Instagram ‘now rivals Google+ and Pinterest in brand adoption’, says report

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The photo-sharing social network Instagram has sky-rocketed in terms of major brand interest and is the “fastest-growing of the top social networks”, according to research from Simply Measured.

Whilst only 40% of the biggest brands – taken from the Interbrand 2013 Top 100 Brands study – used Instagram last year, that number has risen to 71% today.

65% of top brands have an active account, compared to 42% last year; more than half (57%) post at least one photo per week, compared to 28% last year; and 44% have more than 10,000 followers (28% in 2012).

In truth, these figures represent more of a gradual upwards shift. Yet when it comes to engagement, the figures ramp up considerably; 55% more brands have an active account, and overall post count is up 70% when compared to last year.

Engagement on Instagram only comes from two sources; likes and comments. Yet given 99% of Instagram engagement stems from likes, it’s clear which horse to bet on here.

The report also details the brands which aren’t on Instagram – predominantly B2B financial services companies and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) companies. It’s fair to say that for something as picture heavy as Instagram, these brands have an inherent disadvantage – but all is not lost.

“These brands succeed by leveraging their creative department and other marketing assets for their Instagram photos,” the report advocates.

What else did the report recommend for marketers?

  • Don’t post more than one update a day to your Instagram account – the Simply Measured report denotes this to give optimum brand exposure whilst avoiding oversaturation
  • Instagram may be a good route to go down for advertising – users are still engaging with brands in spite of the rollout of the ad platform. “There’s been less resistance to the addition than other networks have seen,” the report states
  • Videos “shouldn’t replace [the] strategy around photo content” – video accounted for 6% of the overall posts, yet videos “underperform brand engagement average” by 24%

Back in September, Pinterest announced it was testing its own ad platform, and although the CEO, Micke Paqvalen, affirmed it was “imperative that monetisation doesn’t drive away the existing user base”, it’s never been easy to monetise without affecting the user experience.

Despite the stratospheric growth of Instagram, it’s still got a long way to go before being at the very top – Instagram has 71% usage among top brands, whilst Facebook and Twitter still lead the way with 98% coverage.

The full report can be found here. Are you using Instagram in your marketing strategy?

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