Instagram’s biggest moments in 2016, from celebrities and sports stars to #love

If you’re not following Selena Gomez  on Instagram, you might be the only one.

The social media site recently released a recap of their top moments for 2016, and the pop star has been crowned the queen of selfies and content. Not only did the 24-year-old amass the most followers (she’s now got 103 million of them), she’s also responsible for nearly all of the most-liked celebrity posts in 2016 (despite taking a 14-week break from social media this year).

Gomez beat out Taylor Swift (93.6 million followers), Beyoncé (88.9 million followers) and Kylie and Kendall Jenner (79.5 million and 68.9 million followers, respectively) to top the photo-sharing site’s list of most popular celebrities. The only men among the top 10 were soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo (82.3 million followers) and Dwayne Johnson (71 million followers).

READ MORE: Selena Gomez returns to rehab to ‘focus on mental health’

Top 10 Most-Followed Celebrities on Instagram in 2016:

  1. Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) – 103 million followers
  2. Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) – 93.6 million followers
  3. Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) – 89.6 million followers
  4. Beyoncé (@beyonce) – 88.9 million followers
  5. Kim Kardashian (@kimkardashian) – 87.8 million followers
  6. Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) – 82.3 million followers
  7. Kylie Jenner (@kyliejenner) – 79.5 million followers
  8. Dwayne Johnson (@therock) – 71 million followers
  9. Nicki Minaj (@nickiminaj) – 69 million followers
  10. Kendall Jenner (@kendalljenner) – 68.9 million followers

Top 10 most-followed musician accounts on Instagram in 2016:

  1. Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) – 103 million followers
  2. Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) – 93.6 million followers
  3. Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) – 89.6 million followers
  4. Beyoncé (@beyonce) – 88.9 million followers
  5. Nicki Minaj (@nickiminaj) – 69 million followers
  6. Katy Perry (@katyperry) – 58.9 million followers
  7. Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus)  – 56.4 million followers
  8. Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) – 54 million followers
  9. Rihanna (@badgalriri) – 54 million followers
  10. Drake (@champagnepapi) – 30.4 million followers

READ MORE: Drake tops 2016 Spotify streams with over 4 billion plays

Gomez also had eight of the 10 most popular celebrity photos and seven of the top 10 celebrity videos.

Her most popular picture, with 5.9 million likes, is an ad for Coke. Other popular snaps show her performing onstage and posing with a fan.

View this post on Instagram

when your lyrics are on the bottle 😛 #ad

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on Jun 25, 2016 at 2:03pm PDT

View this post on Instagram

One of my favorite nights on tour

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on Aug 15, 2016 at 4:58am PDT

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Ronaldo posted the other top two photos on the list, with both pics being of him with the Euro 2016 trophy.

View this post on Instagram

I always dream to win this title ❤️❤️❤️🔝🔝🔝👍👍

A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on Jul 10, 2016 at 11:59pm PDT

The top hashtag for sports events, leagues and teams was #rio2016, with #euro2016 coming in second. Madison Square Garden in New York City is the spot where fans geotagged the most photos and videos in 2016. Global soccer stars are the biggest athletes on Instagram this year.

Top 10 most-followed athlete accounts on Instagram in 2016:

    Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) – 82.9 million followersNeymar (@neymarjr) – 62.6 millionLionel Messi (@leomessi) – 60.1 millionJames Rodriguez (@jamesrodriguez10) – 27.2 millionLeBron James (@kingjames) – 26.4 millionGareth Bale (@garethbale11) – 24.6 millionZlatan Ibrahimovic (@iamzlatanibrahimovic) – 21.3 millionRonaldinho Gaúcho (@ronaldinhooficial) – 18.3 millionLuis Suarez (@luissuarez9) – 18.1 millionKarim Benzema (@karimbenzema) – 16.1 millionDavid Luiz (@davidluiz_4) – 15.1 millionAndres Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) – 14.9 millionMarcelo Vieira (@marcelotwelve) – 14.3 millionStephen Curry (@stephencurry30) – 13.9 millionFloyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) – 13.8 million

READ MORE: Prince Harry and Rihanna take HIV tests in Barbados for World AIDS Day

Swift, Kardashian and soccer star Messi claimed the other three spots on the list of celebrity videos. Swift’s video is of her cat.

Kardashian’s and Messi’s are of their children.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Feb 15, 2016 at 2:18pm PST

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Aug 6, 2016 at 8:35pm PDT

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Primeros pasos de matu 😍😍😍

A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi) on Aug 13, 2016 at 9:12am PDT

READ MORE: Kelly Ripa won’t rule out Billy Bush, Kardashians for ‘Live!’ co-host

As for Canadian stats, Drake and Shawn Mendes top the list for most-followed Canadians of 2016.

Most-followed Canadians of 2016: As of Wednesday, 11/30

    Drake (@champagnepapi)- 30.4 million followersShawn Mendes (@shawnmendes) – 16.1 million followersThe Weeknd (@theweeknd) – 7.6 million followersAvril Lavigne (@avrillavigne) – 4.2 million followersFarah Dhukai (@farahdhukai) – 4.1 million followersKristen Hancher (@kristenhancher) – 2.2 million followersLyzabeth Lopez (@lyzabethlopez) – 2.1 million followersdeadmau5 (@deadmau5) – 2 million followersJeremy Bieber (@jeremybieber) – 1.9 million followersYolanda Gampp (@yolanda_gampp) – 1.9 million followers

The most-liked Canadian celebrity posts of 2016 come from Drake and Mendes.

View this post on Instagram

This is a night for us all to be thankful for what you have done for us! You have affected so many of our lives in the best way possible. Tonight we celebrate you! @badgalriri

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Aug 28, 2016 at 11:41pm PDT

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Shawn Mendes (@shawnmendes) on Oct 29, 2016 at 5:03pm PDT

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Woke up with a new to do list. 📃

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Oct 24, 2016 at 3:25pm PDT

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The top Canadian hashtag goes to #Toronto, with #love coming in second.

Top Canadian hashtags:


Niagara Falls is the most Instagrammed location in Canada for 2016, followed by Rogers Centre Toronto Blue Jays Game.

Most Instagrammed Canadian locations of 2016 (based on geotag data):

    Niagara FallsRogers Centre Toronto Blue Jays GameAir Canada CentreToronto Pearson International AirportCanada’s WonderlandVieux Port de MontrealCN Tower / La Tour CNVancouver International AirportMolson Canadian AmphitheatreWhistler Blackcomb

READ MORE: The top 10 worst songs of 2016, according to Time magazine

Apart from the celebrity stats and Canadian stats, the site also said that Disney and Universal theme parks were the most popular places among its 500 million active users over the past year. Other oft-Instagrammed spots include New York’s Time Square and Central Park and the Eiffel Tower and Louvre museum in Paris.

The Most-Instagrammed locations of 2016 (based on global geotag data):

  1. Disney Theme Parks (global)
  2. Universal Studios Theme Parks (global)
  3. Central Park (N.Y.C.)
  4. Times Square, New York City
  5. Eiffel Tower (Paris)
  6. Louvre Museum (Paris)
  7. Las Vegas Strip (Las Vegas)
  8. Santa Monica Pier (L.A.)
  9. Brooklyn Bridge (N.Y.C.)
  10. ВДНХ / Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva (Moscow)

The site said the most popular emoji in 2016 was the heart and the top hashtag was #love.

The Most-Used Instagram Filters of 2016:

  1. Clarendon
  2. Gingham
  3. Juno
  4. Lark
  5. Moon

The Most-Used Emoji on Instagram in 2016:





5. 💕

6. 😊

7.  👌

8. ✌️

9. 🎉

10. 💙

The Most-Instagrammed Days of 2016:

  1. Halloween – 10/31/16
  2. The 15th Anniversary of 9/11 – 9/11/16
  3. Euro Cup Final – 7/10/16
  4. United States Election – 11/6/16
  5. Olympics – 8/14/15
  6. Father’s Day – 6/19/16
  7. Paris Fashion Week – 10/1/16
  8. Mother’s Day – 5/8/16
  9. New Year’s Day – 1/1/16
  10. Easter Sunday – 3/27/16

With files from The Associated Press

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