Although it was a late comer with respect to the world of social advertising, Instagram was always going to be an impressive success story for brand ad’s from the very beginning, whether it knew it or not. Just 2 months after its launch in October 2010, it boasted 1 million users. That following has now grown to over 300 million active users each month and 16 billion photos shared every single day. It’s a simple, personal platform that can offer a wealth of benefits to businesses of any size and stature; we have put together a list of reasons why your business should be using Instagram to advertise its offerings.
Visual Is the Way Forward
The very nature of Instagram means that everything about it is image driven, providing the relevant platform with regards to the context of visual advertisements. The more recent video option, or carousel format options means that you have the opportunity to brand yourself through these images, as well as promoting its offerings.
Instagram offers its users the chance to embrace creativity, create intimacy and present the images as a way to tell your brands story, communicating its personality and values. Posting ‘behind the scenes’ type footage of the day to day running of a business enables you to make a personal connection with followers and other users.
Sanjay Aggarwal from Taylor Lloyd Mason explains one reason they chose to use Instagram, “Visual marketing is crucial as we consumers are bombarded with content now on a daily basis. People have a much shorter attention span and many engage better with image, video and sound. We find that customers can relate to our products as we are able to visually show them through Instagram in a much simpler and easy to reach basis. Also consumers can follow our other activity be it food shows, product innovation or just general behind the scenes images that show our personalities.”
Regardless of the industry in which you operate, you now have the opportunity to create and share alluring and captivating images, enticing people to learn more about you.
Social Pantry share their experience, “As a catering business based in London, Instagram is an invaluable tool to us in so many ways. In its simplest form, it helps us keep up-to-date and on trend with the latest food trends that are taking London by storm as well as providing endless inspiration for our team. Our own feed is updated on a daily basis with delicious, mouth-watering images and with a rapidly growing following, it gains us attention, not only from press but prospective clients and has been a powerful sales driver. I like to think of our Instagram account as a visual portfolio that is now recognised as evidence and proof as why customers should choose us. As a company that offers a wide range of services from corporate contract catering to private dining to brunch offerings at our café, Instagram allows us to market all of these services in one platform and reach consumers at different touchpoints throughout their day. In the last month alone, Instagram has helped secure an annual catering contract for a financial firm, a partnership for a ten-day brand experience and a fashion press day for 500. Instagram is also a fantastic recruitment tool for us… after all, every foodie out there has their own account and they’re are normally the perfect candidates to grow our team. We’ve just started using paid ads too, which just means we can reach a much wider audience.“
The Rise of the Smartphone
The way in which people surf the web and access social media platforms has inherently changed. In 2015 Ofcom issued a report that stated smartphones were now the most popular device to access the internet in the UK. The rise of popularity for smartphones and tablets, along with the advancements in 4G means that social media, photos and video content can be accessed more often than when desk top computers and laptops were heavily relied upon. To put it in perspective, 53% of internet users between the ages of 18-29 use Instagram, mobile media consumption rose to 100 million daily active users; even in developing counties such as India sees 72% of website traffic coming from mobile devices.
Marc Defosse from Ribbonfish “People are undoubtedly consuming more visual content than ever before. Photography is key for any business in connecting to their audience, whether it be in video or still format. Increased 3G and 4G connectivity has enabled people to consume richer content on-the-move, and better devices provide an immersive user experience. It’s the perfect mix. Consumers are busier than ever before, and are being bombarded with more online content than ever before. It’s difficult to cut through this, but as we know, a picture is worth a thousand words – it can convey a message in one fell swoop. An image or video is easier to consume, whether it’s for entertainment or education, and this need for quick-fire content has catalysed the growth of platforms like Instagram, Vine, and Periscope. Mobile data coverage and better smartphone cameras have enabled everyone to capture amazing moments, stunning scenery, and important events – in real time. Normal people are suddenly photojournalists, and can be highly creative, too. This boost in consumer creativity has meant businesses need to up their game on the visual front to inspire their audience and build a brand.”
Forrester Research reported in 2014 that Instagram users were 58 times more likely to interact with a post on Instagram than Facebook and 120 time more than on Twitter. This indicate that social media users are moving away from these established platforms, favouring Instagram instead. This should be a green light to brands that their efforts should become focused towards where the masses are spending their online time, utilising Instagram could give you the opportunity to reach a wide, diverse audience.
Unless a user unfollows your account, 100% of the content that you post will be seen by those following you. You are unable to block content from the Instagram feed, meaning that each image you post will appear in every followers feed, as well as having an extended reach in the ‘explore posts’ and ‘followers activity’ tabs.
The Call-to-action buttons on the Instagram Ads option triggers direct engagement. For instance, UK retailer WaistedUK use a ‘Shop Now’ button on their ads to drive traffic directly to their website, rather than relying on a website link in their Bio. Variations of this CTA in other ads include ‘Install Now’ and ‘Subscribe Now’ – these buttons will mean brands can now you to track the transactions from start to finish, meaning that you can establish the ROI.
The targeting that Instagram can offer brands meant that in the early days, being able to advertise with was an exclusive opportunity. Only those brands that had a large existing following were able to embrace the ad platform, however this encouraged those brands who weren’t in the club to create stunning images in a strategy to become noticed.
Due to the affinity between Facebook and Instagram, brands using sponsored advertising on Instagram is coveted by many. Instagram uses Facebooks targeting data, meaning that you can use custom audiences and interest based targeting and demographics.
Including a hashtag in your Instagram strategy enables you to expand your reach and amplify your visual content.
Instagram is fast becoming one of the most powerful social media platforms, offering tremendous potential to brands. It doesn’t discriminate against industry; as long as you can be innovative and creative in your approach it can have a significant impact on your audience reach, brand awareness and profits.