I read some interest thoughts the other day, extensive research carried out by business intelligence tool L2 revealed that an increasing amount of brands are migrating from Facebook and focusing their attention on the use of Instagram. This surge in migrant users is not limited to brands; Instagram has grown from 100-300 million active users in only the last two years and I myself have noticed it really taking off for some of the clients we work with.  You can follow me on Instagram here.

These new users of the photo-sharing app are apparently young, impressionable, and tech savvy. Studies from a variety of companies including AVG back in 2014 were referenced in eMarketer’s  piece when it mentioned that 44% of 18-29 year olds and 62% 11-16 years olds have used Instagram in the previous month.

Frequency figures show that use of the app is not far behind the mighty Facebook, let’s not forget Facebook owns Instagram. JennsTrends stated:

“57% of Instagram users check their accounts daily compared with 63% of Facebook users.”

But according to the L2 article the key attraction responsible for seducing brands to ‘the gram’ is the platform’s architecture which enables brands to promote their products completely free of charge to their young follower base. When a brand posts content on Instagram it has peace of mind knowing its new content will appear on all of its followers’ feeds – hold the phone did he really say that? Yes many of us remember the glory days before Edgerank, when we would post something on our Facebook pages and the people liking, following or fanning it would actually see each and every post.

Instagram is still in this space (but for how long) and that is why when we use it we see it gets far more engagement than anything on Facebook. Let’s be honest here, if you wanted the same level of exposure it would incur financial charges on Facebook through Facebook advertising – we all know the game is now pay to play and no doubt it will soon be the same game on Instagram.

At Prohibition we use Instagram quite a bit for certain clients if we think it will work, so for wedding clients or fashion clients. We set up our client Suit Direct on Instagram several months ago and in that time it grew to more than 5,500 followers and posts started to receive around 100 likes each. instagram


The latest Statistics show that the Instagram facilitates a huge amount of brand and user engagement, much more than its leading rivals, according to BusinessInsider a photo posted on Instagram generates 120 times more engagement than if posted on twitter and I have to admit I agree with that – Instagram is the platform of choice for engagement in my view. socialbakers-instagram-engage-800x251

This study by Forrester points out the differences in user engagement between social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In the study Red Bull posted a photo of an innovative half pipe on both their accounts, the engagement is varied but Insta kicks it’s ass on engagement by a long way.

The difference in engagement here is significantly in Instagram’s favour Red Bulls’ 43 million Facebook fans liked the video a mere 2,600 times, where as their 1.2 million Instagram followers liked the video more than 36,000 times, I will leave you to do the math on that.

Also its followers are actually purcha113021_1sing products from the brands they engage with. Social media examiner commented:

“Marketers started getting excited about Instagram when the first studies indicated that the audience seemed to use the channel for shopping. Users were sharing product photos with friends, making comments, liking and getting opinions.”

These Instagram users are seeking brand marketing content for shopping inspiration and then sharing their purchases with other users, unconsciously positioning themselves as brand ambassadors for their favourite companies.

So on first viewing it seems the benefits for brands are all here but there are some downsides too, for instance I don’t really see Instagram as a referral platform as its not really a place for links to be placed. I also (my personal view) find it mildly irritating when people place lots of #hashtags in their posts as it feels desperate for likes and visibility – I think Instagram could make it a better platform if they reduced you to just five hashtags to negate this issue. After all it is the platform for discovering amazing people, pictures and new content – let’s keep it that way.

How do you think Instagram could be improved?

About Chris Norton

Chris Norton is the founder of Prohibition and an award winning communications consultant with more than twenty years’ experience. He was a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and has had a varied PR career having worked both in-house and in a number of large consultancies. He is an Integrated PR and social media blogger and writes on a wide variety of blogs across a huge amount of topics from digital marketing, social media marketing right through to technology and crisis management.