When the same thing happen on Twitter and Pinterest?
Well, 2016 will be the year that this happens on Instagram. The social network is launching paid advertising, working with dozens of major advertising technology companies to improve the API of these paid advertising, and will undoubtedly begin to consider how to make every big and small brand invest in these paid advertising.
If you are a digital marketer, Instagram marketing may have been in your mind for some time. Maybe you even have an Instagram account that you use from time to time. But it is not a major network that receives a lot of attention like Twitter or Facebook. Because, really, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are still the three giants...right? Incorrect.
Engagement, by the Numbers
Are you trying to get retweets and replies on Twitter? When you post on Facebook, did you notice a steady decline in your audience reach?
Well, it may be time to start following Instagram. Instagram’s participation rate is 50 times that of Twitter and 38 times that of Facebook.
Instagram users are also more receptive to branded content. Selfstartr's infographic shows that while 32% of Facebook users interact with the company regularly, 68% of Instagram users do the same.
From the user experience point of view, this makes sense. Facebook is based on connecting friends with friends, but Instagram only focuses on compelling media. As long as the picture or video is interesting, people will like it regardless of the source.
Since Instagram was launched as an app, most interactions have occurred within the app itself. Companies on Instagram can’t drive followers to click on links, so every brand focuses on building great and interesting content.
Anticipating the Shift
Last year, Instagram grew by 60%, with a total of 300 million users and a monthly active user base in the United States of 64 million. This officially makes it bigger than Twitter. And its growth rate is much faster.
When Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, the social media giant basically did not touch Instagram. Moreover, at this point, any brand can still create an Instagram account and build a community there through the right combination of content and promotion.
This is in sharp contrast with Facebook. Since the acquisition in 2012, Instagram's natural coverage rate has increased by 200%. Facebook's natural coverage rate dropped by 60%.
However, don’t be surprised if the organic coverage of Instagram posts starts to decline this year. Some brands are beginning to invest 11,000% in paid Instagram marketing compared to last year (although if the budget was initially in the low triple digits, then 11,000% may not be much).
In order to ensure that these ads get the impression and engagement that makes these investments worthwhile, Facebook may start to curb organic coverage and emphasize paid content in the near future.
So now is the time to start adding your Instagram account and building your community. This means understanding what makes Instagram users follow and engage with content, and how paid advertising will work in the future.