Instagram — the new social marketing king?

09th Apr 2018, author: Nick Holstein

For big brands, the difference in engagement can be staggering between Instagram and other social networks. Let’s take a look at a post shared on Facebook recently about the premiere of Mercedes’ new A-Class — which to date has garnered over 12k likes from the well-known car marker. This seems like Impressive reach … until you consider that the very same image on Instagram generated more than 169k  Likes — which is 14 times the engagement on likes alone!

Now, we all know that likes aren’t everything, and Facebook still reigns supreme when it comes to conversion value and sales. But, as weird as it might seem to think about, sales and conversion value aren’t the only goal your social strategy should have.

The photo-based network added 100 million users in just five months last year— which makes it the only network rivaling Facebook’s growth numbers —and now boasts 800 million monthly users. With an audience that skews towards a much younger audience (a majority of users are reported to be under 30) and one that is also fiercely brand conscious (53 percent of users follow brands), Instagram is quietly emerging as the new home for companies seeking an impact on social media.

On top of the major news feed changes Facebook announced earlier this year, Facebook now has the Cambridge data scandal to contend with — which has already began affecting how you can target users on Facebook. Now, while it’s extremely unlikely that Facebook will be losing it’s top spot as social network king anytime soon, it does give marketers a reason to start expanding their strategies past Facebook.

Instagram has also been quick to embrace everything from live video and private messaging functionality to Snapchat-inspired “filters” for creative selfies. Plus, despite some initial user resistance, the network has pivoted in recent years from a chronological stream to an algorithmic news feed—which has given developers and advertisers more fine-grained control over what users see. What does all of this mean for companies? Instagram’s ability to continually reinvent itself promises to pay off in the form of sustained user growth going forward; which makes Instagram’s value proposition for brands likely to continue to increase.

The bestselling point Instagram has going for it is arguably the most important social metric — engagement for brands on Instagram is unparalleled. With over 2 billion active users, it’s undeniable that Facebook has the potential reach category wrapped up. While definitions vary, engagement embraces the degree to which users actually interact with content — liking, sharing and commenting, rather than just passively looking. A recent study showed that brands are getting three times more engagement on Instagram, when compared apples-to-apples with Facebook. On Twitter, meanwhile, engagement rates can be less than 1/30th what they are on Instagram.

The moral of this story is simple; Instagram is here to stay as a major player in the social sphere of marketing, and that potential is only going up. Which means, if you haven’t been giving Instagram the same attention and fine tuning you’ve been giving Facebook for your social strategy, it’s time to start.