Since its acquisition by Facebook nearly two years ago, Instagram has been making big waves in social media. The mobile photo and video-sharing social network has over 150 million users. With the relatively recent addition of its 15-second video sharing capabilities and introduction of paid media, Instagram is fast becoming a viable way to connect with young consumers. Based on these improvements from last year, here are some good reasons to keep an eye on this platform.
1. The Fastest Growing Social Network
The numbers don’t lie: Instagram users have grown the fastest in the past six months, increasing the active user base by an astonishing 23 percent. It is the most popular in North and South America as well as Asia Pacific, but still has some catching up to do in Europe.
2. From Selfie to Storytelling
The platform’s inherently visual nature takes us back to the roots of storytelling when children tales were told through picture books. Instagram is quickly evolving from a #selfie platform to one where brands and individuals can share their stories in a compelling way. Take for example the “world’s shortest cooking show” Fish Tales, or Delve.tv’s 15-second clips that serve as teasers for a more detailed intellectual adventure.
3. The Launch of Instagram Ads
The first Instagram ads were published at the end of October 2013. Due to their promise to maintain the use of high quality images, some of the first brands to utilize the new service reached a much wider audience, grew their followers and received much less of the negative sentiment than was expected.
There are thousands of people on Instagram who influence culture and the buying behaviour of hundreds of thousands of fans, from Chiara Ferragni and Bryanboy for fashion, Theron Humphrey for travel and Rachel Brathen for fitness. Some, like Jen Selter, who invented the #belfie (butt selfie) and #seltering (posing like her), boasts over 2.6 million followers and has recently been given a spread in Vanity Fair online as well as print, not to mention a selection of sponsorships and free promotional materials. Sponsoring Instagram influencers is proving to be a highly effective marketing tool and will continue to grow in 2014.
5. The Next Generation is Jumping on it
Approximately 53 percent of 12-24 year olds have an account on Instagram, coming second only to Facebook’s 80 percent. While Snapchat follows closely with 46 percent of the age group using it, Instagram provides a highly visual social media platform for teens.
How can your brand benefit on Instagram in 2014?