Marketing on Instagram Gains Steam with Major Brands

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New research from Simply Measured shows that Instagram has matured into a valuable marketing platform for businesses, with roughly 86 percent of all major brands now managing an Instagram account and 42 percent of the Interbrand 2014 Top 100 Brands boasting more than 100,000 followers.

According to Simply Measured’s “Q4 2014 Instagram Study,” marketing on Instagram has normalized among major brands, and post frequency has increased as companies discovered effective tactics for succeeding on the platform. “The number of brands who post 30–40 times monthly has grown four times since Q3 2013,” the report states, adding “between Q3 2013 and Q4 2014, the number of brands who post more than 10 times per month has grown by 17.”

That activity is garnering valuable engagement, too. In Q4 of 2014, brands drove 130 million total engagements—93 percent of which came from photo interactions.

But Instagram is about more than simply posting photos. Today, brands are using the platform to tell their stories and connect with users in a visual way. And although branded content is relatively new on Instagram compared to similar content on Twitter and Facebook, users have warmed up to its presence in their photo streams. According to Simply Measured, “The average engagement per post grew by 83 percent in Q4 2014 compared to just over one year ago.”

As a result, brands are cashing in big time through Instagram. Consider McDonald’s, which (at the time of this writing) has less than 200 posts on the platform but enjoys a following in excess of 465,000. That doesn’t count the promotional money that McDonald’s uses to reach additional consumers through Instagram. The company utilizes photo-based advertising to display appetizing pictures of menu items, along with bright, cheery, clean photos, which evoke a natural, healthy aesthetic—clearly countering its reputation for serving unhealthy, high-calorie food.

In addition, virtually all the company’s photo content is branded with the McDonald’s logo. Instagram has become so valuable to the company’s marketing department that even Ronald McDonald himself has his own Instagram feed.

McDonald’s is just one example of how brands are using Instagram and photo marketing to tell their stories. This narrative push is a critical component of modern marketing strategy, particularly on social networks, which are designed to craft and build brand narratives. Photos, meanwhile, capitalize on the visual appeal of social content.

As marketing on Instagram becomes a dependable form of consumer engagement, brands that lag behind are missing out.

Written by Jonathan Crowl. To read the full article, click here. For more information on creating your own online brand, website and social media strategy, please visit our website at and follow us everywhere @mydigitalbrand.

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