on Instagram
  • Marco’s Pizza — 421 percent growth on Instagram
  • Chuck E. Cheese’s — 211 percent growth on Instagram
  • LaRosa’s Pizza — 151 percent growth on Instagram

These brands see value in the platform. Marco’s Pizza, for example, is committed to user-generated content. This is an excellent example of a brand that doesn’t have a big marketing budget like Pizza Hut making Instagram work for them. 

Jet’s Pizza and LaRosa’s are other examples of companies with limited marketing and social resources that are making it work. They create content for Facebook and repurpose it for Instagram too.

Facebook isn’t dead; it’s far from it. Pizza Hut shows us that with budget, we can reach relevant, raving fans.


As Northlich’s senior engagement strategist Nathan is responsible for social media and consumer engagement strategies, as well as day-to-day social needs of all his clients. From a reality show on Netflix to his popular blog WannaBite.com, which reaches over 200,000 people monthly, Nathan’s passion for engagement is evident not only at Northlich but in his personal life as well. He is data-driven and constantly testing different ways to make sure our clients stay ahead.

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