Instagram is too often dismissed as a place for sharing bad pictures of food.
But the social media platform represents a real opportunity for marketers. Instagram usage has doubled in the last two years – and just keeps growing. Its audience is the second-most engaged after Facebook’s, with more than 60 per cent of users logging in each day.
In fact, 30 percent of internet users are now on Instagram, as are 49 per cent of brands. By 2017, it is predicted that more than 70 per cent of brands will be on Instagram. And for good reason. Brand engagement on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and a whopping 84 times higher than Twitter
And recent news surrounding Instagram highlights just how big of an opportunity it is for brands.
Instagram + Hootsuite
The social media management tool, Hootsuite announced on Tuesday the integration of Instagram into its dashboard. Although other tools have enabled users to monitor and comment on Instagram posts, this is the closest users have ever gotten to scheduling content on the channel.
Instagram’s developer T&Cs don’t actually allow for uploading via an API, so we can’t currently, reallyschedule content. Even though it can’t fully automate posting, what Hootsuite has done is push out notifications to users at the scheduled times, leading them directly to a posting page – the next best thing.
What does this mean for us? Well until now, the common challenge for social teams was figuring out an effective way to utilise a channel that has historically not been suited to collaborative management.
There were a lot of questions: “who would take the pictures?”, “how will the approval process look”, “who’s going to be live posting?”… Pair this new function with the other management features in the tool such as team workflows and shared access to the account, and Instagram is now pretty much as manageable as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Instagram’s Ads API
Perhaps what’s even more exciting is Instagram announcing that it has switched on its advertising application programming interface (API). This means social marketers can now buy Instagram ads and plan accordingly alongside other social channels. Still not convinced that Instagram is a social media powerhouse? Take a look at the milestones and just how quickly the platform is growing and evolving:
- December 2010: Instagram’s first post
- April 2012: Facebook acquisition
- December 2012: New version brings in 25 new languages
- June 2013: Launch of Instagram videos
- September 2013: 150 million followers (achieved in half the time it took Twitter!)
- November 2013: First sponsored Instagram post. It’s reported that Michael Kors gained 33,000 new followers in the 18 hours after posting
- December 2014: 300 million followers (600% growth since its acquisition)
- March 2015: Launch of carousel ads
- June 2015: API testing and launch of ‘Shop Now’ button
- August 2015: Switched on ads API
All this in just five years, and analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently predicted Instagram’s ad revenues could reach near $1 billion in 2017, and as much as $3.86 billion by 2020!