Instagram Advertisements Favor the Left Cheek Academic Article uri icon


  • The growth of social media has catalyzed a shift in marketing expenditure away from traditional print media. As Instagram posts featuring left cheek poses gain more "likes" than right cheek poses, advertisers and social media influencers would likely benefit from favoring the left cheek. While previous investigations of posing biases in print advertising present a conflicting picture, research has yet to investigate posing biases in Instagram advertisements. Given that left cheek images garner more "likes" than right cheek images, we hypothesized a left cheek bias for Instagram advertisements. Two thousand posts (F = M) were sourced by searching Instagram's "Most Recent" feed using the #ad, and coded for pose orientation, image type, and model gender. As predicted, Instagram advertisements showed a left cheek bias (59.8 percent) that was evident across genders and image types, being stronger for female than male models, and for full body than head and torso poses. As such, these data indicate that the left cheek bias that characterizes painted and photographic portraits extends to paid Instagram promotions. The difference in bias from previous investigations of posing orientation in print media advertisements may reflect the importance of emotion in driving attentional capture in social media's highly competitive and content-overloaded landscape.

publication date

  • 2020