The Rise of Instagram

Published on Dec 17th, 2014

Instagram has seen tremendous growth in 2014 with no signs of slowing down. Not only does the platform boast more than 300 million monthly active users , audience engagement across U.S. brands on the platform is up 136%—the highest growth rate of any social platform this year. Total audience interactions on U.S. brand pages total 13.6B from January to November, up from 5.8B during the same period last year.

What is attributing to Instagram’s rise?

1. Visually Arresting Images

Beautiful, high quality photographs are exactly the kinds of posts that audiences want to see and interact with in their news feed. Case in point: National Geographic has topped our media publisher ranking since we launched it in August 2014, precisely because of the captivating and visually arresting photography the publication is known for. In fact, the media publisher gets 93% of their monthly engagement from Instagram and has 188% more engagement than what the media publishing industry receives, on average, across that platform.



On the retail side, Nordstrom has seen 45% increase in activity since 2013, with Instagram driving the majority of the growth year over year at 105%. Their best performing photos? Shoes!

2. 15 Seconds of Your Time

Immediately after Instagram debuted their video feature on June 20, 2013, engagement took off and social interactions on the platform more than doubled. From January to June 2013, U.S. brands had seen just over 2 billion total actions (post-level likes and comments) on Instagram. After the launch of Instagram video, engagement spiked to more than 4.6 billion actions.

This trend has continued in 2014, with audience interaction on video posts growing by 90% since January. Much of this increase is driven by a significant rise in videos posted by U.S. brands. On Instagram, there were 31% more posts containing video in November 2014 compared with January of this year.

With Instagram’s recent launch of sponsored video ads , it will be interesting to see how engagement on the platform will develop in 2015.

3. Post Frequency

Brands have also been posting more frequently, contributing to their audience engagement growth.

Among Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Instagram claims 30% of all social actions for the automotive industry , compared to 14% last year. US automotive brands posted 63% more on Instagram compared to last year, and grew 178% in terms of social engagement. Mercedes-Benz saw a tremendous 260% growth on the platform since January 2014, driven by a consistent embodiment of #luxury.



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3. Sponsored Advertising

In November 2013, Instagram introduced sponsored ads . The visuals and design of these native ads immediately capture the attention of the viewer and draws them to a brand’s Instagram page.

Brands like Stella Artois are taking advantage of sponsored ads to capture the attention of millennial audiences. Their current holiday campaign , which features high-quality photographs appealing to foodies, has brought in a 67% growth in Instagram engagement even though their post frequency hasn’t changed. Though the campaign just launched in November, five of the posts in the campaign are their highest engaged Instagram posts this year.

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Moving Forward

Given the significant rise of Instagram, brands are still early to the platform. For example, only 11% of financial services brands have Instagram pages, yet Instagram grew 134% this year for that industry . In fact, slightly more than 30% of all socially active brands in the U.S. have an Instagram profile. This indicates a significant opportunity for brands to expand their reach and activate their audiences through this channel.

 

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