6 Ways Brands Can Find Instagram Success

86 percent of the top 100 brands now actively post on Instagram.

By Patrick Hong

Social

A study of brand activity on mobile photo-sharing platform Instagram by Simply Measured has revealed that there has been a 71 percent increase in the number of brands active on the platform since last year.

Eighty-six percent of the top global brands (as ranked by Interbrand) now have Instagram accounts, with marketers looking to reach some 200 million monthly active users on the site, according to the study.

Especially for brands with a highly visual, or luxury product, Instagram provides a powerful platform for brands to entice, engage, and reach consumers.

Approximately 60 million photos posted each day, with 1.6 billion like interactions, and the evidence is there that consumers are ready to engage with branded content. However, brands have lot to do to distinguish themselves from the sheer amount of images and videos being posted on the platform. Success requires a genuine understanding of the way consumers use and interact with the platform.

The study analyzes the Instagram activity of the top brands in the world, and provides valuable insights into how the best are using Instagram to build brand equity, engage audiences, and promote their products.

9 Instagram Marketing Insights

Here are nine key takeaways from Simply Measured’s Instagram study:

1. The Majority Of Brands Have Realized The Value Of Instagram

Brand activity on Instagram is growing at a considerable rate, with many devoting a dedicated resource to the production of content. Active brands (i.e., those who posted at least once in Q3 2014) have doubled since Q3 2012. In addition, 73 percent of brands post at least one image or video per week, and many brands are discovering successful ways to grow their audiences.

2. Daily Posting Is The Norm

The number of brands posting at least once a day has tripled in 2014. Daily posting is becoming a standard for brands on the platform, and the trend signals that brands are learning how to operate on Instagram with a measured approach, developing effective tactics that bring value to their businesses.

3. Active Brands Drive The Most Engagement

All indications show that consumers are ready to engage with brands on Instagram, and in fact, engagement with branded posts is growing faster than new brands are joining the network.

It shows that the opportunity is ripe for brands to invest in the platform, as audience and levels of engagement continue to grow.

4. Average Engagement Per Post Is Growing Fast.

The average engagement per post has grown an incredible 416 percent since Q3 2012. In addition, the top brands operating on the platform have multiplied average post engagement by almost five times across 2014. It indicates strong growth in levels of engagement on the platform, greater even than the growth in the number of overall users, and that is good news for brands who have the opportunity now to potentially achieve good results with just a single post.

5. Engagement Happens Fast

On average, posts by top brands on Instagram will get 216 comments, however 50 percent of these comments will be posted within 6 hours, and a massive 75 percent of comments will be posted in the first 48 hours. High-performing posts with more than 400 comments peak slightly later, taking approximately 13 hours to receive 50 percent of the overall comments.

6. Best Practice Varies By Vertical

How brands should approach their strategy for Instagram largely depends on vertical. The media for example experiences significantly higher levels of engagement than average, with 23,906 engagements per post, and 5,084 additional likes and comments over other industries. This means media brands can be significantly more active on the channel having the benefit of a much more receptive audience.

Other industries such as the automotive industry has the highest number of active top brands on Instagram at 13, and the luxury segment of Interbrand’s Top 100 list has a 100 percent Instagram adoption record, with all seven high-end goods brands active on the network.

This week, we’re celebrating big data #railfan style. #GE’s Trip Optimizer software automatically controls a #locomotive’s throttle, helping to minimize fuel use and keep trains on schedule, and hopefully making train spotting just that much better. Click the link in our bio this morning to watch a live stream from our Minds + Machines conference about how the #IndustrialInternet is revolutionizing industry.

A photo posted by GE (@generalelectric) on

Especially for brands with visceral, visually-appealing products and strong brand identity, Instagram remains a powerful platform to raise awareness and build brand equity.

7. Compelling Captions Support Compelling Images

The study revealed that the average caption among top brands was 138 characters. In addition, captions that included an additional user handle in the caption netted 56 percent more engagement. However, it’s important for brands to use @mentions in an authentic and relevant way, so as not to undermine the value of the tag for users.

Who’s counting? #sharpienewyear #yearofthemaker A photo posted by @sharpie on

8. Hashtags Fuel Discovery

A massive 88 percent of brand posts included at least one hashtag, with 91 percent of posts having seven or fewer hashtags. Using hashtags well represents an important tactic for brands, with posts fielding at least one hashtag winning 12.6 percent more engagement.

Above all hashtags fuel discovery on the platform, allowing brands to create new avenues to niche groups and topics which they can target. It provides audiences with an organic way to discover branded content through areas of interest they may be searching and interacting with.

9. Location Tagging Positively Impacts Engagement

Posts tagged with a location received a whopping 79 percent higher engagement. However, incidences of location tagging amongst top brands was much rarer in than hashtag usage. When applicable, the practice does pay off, with brands using location tagging averaging 29 percent higher in levels of engagement.

How Can Brand Become #Instamazing?

As covered by Lisa Lacy, brands such as Mercedes are now using Instagram to launch highly creative, innovative campaigns. The platform itself has proactively taken steps to enable brands to engage is great brand storytelling, with a paid advertising network, and channel analytics being rolled out to enterprise partners.

There is considerable momentum in the digital marketing industry for brands using to be active on Instagram as part of their overall marketing strategies. It’s important for brands to adapt to the medium, and understand the way consumers are using and behaving on the platform so as to maintain a sustained, positive return for investment on the channel.

6 Key Takeaways For Brands Looking To Succeed On Instagram

Simply Measured concluded their report with six best practices for brands:

  1. Maintain a balanced posting cadence. Daily posting is becoming the norm for most top brands.
  2. Optimize your captions with the correct length and @mentions.
  3. Test location tagging for a possible boost in engagement.
  4. Use hashtags to raise awareness among target audiences.
  5. Mention influential and relevant users in captions to leverage new audiences.
  6. Develop a practical and sophisticated measurement strategy.

You can download Simply Measured’s full Q3 2014 Instagram Study here.

What are your top tips for brands on Instagram. Comment, or tweet us @momentologyNews.

Patrick Hong

Patrick Hong
Pat is one of the founding writers of Momentology. He is passionate about storytelling, technology, and the future of digital marketing. He likes banoffee pie (with a dollop of marmalade), spiders (just give them a chance), and stories of the impending zombie apocalypse (get ready). He dislikes shopping and dental appointments...

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