Unless you’ve somehow remained completely oblivious to the significance of social media in both the world of digital marketing and people’s lives in general, then you will undoubtedly have at least heard of Instagram.
Through this incredibly popular mobile based photo and video sharing app, users are able to post photographs or videos either publicly or privately, plus share these directly to a number of other social networks such as Facebook or Tumble, or alternatively embed these posts in blogs, such as the photo below:
Instagram has changed a lot since it’s initial release back in October 2010, plus more significantly for marketers, it has grown astronomically in popularity. Because of this, while you have almost certainly heard of this platform, it is far more important than you probably think which is why your brand needs to be using Instagram now!
The majority of medium to large brands, as well as many smaller companies are now on Instagram, using it to promote their services and products, including many travel companies, excursion providers, hotels and resorts. In fact, if you look at Instagram’s core product, it is perfectly designed to showcase travel and any businesses related to the Travel & Tourism industry, as well as many other sectors of the economy.
Instagram offers a hugely user friendly, fast and attractive way for people to browse photos and videos on their phones, and is perfect if they are looking for inspiration such as where to go on their next holiday, which resort or hotel to stay at, or which excursion to try out.
It is an amazing tool to connect with potential clients such as future guests at your hotel. It can be used to fantastic effect to showcase the resort, the surrounding location and the experience they would have if they came to stay with you.
Instagram has successfully been used by a huge number of brands to attract new business by creating inspirational posts. What’s more, because it is mostly mobile based through the Instagram app (although there is also a website), your brand can easily connect with people through it wherever they go, whether they are at home, work or on the move.
There are a variety of reasons why Instagram has grown so massively since its initial launch, one of the most significant being when it was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 for approximately US $1 billion in a combination of cash and stock.
Facebook had already grown to become the most important social media network by that point and sensed a huge potential in Instagram. Prior to the takeover the app had shown very promising growth which Facebook wanted to further capitalise on, before it could become a major competitor.
Seven years later, it is now clear what an incredible buy this was for Facebook as following the acquisition, the app exploded in popularity with a 23% growth in 2013 as opposed to a 3% drop for FB. This translated to a bigger growth than Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest combined! Instagram had reached 100 million monthly active users by April 2013, a year after its purchase.
Other significant changes brought in by the app developers have included videos which they introduced in June 2013, with later improvements of these such as increased length (1 minute pre-recorded) and high definition full widescreen videos. The introduction of videos on Instagram is widely agreed to be of the main factors that lead to the demise and subsequent closure of the once hugely popular Vine app.
More recently (November 2016) a live disappearing video feature which can last up to one hour long was introduced. This allowed the app to compete with Periscope, the Twitter owned live streaming app and other video services such as YouTube which offer video streaming.
Instagram photos originally had a distinctive retro feel with uploads being confined to a square shape, reminiscent of Polaroid photos. This was also changed back in August 2015 meaning users could upload photos in any aspect ratio. This has allowed a more direct competition with other photo sharing services such as Flickr.
Under the ownership of Facebook, the app has been developed almost completely from its humble beginnings and has transformed into so much more than what it originally started as. While there are certain core elements that remain like the ability to quickly and easily upload photos, add a filter and share them, Instagram has been drastically transformed in many other fundamental ways.
Through the introduction of video, live video and even disappearing stories (launched in August 2016), Instagram has been able to successfully compete with a variety of other networks such as Twitter, YouTube, Periscope and Snapchat, which is ultimately of great benefit to parent company Facebook.
It has also made the app hugely influential and useful for practically any brand aiming to successfully market itself in this age of digital media. In fact if your brand is not using Instagram regularly and effectively then it is missing out on a huge and rapidly growing audience!
Vital Instagram usage statistics that you can’t ignore:
Instagram has reached 800 million active monthly users
In September 2017 the company reached the massive milestone of 800 million worldwide monthly active users and continues to grow in popularity. What’s more the last 100 million users were added in just 6 months! This is staggering growth and should definitely not be ignored by your marketing team. The big question for your company though is likely to be, does this high number of users translate into high usage?
There have been over 40 billion photos uploaded by users since Instagram started and over 95 million photos and videos are uploaded on average each day
Stop and think about how incredible that figure is! 40 billion photos is practically impossible to even imagine and translates to over five times as many photos uploaded to Instagram as there are people on earth.
In addition to this, there are over 95 million photos uploaded to the app daily according to Instagram, meaning it won’t be long until billions more photos have been added. What you may be thinking though, is that it is very much a US based app with a high focus on selfies with little else of substance.
Instagram is a truly global community with 80% of users based outside the US
Like almost all of the biggest social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, Instagram began in the US, but as with all of these is has expanded globally. The company announced on June 21st 2016 that over 80% of the Instagram community come from outside of the US.
In addition to this, the company emphasised the huge diversity of this global community posting photos and videos each and every day. These range from sneakerheads to illustrators to astronauts on the International Space Station. There really is something for everybody on Instagram and the reach continues to expand.
Instagram Business Statistics:
Instagram could help to save Facebook
At present Facebook remains the largest social media network and still way ahead of its rivals, but there are certainly signs that its popularity is beginning to decline, especially among younger users. Facebook has a massive user base of not only younger people, but also their parents and grandparents. Because of this it is becoming viewed as something boring and for the older generations.
Rivals have appeared to try and take Facebook’s social media crown, most notably Snapchat which has taken off massively among the younger demographic. Instagram on the other hand is still viewed as more interesting among younger audiences than Facebook, especially with recent additions such as Live Video, Stories, and disappearing photo and video messages.
It has estimated by Credit Suisse that by 2021 Instagram alone could bring in a stunning $12 billion. When Facebook first decided to acquire Instagram there were doubters, but the gamble has definitely paid off. There is now excellent integration between Instagram business accounts and Facebook pages, meaning it is a very useful way for your business to advertise itself.
Marketers who invest more time in social media are much more likely to use Instagram
Because Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have been around the longest, many brands focus their efforts on these platforms for their social media marketing strategies. It seems that marketers who invest more time in social media each week are far more likely to use Instagram. This comes from a report from Social Media Examiner that showed that marketers who invest 40+ hours/week on social media are much more likely to commit time to Instagram (76% of respondents).
This suggests that experienced digital marketers realise the full potential of Instagram for brands and are fully committed to using it to its maximum potential. This is therefore clear evidence that your brand marketing team should also be committed to Instagram as part of your digital marketing strategy.
How Instagram marketing is working for businesses:
75% of Instagrammers take action after being inspired by a post
This statistic directly from the Instagram business blog is one that your brand marketing team should definitely take note of. Businesses are often unsure if it is worth investing time and money into social media marketing, so they remain cautious. Clearly posting on Instagram is worth doing though, because when done correctly it often leads to action by an Instagram user after seeing a post.
Visiting a website, searching, shopping or telling a friend is included by this. From your post on Instagram such as a beautiful shot of a sunset by the pool, this may lead to someone visiting your website or telling a friend or family member to check out your brand. Additionally “50% of Instagrammers follow a business. More than just following businesses, 60% of people say they learn about a product or service on Instagram.”
For those of you who weren’t already convinced by the huge importance of Instagram as part of your brand marketing strategy then surely by now you will! There are countless other statistics available online about the massive growth in Instagram, but instead of just continuing with what must be obvious to you by now, you should start your brand’s Instagram strategy as soon as possible.
For a hotel or resort for example, make sure to regularly post inspiring photos and videos of the hotel/resort and the experiences that guests are able to enjoy when they come and stay. Aim to be inventive and stand out from the pack in order to get noticed and encourage your followers to share your posts and book a stay, rather than just settling for bland, boring photos. By investing time in your company Instagram account, you will definitely see interest in your brand grow.
Let us know in the comment section below or via our social media using #CanaryPR if your brand has started to invest as much time in Instagram as other social media platforms and have you seen a benefit to this?