Given its rapid growth and continued high user engagement, Instagram has long been eyed by marketers as a prime opportunity to reach new audiences. This year, the company finally rolled out its carousel advertising platform and more recently, it added a new ad application programme interface (API), which enables marketers to connect to Instagram and trade ads programmatically. Bringing mobile-only right to the forefront, how successful are Instagram ads for brand engagement really?
eMarketer predicts that Instagram ad revenues will reach $600m this year and $2.81bn in 2017. (Source: eMarketer)
A study by Shareablee, cited by AdAge, found that Instagram was the biggest driver of branded content, doubling consumer action from 2014 to 2015. Despite more posts from Facebook and Twitter, consumer action per brand was 21% greater on Instagram at 1.9m actions. (Source: AdAge)
But this may not be news to some. Last year, Forrester Research showed how top brands generate per-follower engagement rates of up to 4.21% on Instagram. As an example, a Red Bull snowboarding video received 2,600 likes on the brand’s Facebook from its 46m followers, compared to 36,000 likes from its 1.2m Instagram followers. (Source: Forrester Research)
Comparing Twitter and Instagram more closely, Socialbakers discovered that engagement across the top 25 brands was 50x higher on Instagram than on Twitter. This is due to Instagram offering greater social engagement opportunities for brands within closer communities of consumers. (Source: Socialbakers)
When it comes to sector, fashion and beauty brands are experiencing the highest engagement rates. Engagement was up 77% among the top 67 fashion brands on social media with a frequency of 10 posts per week. Instagram resulted in much higher consumer interaction than Facebook or Twitter. (Source: L2)
One of the reasons why larger brands are flocking to Instagram from Facebook is that the bigger a brand becomes, the harder it gets to reach an audience. L2 found that brands with 500,000+ followers are seeing negative results on Facebook. However, predominant use of Instagram by larger brands may also be due to the high cost associated with advertising on the popular imaging platform. (Source: L2)
It is obvious that Instagram is leading the social media race for highest user engagement. Combining ad campaigns with influencer marketing may be a winning Instagram campaign strategy. However, marketers should ensure they tell their stories authentically to drive consumer conversion, as the Instagram community is skilled at detecting the fakes.