Instagram is as popular as it is simple to use: one needs to put in virtually no effort for a virtuoso effect. In addition to that, it also has, next to Facebook, the largest user base. That, combined with the instantaneous nature of communication in social media and with the use of messenger apps on mobile phones is the reason why Instagram has been the fastest growing social network in the last 6 years. All of this makes Instagram one of the most powerful advertising platforms.
Engaging is Selling
Instagram’s advertising power has been evolving since 2012, as the popular network keeps adding new features that make the platform so attractive to brands: being able to create authentic shopping experiences and thus increase sales. Through Stories, personalized posts and attractive visuals, companies are able to create highly engaging content. This has resulted in Instagram having the most engaged audience out of all social media sites: four in five users follow at least one brand because unlike in traditional advertising, on Instagram users can opt-in to see advertised content rather than having the ads imposed on them. This has translated into over ⅓ of their users purchasing a product online via Instagram.
A Breakdown of Instagram Users
Tap and Shop
Having added the new shopping features, Instagram now contains almost everything a business needs for successful advertising and sales. The first shopping feature – shoppable tags – was rolled out earlier this year. Businesses can tag up to 5 products in a photo post. Clicking on the shopping tag reveals the price with a link leading to the page where the purchase can be finalized.
Recently, Instagram went all in, adding in-app payment and booking options, as shown below, making it basically unnecessary for a business to even have a webshop as the new feature allows people to store their payment information directly in Instagram, where they can do their shopping but also book a service with a business. All of it without leaving their Instagram profile.
The feature is currently being tested in the US and UK and if it goes global, there may be an increase of sales for businesses on Instagram. This may seem like a good thing, until the fact that these might be due to an increase in impulse buys kicks in. This means businesses will need to be smart about their Instagram content and their campaigns. And the solutions is simple: user-generated content which is always a good way to go. Business-generated content is something people cannot always relate to, as it can be over-technical and product-centric. Also, user-generated content can be highly beneficial for building community and trust. Apart from learning about customers, this method opens up a dialogue so people can interact with a business.
A New Age Online
For businesses, big or small, having an Instagram profile is almost always a good idea. Simplicity, a strong visual component and a high engagement rate make, Instagram is the advertising platform of today. In order to develop a brand online, combined with futuristic e-commerce options, businesses will still have to put in some effort into creating authentic content, but this will build trust as well as brand awareness. Where this will take both the businesses and the new digital generations remains to be seen.