Instagram is rolling high in the social media stakes at the moment, with no signs of slowing down as the mobile photo-sharing app currently has more than 300 million users worldwide. It is without doubt, the social network for image based social media marketing, with people increasingly using the 15-second video feature too.
It’s common knowledge that pictures are 3x more likely to create engagement on social media than text based posts, making visual content vital to marketing strategies. Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Tumblr and Snapchat all foresaw the relevance of visual content and have grown exponentially in the last couple of years. If they’re not doing so already, they’re now poised to branch out into social advertising and start reaping the financial rewards to expand further.
Out of the eight big social networks (Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+) Facebook was the only site to see a decrease in active users in 2014. Now that’s not to say that Facebook is about to drop off the face of the earth, it’s still the biggest social media site in the world and will probably continue to be in 2015, people are just using it less intensively than they were before.
By contrast, Instagram’s active users increased by 38%, and 45% of marketers have said that they’re planning to increase their professional use of Instagram in 2015. A recent study by Forrester found that Instagram posts achieve 120x more engagement per follower than Twitter and 58x more than Facebook! But why is it so hard to create captivating Instagram profiles? We’ve looked into our crystal ball to see what the future might hold for Instagram.
Show me the money!
The notion that social media is a completely free method of communication is long gone and Facebook in particular has all but killed the organic reach of posts, forcing you to pay for exposure. From promoted pins, twitter cards and sponsored posts, every major site is at it and so far the feedback on Instagram advertising is pretty good. Posts can be targeted based on age, gender and country and Instagram is clever enough to use information about what users do on Instagram and Facebook in order to show you posts that will peak your interest.
Following on from this, Instagram will become more geared towards brands and find ways to integrate the information that companies have about you (such as website registration, email campaigns, online activity) and interlink it with your social activity to improve marketing and advertising. The better that all this data is integrated, the better tailored social ads will be, making users feel less commercialised.
Even with competitors like Snapchat, Vine and Periscope, Instagram would be foolish not to continue developing its video feature and carve out its own in the place in the market. Social video is still a largely untapped trend in itself, currently being championed by influential vloggers who produce captivating content to send out to their followers on a daily basis. Wherever the bloggers and vloggers go on social media, eventually brands will follow.
Go mobile or go home
Mobile usage of social media, websites, publications and TV is no longer a distant second to PCs but fast becoming the consumer’s first choice for content consumption. As screens are getting bigger, more and more big name brands have invested in their own apps. You can no longer disregard mobile-only social media sites, but should start thinking of all the ways your social presence can be adapted to the mobile users.