Instagram surpasses Facebook in Social Media Marketing in the Retail Landscape

Daniel Posted On - September 11, 2014

Top social networking platform
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Over the past three years, Instagram has become a top player in the social media market, growing to include more than 150 million monthly users, an annual growth that surpasses both Facebook and Twitter.

Users spend approximately 257 minutes on Instagram a month, with 57% visiting the network once a day and others 35% tapping into the site more than once. The report attributes the ongoing growth of Instagram to consumers’ more favorable responses to images versus standard text. To date, more than 16 billion photos have been shared on Instagram, indicating that consumers are more than willing to share photos of their day-to-day lives with the social universe. Approximately 55 million photos are being uploaded on a daily basis. Over the past three years, Instagram has become a top player in the social media market, growing to include more than 150 million monthly users, an annual growth that surpasses both Facebook and Twitter. To date, more than 16 billion photos have been shared on Instagram, indicating that consumers are more than willing to share photos of their day-to-day lives with the social universe. Approximately 55 million photos are being uploaded on a daily basis.

There are multiple reasons for the higher engagement rate of the users. Instagram currently has fewer marketers active on the network, and the ones that are there post less frequently, which means brands have to compete less to get their followers’ attention. Instagram also does not apply a filter to brand posts — unlike Facebook, which means Instagram shows users every post made, by the brands they follow. Facebook shows only those consumers posts that the social network think will be relevant, typically less than 20% of a brand’s messages. Instagram users are the younger lot than users of other social networks. The median age of Instagram users is 27 compared to Facebook’s 40, and younger users tend to engage more often with brands than older users.

However, if brands and retailers want to take advantage of Instagram, they need to move quickly. The number of active Instagram users—more than 200 million—doubled during the last 13 months, clutter is coming, and Instagram executives have said they are looking at ways to filter brand posts. The social network also signed a deal with ad agency Omnicom Media Group this spring, as it seeks to develop paid ad formats.

Although Instagram is powerful because it allows brands and retailers to offer consumers a detailed and unhidden look at the business, it also enables consumers to share their experiences with products. Brands and retailers can include user-generated photos on their E-Commerce sites to add context to products. Rather than relying on professional photos and models to display apparel and handbags, for example, brands can publish photos of consumers wearing the items. User-generated photos can give consumers a better understanding of how products look in real life. And that helps close the gap between what consumers expect to receive and what they actually receive when they purchase a product online.

The fact that users are shifting from text-based communications to more visual content suggests that brands should use visual content as one of the key pillars of their marketing strategy.

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