Most Engaging Celebrities of 2020

An analysis of social media engagement with images of celebrities in the last year

We all know the feeling of doing a double take as our phone announces our weekly screen report to see our scrolling has increased by 50% week by week. With so much more time on our hands indoors this year, social media has, for some, become our number one pastime.

So, with media companies searching for even more ways to drive engagement with their brands in the remote world, which celebrities have helped them along the way?

The 2020 celebrity engagement report analyses images on the Instagram accounts of four leading fashion magazines to see who was driving the highest levels of engagement from viewers, as well as who was pulling in the most value per like.

Most Engaging Celebrities 2020

Celebrity Likes Like Value % of Following Magazine
Jennifer Lawrence 4.47% Elle
Timothee Chalamet 3.20% Vanity Fair
Dakota Johnson 3.11% Elle
Brad Pitt 2.66% Vanity Fair
Zendaya 2.50% Vanity Fair
Lily Collins 2.50% British Vogue
Ciara 2.48% Elle
Harry Styles 2.39% British Vogue
Joaquin Phoenix 2.37% Vanity Fair
Scarlett Johansson 2.13% Vanity Fair

Jennifer Lawrence was only in 6 images in the whole year but still managed to garner the highest likes-to-followers ratio on any fashion mag Instagram. 

In terms of like value, the photo with the most likes of all was Vanity Fair’s image of Timothee Chalamet, announcing a first look at his lead role in Dennis Villeneuve’s Dune. This image garnered over £700 in like value, compared to Lawrence’s £231.

Interestingly, none of the top 10 most engaging celebrities across all 4 magazines were cover stars for the respective magazine they ranked for. This could have something to do with the fact that social media users are more likely to interact with natural posts over promotional posts.

Vanity Fair's Most Engaging

Celebrity Likes Like Value % of Following
Timothee Chalamet 3.20%
Brad Pitt 2.66%
Zendaya 2.50%
Joaquin Phoenix 2.37%
Scarlett Johansson 2.13%
Leonardo DiCaprio 1.84%
Reese Witherspoon 1.69%
Billie Eilish 1.66%
Laura Dern 1.62%
Renee Zellweger 1.57%

Vogue's Most Engaging

Celebrity Likes Like Value % of Following
Lily Collins 2.50%
Harry Styles 2.39%
Helena Bonham Carter 1.54%
Beyoncé 1.46%
Margot Robbie 1.41%
Judi Dench 1.35%
Emma Corrin 1.32%
Zoe Kravitz 1.26%
Rihanna 1.16%
Marcus Rashford 1.11%

Marie Claire's Most Engaging

Celebrity Likes Like Value % of Following
Dakota Johnson 2.17%
Brad Pitt 1.81%
Elizabeth Banks 1.56%
Demi Lovato 1.25%
Celine Dion 0.88%
Chrissy Teigen 0.56%
Regina King 0.52%
Beyoncé 0.51%
Megan Thee Stallion 0.49%
Scarlett Johansson 0.45%

Elle's Most Engaging

Celebrity Likes Like Value % of Following
Jennifer Lawrence 4.47%
Dakota Johnson 3.11%
Ciara 2.48%
blake lively 1.89%
selena gomez 1.69%
emma corrin 1.63%
jennifer aniston 1.52%
hailey bieber 1.52%
brad pitt 1.47%
zoe kravitz 1.42%

Understandably, the magazines with higher follower counts drove a higher like value to their top pictures, but it’s interesting to see that Elle’s top pictures had a higher rate of engagement, showing that the highest number of likes does not the most engaging picture make.

Celebrities With the Most Likes

Celebrity No. of Images Likes Like Value
Harry Styles 12
Beyoncé 56
Zendaya 13
Rihanna 18
Zoe Kravitz 20
Florence Pugh 15
Jennifer Aniston 11
Jennifer Lopez 10
Elle Fanning 10
Sophie Turner 13

Beyoncé is well-regarded as one of the most popular celebrities of our age, so it’s no surprise that she was far and away the most popular celebrity shared on Instagram in the fashion world.

However, even with her dominating our Insta feeds, Queen Bey wasn’t able to pull in as many likes as singer/actor/fashion muse Harry Styles. In Just 12 pictures this year, Styles collected almost £2.5 grand in likes, while Beyoncé’s influence didn’t even hit £2k.

Most Prolific Celebrities 2020

Of the hundreds of celebrities featured on the four accounts we surveyed, only nine faces appeared under every title. Whether its Oscar winners Brad Pitt, and Lady Gaga or fashion frontrunners like Zendaya and Rihanna, these are the 9 people who’ve influenced our engagement the most this year:

Celebrity Most Likes on 1 Picture Magazine
Brad Pitt Vanity Fair
Zendaya Vanity Fair
Dakota Johnson Marie Claire
Jennifer Aniston Elle
Zoe Kravitz Elle
Florence Pugh Elle
Rihanna Biritsh Vogue
Lady Gaga Vanity Fair
Jennifer Lopez Vanity Fair


To find the most engaging celebrities, we chose to analyse the Instagram accounts of fashion magazines so we knew the people interacting with the images weren’t necessarily going to be fans of those who featured in the images.

We scrolled thousands of images across four accounts, limiting the qualifying posts to:

  1. Strictly actors/singers/personalities – models are common features in fashion magazines and we wanted to measure the engagement of those more separate from the industry. Since 2020 was an election year, we also chose not to include politicians.
  2. Single images only – photosets, group shots and videos offer a much broader and more complex range to measure so we opted for solo, single-image posts only.
  3. Only living subjects – with many magazines commemorating the lives of those lost in 2020 or previously, we chose to only focus on living celebrities for this yearly round-up.

The Instagram accounts we analysed:

  1.  @VanityFair – 5.7m followers
  2. @BritishVogue – 4.5m followers
  3. @MarieClaireMag – 1.7m followers
  4. @ElleUK – 1.2m followers
We used Inkifi’s Instagram earnings calculator to determine the like value of each picture.