Instagram – The Power of the Social Network in Coming Times
The future of Instagram is of great interest to many people.
It is common to have questions about the power of the social media network and its influence in the days – and years, to be honest – to come.
Will Instagram be a good choice for me to market my up-and-coming brand?
Is my career as an Instagram influencer going to be as successful tomorrow as it is today?
Why Instagram? How is Instagram different from Facebook? Which one should I choose?
What is the point of getting an Instagram?
Will Instagram last forever?
The list of questions, doubts, and concerns can go on – much like time.
And to be entirely honest, no one can say for sure what the future of marketing holds. One can make predictions for the next few years, perhaps, but nothing beyond that is set in stone (pun intended).
But why is that?
For the simple reason that digital media use and trends change quicker than a 2-year-old changes their statements.
Social media today is not what it was yesterday, and not what it will be tomorrow. Nor is social growth.
We explore that in a little more detail with a focus on Instagram in this blog post.
Let’s begin by looking at some underlying information that will help you understand what the future Instagram experience may look like.
The Revolution of Instagram – How It All Started
We all know Instagram as the number ONE photo-sharing app today.
And for good reason.
But how did it actually start off?
When Kevin Systrom first developed the prototype of an app called Burbn, it focused on check-ins, plan-sharing, and photo uploads.
After achieving funding from two venture capitalists and bringing on board Mike Krieger, the duo realized that something was missing from the app – the social element that made sharing easier.
Thus came about Instagram, an Apple app made primarily for sharing photos taken from a mobile phone.
And how quickly did it grow and gain popularity?
See for yourself!
- 25,000 people downloaded and started exploring or using the app on the day it was launched, October 6th, 2010.
- After a mere two months, the platform was actively in use by 1 million users!
- In March 2012, less than a year and half after it had been launched, the app had around 27 million users.
- The next month, when the app was launched for Android phones, the app saw 1 million downloads in what wasn’t even a complete day!
Where are we going with this?
Well, first of all, we want you to understand how well the social network did as soon as it was launched, as well as how it maintained its popularity in the weeks, months and years to follow.
Now that we think about it, “maintained” is anticlimactic and extremely inaccurate to say the least. The platform has consistently shown an upward trajectory when it comes to growth.
Next, we want you to understand where the platform stands today!
Instagram As It Stands Today
Instagram is a platform that is of immense interest to businesses and marketers today.
It celebrates its 10th birthday this year and it has come a long way!
Here are just a few tidbits of information that will explain how:
- The platform currently has around 1 billion active users.
- In 2019, 37% of adults in the US used the photo-sharing app.
- 60% of the app’s users log in to use it every day, 21% use it once a week, and 19% log in less than once a week.
- The average time for which users browse and use the app is 53 minutes – just 5 minutes less than the average time for Facebook!
So…what have we learned until now?
From 25,000 users on the first day to 27 million users in the following year and a half, and 1 billion today – the platform has grown rapidly over the years.
Reasons for Instagram’s Rapid Growth
- Storytelling is at the core of the human experience. From your first ever Instagram post to every single one that follows, you tell your own unique story, just the way you want.
- Similar to telling your own story, Instagram gives you the chance to follow the lives of people you love and admire. These can be friends, family members, celebrities, activists, and influencers to name a few.
- Instagram allows users to build a community that has the same interests as them, in turn making them feel like they fit.
- When it comes to amateur (and mostly cell phone) photography, Instagram is the platform most people choose to show off their skills.
- Brands use Instagram to show off new products, introduce discounts, and engage with consumers in a meaningful way.
- Instagram offer users a single platform where they can discover, research, and buy a product with a few taps!
- It isn’t difficult to use Instagram – anyone, tech savvy or not, can use the app without too much trouble.
So, we’ve established that the growth of Instagram is exponential. But what does this mean for businesses?
Why are marketers so keen on using the platform? And why will they continue to do so in the future?
Let’s find out.
What Does the Popularity of the Future Instagram App Look Like and Why?
A marketer or a brand uses a platform for as long as it benefits them.
And that is precisely why we need to take a look at the perks businesses enjoy when they market on Instagram.
Did you know that 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business on the platform?
Brands recognize the potential of marketing to these folks, even if they haven’t experienced it yet.
Coming back to the point, here are just a few benefits of Instagram for businesses:
You’ve seen the stats about the number of people using the app today.
These are people you can reach if you have an Instagram Business Account (vs. personal) that you use properly.
Platform for the Younger Target Audience
Instagram has a wide variety of users of varying demographics that marketers can target. It is also true, though, that the majority of these users are from younger age groups.
More than half the users on Instagram across the world are below the age of 34, according to Statista.
Which makes it the perfect app for brands looking to target the younger demographic.
Ability to Reach the “Correct” Audience Every Time
As a business operating on Instagram, you pride yourself on having a loyal fanbase of just the customers you want to reach.
But through the use of the genius that is hashtags, you gain the ability to reach people who don’t follow you but are interested in the things you sell.
They search for the relevant hashtags – you get the visibility and, eventually, sales.
Opportunities for International Brands
Instagram isn’t just popular in the US.
The app has millions of users all across the world.
This makes it the perfect platform for brands that want to expand their horizons AND their customer bases – they can reach global audiences.
Perfect Contemporary Platform for Selling
From building their brand image and awareness to introducing users to products through various marketing means, companies can do it all on Instagram.
But that’s not all.
With Instagram Shop, brands can provide complete information to the user about a product, after which they are led to the site where they can make the purchase with one click.
Highly Specific Instagram Ad Targeting
Instagram ads have gained more and more popularity over the years.
The reason advertisers like to use them is that they give you full control over who you target and make sure you reach the right audience based on their demographics, location, interests, and other characteristics.
The things we just mentioned, among many others, are the ultimate dream for marketers and businesses alike. And they are not going to let these perks go any time soon.
So what characteristics do we think will set apart the future Instagram platform?
Future Instagram Strategies: Features Marketers Should Start Exploring
There is no doubt that brands will continue to use Instagram to reach, engage with, and sell to consumers.
These are some practices they are likely to focus on more than others in the future.
1. Selling on the App
Consumers like to have the complete picture (ALL the details) before they make a purchase decision.
They like it even more if a single additional click can take them to a page where they can place their order.
With the immersive storefront experience of Instagram Shopping, consumers can browse through products and make informed buying decisions.
They can then instantly convert these decisions into action.
So while the app is already a top choice for marketing and promotional material, the future will see it gain traction as an e-commerce platform.
The platform is already making efforts to make this a reality.
A few days ago, Instagram started a global test in which they changed the Activity tab to a Shop tab, ensuring single-click access, as opposed to going through the Explore tab.
Once a user enters the Shop tab, they will be able to filter products through category, brands, and so on.
It’s safe to say that we will see Instagram emerge as an interactive and easy-to-use e-commerce space very soon.
2. Promotional Material on IGTV
The advent of the front camera has forced us into a habit of using the vertical camera mode – when we’re taking selfies or making videos.
While all of us have found ourselves telling someone to flip their phone to take a horizontal video in a condescending tone, IGTV, launched two years ago, quickly introduced vertical video as a new normal.
Influencers have found that the vertical video form facilitates content creation such as testimonials (e.g., selfie videos), tutorials (that require a full body to fit into the frame and maintain the viewer’s attention), and other promotional content such as walkthroughs.
It also allows for a more natural feel in the footage, almost making it feel like the user is listening to a friend describe a product, for example.
And the best part?
Vertical video can be shot easily from a phone, meaning brands don’t need to invest in expensive equipment or always get videos made from pros.
So whether it is influencer marketing or other kinds of promotional content, IGTV is the way to go as marketing and advertising trends become more and more personalized.
3. Influencer Marketing
Did you know that 81% of people find information from blogs reliable?
There is also a 71% more chance that someone will make a purchase on the basis of a referral they got on social media.
Which is where influencer marketing comes into the picture – something that Instagram takes the cake in.
Before we move on, what is an Instagram influencer?
Influencers are Instagram users that have a large following, as well as the ability to persuade people to make certain choices because of how these people view them.
They know how to create uniquely creative content for Instagram that is attractive and even glamorous, yet believable and authentic at the same time. And judging by the numbers we just shared, it works!
Brands, of course, leverage this power influencers have over the thought process of their massive fan followings for their own gains (selling their products and services)!
Marketers will likely continue to indulge in influencer marketing in the years to come because of the natural, positive impact on their brands.
4. User-Generated Content
With a rise in the number of people using Instagram, as well as an increase in the popularity of influencer marketing, user-generated content is something brands will leverage now more than ever before.
User-generated content is no rocket science – it can be as simple as a video testimonial by an influencer or a tag in a post.
By using this content, brands achieve three things.
First of all, they gain the benefit of what is the social media equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing. After all, if so many people are using a product or expressing how much they like it, there must be something there, right?
Secondly, brands get ready-made content that is deemed authentic by consumers because it consists of the public’s unbiased opinions and views.
Thirdly, on top of sales, brands build trustworthiness and credibility – their image and reputation witness a boost.
And all of this through very little effort of their own!
5. AR Filters on Instagram Stories
Augmented Reality (AR) is the future of marketing and advertising as we know it.
It has already started to change the world.
Imagine you want to buy a shirt but can’t choose between two options you’ve narrowed it down to.
Wouldn’t life be easier if you could somehow try on the shirts from the comfort of your home and see which one looks better?
With AR filters in Instagram stories, you can!
Brands now have the ability to create interactive AR filters to give users a close-to-real-life experience with their products – all without moving from the couch!
Find out more about Instagram’s AR innovation here and you will understand why we think it is an element that has the potential to revolutionize the platform.
Heck, it has the potential to revolutionize e-commerce in general!
The Future of Instagram – Hit or Miss?
So, where is Instagram headed?
Will future years see it as a platform adapting to emerging trends and fulfilling users’ needs? Or will it fail to remain up to speed and lose its value?
We definitely believe the former. Brands should explore creative ways to market and sell on Instagram because guess what? Their competitors are already doing it. And they likely won’t stop and miss out on opportunities that seem too good to be true.
Which brings us to a very important question:
Do you want to know how to build a brand on Instagram? Are you interested in learning more about how to promote your business on Instagram?
Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll come back with a detailed post on how you can get started!
In the meantime, check out our Instagram marketing services and see if you may need our assistance!