social media

 

Instagram is a visual atmosphere. And if you’re like me, you get tired of scrolling through the endless video shares, ads, and articles on Facebook that may not interest you. How often have you heard, “I signed up for Facebook to catch up with friends and family, not be sold to!”

Last year, Instagram added 100 million users in just five months — rivaling Facebook’s growth numbers — and now has 800 million monthly users. With an audience that caters to the young and is also brand conscious (53% of users follow brands), Instagram is quietly emerging as the new home for companies seeking an impact on social media.

So why should companies shift their focus to Instagram?

Instagram incorporates the best features of other social networks. The “Stories” concept, a daily disappearing montage of users’ photos and videos, may have originated with Snapchat, but Instagram copied it in 2016 — adding more than 300 million users in the process.

Instagram has also embraced live video, private messaging functionality and Snapchat-inspired “filters” for creative selfies. Instagram’s ability to continually reinvent itself promises to pay off in the form of sustained user growth going forward.

Brand engagement on Instagram is tops. While Facebook is the undisputed champion of “reach” in the social media realm, Instagram now holds the title for best “engagement.” Meaning the degree to which users actually interact with content — liking, sharing and commenting, rather than just passively looking. A recent study showed that brands are getting three times more engagement on Instagram, when compared with Facebook.

To get a little scientific with you…Instagram has always been a visual-first platform. Visual content can be processed faster and more efficiently by the human brain, is retained longer, elicits stronger emotions and is engaged with more often. On Instagram, users can scroll through a plethora of photos, liking and commenting as they go in record time. This engagement is overwhelmingly positive, partly due to the fact that there’s only a “like” button, whereas posts on Facebook allow a broader spectrum of reactions and comments.

Instagram is deepening its embrace of brands. The Explore tab automatically connects users with people and companies outside their immediate circle. Opportunities for brand exposure is virtually limitless. And with the capability of in-app shopping, eligible businesses can now tag products in their posts, with a direct link to purchase. Integrations with platforms like Shopify enable all this to happen right inside the app. Mind blowing!

Instagram’s ad tools are increasingly sophisticated. When it comes to targeting ads on social media and getting the best bang for your buck, Facebook has always been the champion. You can use tools to filter audiences from geography to interests and industry. Once upon a time, Instagram was an ad-free zone. But since opening up the platform to ads in 2015, it has quickly integrated much of Facebook’s ad functionality. Today, brands can target customers with the same level of ease and precision.

 

Instagram AdsIt’s important to note that Facebook will remain a critical tool for brands hoping to connect with their audiences for the foreseeable future. Nearly a third of the planet logs onto Facebook, after all, and Instagram currently generates just a fraction of Facebook’s overall ad revenue. But for companies seeking to deepen and sustain connections with their customers, Instagram is the next big thing.

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