I unashamedly love Instagram. I did fall out of love with it for a grand total of 4 days during the whole Terms of Service debacle, but if you can’t get worked up into a social media frenzy every now and then…
That aside, I use it a lot. I no doubt bore people with pictures of my son and countless things I find amusing that others probably don’t. But it’s fun. Fun to use, and even fun to take the piss out of.
A lot has been written about Facebook’s purchase of Instagram. It angered many, and the launch of web profiles has perhaps removed some of what I found really appealing about the uniquely mobile element of the whole thing.
I read an article today, entitled “Is Instagram Facebook’s Saviour?” and it got me thinking about how brands approach the network.
The piece gives some really interesting stats (McKayla “#notimpressed” Maroney has almost 560,000 followers on Instagram. Her Facebook page only has 206,457 likes) and engagement comparisons (Maroney posted a selfie on St. Patrick’s Day that received 36,375 likes on Instagram. Her Facebook fan page only received 7,700 total engagements for the week) that show just how popular Instagram is. A discussion about whether a person is a brand can be had later…
It made me wonder. What’s worth more – engagement on Facebook or engagement on Instagram?
At the moment, Facebook obviously wins hands down, even though in a few examples, numbers are be smaller. On Facebook, an act of engagement (potentially) shares that content with your friends. Links. Videos. Photos. Blogs. All containing arguably more detail than just one photo on Instagram.
On Instagram, how many people actually look to see what photos their friends have liked? It’s certainly not a feature of the app that I ever use, so the whole “you’re more likely to engage with something your friends engage with” theory may fall a bit flat here. In my mind, Instagram doesn’t have that same reach, so a brand is perhaps missing out on the “friends of friends” marketing that makes Facebook so powerful as a tool. Admittedly, this could just be down to how I use the service – looking at how people we follow from the work account use Instagram, it’s a whole different world.
Our work account is followed by a lot of younger users compared to our other social networks. If reports are true – younger users are leaving Facebook in droves and adopting Instagram – this presents another challenge to marketers. A network with a lower average age of users is going to be harder to get a decent ROI from.
Another thing that doesn’t currently happen on Instagram is you can’t click on links. I imagine this will change in the near future, and will certainly be a huge help in driving audiences to where you want them – so a huge plus for brands and spammers alike.
The challenge of monetising Instagram is a big one. Clickable links, promoted photos, forcing photos your friends have liked into your timeline – all options that will more than likely happen in future. And will it impact on the number of Instagram’s users? Not really.
The Social Media Today article finishes by saying audiences have just shifted from one Facebook platform to another. Even though people are still using a Facebook service, it’s one that is completely different and elicits new behaviours from users. This is something that will be addressed sooner rather than later whether users like it or not.