Reap While It Still Grows: Advertising on the Developing Instagram Network

Why #1. It still has prospects of growth. A couple of last years in the media of social media marketers were full of one and the same advice: penetrate Instagram promotion market and find your niche. This mobile app which relies exclusively on pictures and short videos, is growing actively, and its audience beats any other community of network users by their engagement rates. The reason is valid enough to start campaigning, yet if it is not convincing enough, here a lot more.

Instagram has accumulated more than 200 million active users already at the beginning of 2014, and it happened only in 3 and half years of the platform foundation. Twitter and Facebook needed the double time to reach at least similar results. Only Google+ has beaten this achievement and it happened mostly because users of YouTube suddenly found themselves happy owners of Google+ accounts, frequently without any wish or intention on their part. So is does not count, as kids say. While it is growing and the audience of potential customers expands, and Instagram does everything to impress users with innovative features, be sure to reserve for yourself a segment of this audience for your business purposes. Active users may well become active purchasers, that’s true.

Why #2. Hundreds of great apps for picture editing and related activities.

The platform working primarily on mobile devices has its specific features. Namely, it has attracted hordes of developers who devised lots of very useful apps which allow various pictures manipulations right on your phone, and it is not about pictures editing only. During 4 years of the platform functioning there have appeared tool for search and integration, apps for scheduling and interface alterations, apps for collecting and processing web analytics and many more. These tools aim to make using Instagram on mobile devices as convenient as possible, and judging by results, they have succeeded.

Why #3. Instagram loves people who love Instagram, and businessmen are not a exception.

Instagram never pushes away people who want to engage a portion of its audience, as long as engagement takes place within Instagram itself. The platform is open to marketers as long as they operate within the rules set by Instagram (and these rules are similar to basic rules of every platform) and provides the marketing people with every tool necessary to measure level of engagement, views, visits, get analytics, etc. and even runs a topical blog. Instagram cannot be used on PC, yet it can be fixed through certain workaround methods.

Why #4. Engagement of Instagram users is actually hard to believe.

We are used to believing in dry figures. So here are some data just to give you the impression of how active Instagram users are. Service Forrester kindly provided us with numbers for average engagement showed by users of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Engagement is actions taken within the service, like commenting, liking, following hashtag trends etc. So, on Facebook only 7 out of 10,000 were engaged with the service (.07%), on Twitter only 3 out of 10,000 (.03%), but on Instagram 421 users of 10,000 were ready to interact actively with the service (4.21%). Impressive results.

When Red Bull was promoting its short video on Instagram and Facebook, the data were also striking. Out of 43 million Facebook users only 2,600 liked it, and on Instagram, 36,000 likes were collected among 1.2 million users. Correspondingly, it is .006% vs. 3% engagement. Need more math?

Why #5. Instagram gives your business a human face

Running promotional campaigns in social networks aims both at reaching out to larger audience and showing people that you are humans and can interact with others just on the par and not through the lens of targeted ads. Facebook and Twitter polished the advertising tools up to perfection, yet today this advertising looks as soulless as a promo ad on TV, although social networks are about getting closer and reaching to individual people rather than to crowds. Instagram did not reach this level of dehumanization, and you can demonstrate here the human casual face of an otherwise reserved glossy company. Instagram audience is comparatively small, it still feels like a ‘graduates reunited’ community, and no group of the Board of Directors type will succeed here. Show your ‘company backstage’ moments, ordinary people in ordinary settings, and Instagram users will be here to interact.

Why #6. Instagram is integrated with every available social network.

Instagram is linked either directly or through some apps to almost every social network. Post on Instagram and display it on Facebook, embed Instagram image into your blog, cut your commercial video to 15 seconds length and embed into Instagram. Instagram is everywhere. Literally everywhere.

Why #7. Instagram gives a sense of space through geotagging. Geotagging is good in all senses. Tagging a shop in the district where users live makes this shop look local and homey, for remote users it will look exotic and unusual. So geotag your images and use hashtags related to local geography, it will make people browse more pictures and discuss the familiar places, which is a good way to conversion.

Why #8. Instagram is good for every kind of business.

Advertising on Instagram will allow everyone to succeed in their own niches. Whether it is another Coca Cola promo campaign or a small vendor ad, or a freelance specialist looking for customers, Instagram suits everyone. High level of engagement means that through networking and ‘chain reaction’ the promo images will definitely reach the people who are interested precisely in this service. In this case smaller count of people on Instagram is better, as it means shorter ties and easier way to get to target audience.

Why #9. Visual means are always successful. We assess with our eyes, whether we want it or not, and Instagram has hit the point. Pictures-based network may look childish to some people, others appreciate the opportunities it offers. So start right now and your promo pics from Instagram may end up on the cover of Time or Forbes someday.

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