However, the social media industry changes rapidly, and various social media channels have come and gone—remember MySpace? Yik Yak?—or faded in popularity.
This kind of capricious change makes it hard to know which channels will help your brand connect with target audiences. Luckily, the news is buzzing with hints of the one social media channel that is, for the time being, a sure bet.
Founded as a simple picture-sharing app in 2010, Instagram has since solidified its reputation as a popular and influential social media channel. After Facebook’s acquisition of the app in 2015, Instagram has become more and more useful for brands, offering both organic and paid social opportunities.
In the past couple of months, a few new updates have made it clear that Instagram is currently the social media marketing industry’s channel of choice—and one to seriously consider for your own business.
[bctt tweet=”In the past couple of months, a few new updates have made it clear that Instagram is currently the social media advertising industry’s channel of choice—and one to seriously consider for your own business. #Instagram #socialmedia #socialmediamarketing”]
Instagram’s user base hits 1 billion: Growing faster than any other channel.
In June of 2011, Instagram’s monthly active user count was 5 million, a reasonable size for an app that had been available for a mere 8 months. This past June, seven years later, Instagram made headlines with a monthly active user count of 1 billion.
One billion may not seem like a huge number of monthly active users, given that Facebook reported in March that it has twice that amount.
What’s stunning is that Instagram’s user base growth rate has outstripped that of Facebook and Snapchat—and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon. Compared to Facebook’s monthly user growth of 3% in Q1 2018 and Snapchat’s daily user growth of 2%, Instagram is growing almost 5% each quarter.
While destined to slow down eventually, monthly active user growth rates do accurately show what social media sites the population is heading for. Instagram’s impressive base of 1 billion monthly active users is only going to get larger, which means brands are going to need to use Instagram to reach those valuable consumers or risk falling behind.
[bctt tweet=”Instagram’s impressive 1 billion user base is just going to keep growing. Brands are going to need to use it to reach their valuable consumer base or risk falling behind. #socialmedia #socialmediamarketing #instagram”]
Brands are rushing to use Instagram’s hottest features, like Instagram Stories.
Mobile advertising, predicted to drive 75% of all digital ad spend this year, is a popular way for brands to reach consumers. That’s one of the reasons Instagram has always held interest for brands; since Instagram is a mobile-based app, it seems like a match made in advertising heaven.
After noticing the deluge of users on Instagram, top brands have flocked to the app, adjusting their strategies to fit in with its visually-focused content, trying out its ample advertising offerings, and often finding great success.
It’s not just the largest brands that are attracted to Instagram; as of late 2017, Instagram boasted 2 million monthly advertisers.
Brands have especially taken to one of Instagram’s newest offerings. Over 400 million people use Instagram Stories, which is a video feature in the Instagram app. It provides brands with an engaging, Snapchat-like format to reach consumers. Stories ads are short, casual videos or photos that appear between organic content from users’ connections.
5 Things You Need To Know About Instagram Stories
- Content can be in either a photo or video format.
- Videos can be up to 15 seconds.
- User tagging is possible.
- There are unlimited posts per story.
- Paid advertising is possible.
Stories from advertisers are very popular with consumers; one in five Instagram Stories receives a direct message response. This may be due to the fact that Stories allow marketers to capture 100% of your customers’ attention; short and casual Stories not only seem more authentic (something today’s audiences look for), but they’re also full-screen, making it hard for users to focus on anything else.
According to a new Instagram engagement study by Socialbakers, companies on Instagram are able to get up to 37% of their impressions from followers viewing their Stories.
Stories are so engaging, getting 37% of your impressions from them is an awesome number.
Stories are particularly useful for brands that want to form a direct, genuine connection with consumers. (And if you want to connect with millennials specifically, there’s no doubt that Instagram is the place to engage them.)
Once you decide to ride the Stories wave, bear three basic rules in mind: grab users’ attention right away, keep your message simple, and get creative!
There’s a brand new Instagram feature in town: Meet IGTV (Instagram TV)
A little less than two years after the release of Instagram’s highly successful Stories feature, marketers have yet another product to captivate consumers. On June 20th this year, Instagram announced both the size of its massive following and the release of a new feature called IGTV (Instagram TV).
Similar in some ways to Instagram Stories, IGTV is a full-screen video feature that can be accessed in the app. But instead of offering short videos, IGTV focuses on long-form endeavors—and it will have its own app available for download.
5 Things You Need To Know About IGTV
- Content is in video format only.
- Videos can run from 15 seconds to 60 minutes.
- Users can watch from the Instagram app or on the IGTV app.
- Creators have their own channels.
- Paid advertising options are not available yet.
This development has piqued the advertising industry’s interest for many reasons. Traditional TV has been seen as a dying breed and is quickly falling behind social media in both viewership and advertising investment.
Seen as a marriage between social media and television, IGTV could outperform YouTube, the closest thing to a social/TV hybrid—and if it does, advertising on Instagram could reap benefits like never before.
If you’re ready to establish your brand as a trailblazer, IGTV will be a great way to share product demos and long-form marketing content.
Brands that already share content on a video-based channel like YouTube will find that transitioning to IGTV will be easy; however, keep in mind that each channel has its own quirks and content requirements. Since Instagram focuses on aesthetically-pleasing posts, make sure your video content aligns accordingly.
Ready to set up or revamp your Instagram strategy to take advantage of these new developments? Our social media team can put together a strategy that will push your brand to social success.