Sunday, April 17, 2016

Importance of Marketing on Instagram

"If the photo is legitimate, it seems to have worked like a charm." 
This was the final comment of a post on the daily beast on the subject of a naked selfie by Kim Kardashian on Instagram. For those living under a rock, on 7th March, Kim Kardashian barely a few weeks after giving birth to her second child posted an innocuous comment "When you're like I have nothing to wear LOL" with a picture that got the internet drooling.

Most stories carried the title "Kim Kardashian’s Nude Selfie Breaks the Internet—Again"

More than an year back, a 30 year old indie mag paper (65% of revenues coming from the magazine itself, and just 13 per cent from digital assets) decided to use the printed mag to create a digital sensation.

Their big idea was to - break the internet.  

Kim Kardashian was booked to be on the front cover in September, 2014. On the day of release each of the Instagram stars released images in a ripple effect and the now iconic image of Kardashian posing with a champagne bottle resting on her bottom, as well as a serious of naked alternatives. 

#BreakTheInternet became an overnight sensation and it sent the internet in to a frenzy. It is estimated that on the day of the release approximately 1% of the entire U.S. traffic went to The company in a span of 12 month has 10 times more traffic and is totally different today.

Instagram today has grown many fold. By Sept, 2015 it had almost 400 million monthly active users. In India alone active users on Instagram more than doubled in a year. According to a statement, almost half of the 100 million users added were from Asia and Europe.

The rapid of growth of users and greater share of time spent on Instagram makes it an option worth considering while creating your marketing plan. It is not just an effective channel for big brands, but can become an effective channel for startups and small businesses.

Already a few small businesses have started marketing on Instagram and early results are positive and indicate a good return on investment.

Marketing on Instagram has several factors making it a lucrative channel

Active Instagram users have high spending power

A study found out that active users on Instagram have relatively higher spending power. Some factors worth taking a look at are
- 37% of Instagram users in India above 18 years of age own a car
- 25% of these active users have a post-paid mobile phone connections.
- 90% of active Instagram users are below the age of 30 years
This makes it an extremely valuable channel. You have a target audience with a relatively high purchasing power. Reaching to an audience with a high purchasing power is extremely valuable for startups, big brands, and small businesses.

Aligned to small businesses and brands

Getting a user on Instagram to follow you can be ideal. More than 50% of Instagram users in India purchase products and services from the brands they follow. This means that for a small business acquiring a followers through relevant content can translate in to revenues. This also makes it important for your brand to have an active engaged audience. The study found out that Indian Instagram users follow brands to know about latest products, deals and shop for products online. An engaged audience on Instagram connected with an online store can not only increase awareness for your brand, but can also translate in to sales. However you need to know that sharing links on Instagram post is not possible. The only way a user can find a link to your store is through your Instagram bio. In case you are running ads on Instagram, you can have a call to action and can directly take users to your store or can get them to download your application.

Clutter (Lack of it)

Advertisers are still adopting Instagram as a channel. New platforms and inventory relatively have lower competition, which means better rates, translating in to better ROI.
Catching up early on Instagram is very important. This is true both for a start-up, small business and a big brands. There are few brands in India including KitKat, Paperboat, and TrulyMadly, who have already started advertising on Instagram. At this point in time there is relatively lower competition as compared to a channel like Facebook. Lower competition would not just lead to lower rates while bidding but would also mean that users see fewer ads. This should translate in to a better ad recall.
According to a report, after advertising on Instagram, Nestlé KitKat, saw a 42 points lift in ad recall. These numbers present a very strong case for marketing on Instagram.

Discoverability of Content

One major advantage of Instagram over Facebook is discoverability of content (and your business). Facebook is a semi-public platform. Posts on Facebook pages don't automatically end up showing on timelines of people who haven't liked your page. Facebook also limits the number of users who see your content. All your fans don't see your content. Instagram is on the lines of Twitter. Hashtags on Instagram allow better discoverability of content.
In case your post is about Indian food and you've added relevant hashtags (#Food, #India #Mumbai etc.) people searching for Food, India or Mumbai can easily discover your content. This means that if you are keen on reaching out to users organically, your content discoverability would be good. For a small business or a startup, marketing on Instagram can prove to be a cost effective option. Do not that Instagram has started restricting posts by users. It is possible that the posts you are making may not reach out to the timelines of all your followers. Facebook started doing this and gradually restricted reach of content to less than 2%. It is important to start early and have an early mover advantage before this kicks in.

About Instagram

Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them either publicly or privately on the app, as well as through a variety of other social networking platforms, such as Facebook & Twitter. Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010. It rapidly gained popularity, with over 100 million active users as of April 2012. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 for approximately US$1 billion.