Queen Bey’s surprise news, accompanied by a highly stylized photo of herself wearing lingerie, draped in a veil and clutching her bulging belly, notched 6.33 million likes less than eight hours after she posted it to Instagram Wednesday at around 1:40 p.m. ET. The post also has over 334,000 comments — and the numbers are still climbing. That already beats previous record holder Selena Gomez, whose Instagram sponsored post of herself sipping a Coke last June has garnered 6.3 million likes to date (and 250,000 comments).
[UPDATE, 10:40 p.m. PT: After 12 hours on Instagram, Beyonce’s pregnant-pose pic has 7.12 million likes and 360,600 comments.]
Within one hour of Beyonce’s post going live, it had 2.43 million likes and 166,000 comments. The 20-time Grammy winner’s news also was burning up Twitter, which reported 500,000 tweets about the twins announcement in the 45 minutes after her Instagram post went up (peaking at 17,000 tweets per minute).
Superstars like Beyonce have been key for the continued growth of millennial-skewing Instagram. The broadcast-oriented service is becoming an increasingly important business for parent company Facebook as it looks to cultivate new sources of revenue — and it’s been siphoning away Snapchat users with the copycat Instagram Stories feature, TechCrunch reported this week. Facebook released fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday, posting net income of $10.2 billion for full-year 2016, but it does not break out Instagram results.
Instagram said it topped 600 million users in December, having added 100 million in the previous six months. The division has stepped up its ad push in the past year, and recently launched interstitial full-screen video and photo ads for Instagram Stories.
Historically speaking, Beyonce — with 92.9 million followers — is not the Queen of Instagram. That title belongs to Gomez, who has 108.4 million followers, while Taylor Swift (96.8 million) and Ariana Grande (95.4 million) also have bigger Instagram followings than Beyonce.
Beyonce averages 1.6 million engagements (likes and comments) per post, according to Thuzio’s Julius influencer-marketing platform, which captures data around celebrity social-media posts. Her average will rise after Wednesday’s post, but currently on that metric, too, Selena Gomez is No. 1 with 2.9 million average engagements. Next are soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo (2.1 million) and Lionel Messi (2 million), Kylie Jenner (2 million), and Kendall Jenner (1.7 million).
Celebrities’ popularity on social media, of course, is a function of how frequently they post (Beyonce has 1,403 posts on Instagram since joining in late 2012) and what they share with fans — including exclusive surprises, a la Beyonce’s announcement and elaborate photo shoot crafted for maximum impact.
Beyonce and husband Jay Z (aka Shawn Carter) also have a 5-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy. “We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over,” Beyonce wrote in her Instagram post.