Social media is a phenomenon that has taken our world by storm. While websites were the first step for businesses to digitally communicate to their target audiences, the typically informal nature of social media represented the transformative step to engaging with the target audiences to build brand awareness and establish relationships. According to https://wearesocial.com, of the 4.5 billion people who have access to the internet, 3.8 billion use social media. Not unsurprisingly, social media’s huge coverage has encouraged businesses to quickly adopt it to reach out to their target audiences. Of the multiple social media platforms available to marketers, Facebook has had the first-mover advantage but it is Instagram with its multiple benefits that have been creating waves in recent years. A quick look at why Instagram is trending with marketers.
Instagram – The Statistics Reveal All
In its short existence of just 10 years, the number of monthly active users has already crossed a billion, out of which half of them use Instagram Stories daily. Being a smartphone app, Instagram is used more by the younger generation, which is a very attractive demographic for marketers as they are more open to new products, services, and experiences. With an almost even split between male and female users, Instagram is an ideal channel for marketers of every kind. With 116 million users, America leads the number of users but countries like India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia also have very large user bases, which makes it perfect for international brands wishing to spread their marketing footprint.
Most marketers prefer Instagram because of its high engagement rate, and its younger demographics. That their targeting seems to be bang on is amply proven by the fact that as many as 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business account. It also seems that Instagram users cannot have enough of brand activities with an overwhelming majority viewing them as being popular, creative, entertaining, and committed to community-building. Even though Instagram has been rather late to directly facilitate e-commerce sales, marketers agree that it serves to support the discovery function of the overall sales funnel with an awesome 83% Instagram users admitting that they discover new products and services on it. Marketers remain enthused about the potential of Instagram with studies revealing that as many as 79% of users searched for more information on a product or service they have seen on Instagram, while 37% visited the store, and 46% bought something.
Prime Motivations for Brands to Leverage Instagram
Easily tap the smartphone generation: Instagram was the first social media app that was developed exclusively for smartphones and continues even today to be the first choice of mobile phone users despite other social media platforms originally built for desktops having launched their mobile phone versions. For marketers, this is of great importance because already more than half of all web traffic is generated from mobile devices and this trend is expected to continue because already people are spending a great amount of their time on mobile apps. The ease of operating Instagram on smartphones makes it the ideal choice for mobile users to get on to the social media bandwagon.
Increase brand reach significantly: With over one billion monthly active users, marketers are sure of finding a very large number of people belonging to their target audience regardless of the product or service they are selling. However, even with Facebook having twice the number of users, Instagram remains a firm favorite of marketers as is evident from the fact that there are some 25 million business accounts on Instagram. Because there are 6 million advertisers on Facebook compared to just 2 million on Instagram, the clutter there is far less and it is easier for the posts made by the brand to be noticed by the followers.
Easier to engage the target audience with visual content: Everyone knows that communicating with pictures is far easier than with text and it is in the matter of visuals that Instagram rises to the forefront because it has been designed specially to showcase beautiful photos. Marketers have the luxury of leveraging the power of visuals to communicate their brand promise and engage with their followers. Apart from still photos, marketers can use infographics, videos, GIFs, and even live streaming through IGTV to engage potential customers and build brand saliency. Of course, for the visuals to have the maximum discoverability, you will need to carefully select the most relevant hashtags because that is the only way users can hunt for content on Instagram. By spending nominal sums, marketers can buy free Instagram likes to encourage their followers to engage with them more.
To engage with Instagram Stories: Audiences are forever looking out for content that resonates well with them. Rather than messages directly extolling the virtues of a product or service and pushing sales, they would like engaging and entertaining stories to be told to them. Instagram Stories that have a life of only 24 hours is a wonderful method for brands to engage in telling stories about the inspiration for the brand, interesting anecdotes on the history of the brands, user experiences, and behind-the-scenes activities that feel special to users. According to studies, more than 500 million people or half the monthly active users of Instagram use Stories daily. It is estimated that due to this feature, people are spending around seven to ten minutes more on the app, which is great news for marketers.
Users of Instagram love the app because it provides interesting and entertaining content right on their smartphones. It also allows them to post content of their own on the fly making it ideal for spontaneous reactions to what they are experiencing. Marketers find Instagram very appealing because of its very high number of users, its high rate of engagement, and the ease of use of visual matter to communicate, engage and entertain users. With Instagram opening up opportunities for in-app shopping, marketers are likely to take to it in increasing numbers because they no longer will have to use it just as a device for raising brand awareness and encouraging customers along the sales funnel and instead, can use it as a direct sales tool.