Instagram's Explosive Growth Creates Opportunities for Marketers
Big numbers don’t always tell the whole story–especially in social. Except when they do.
This week Instagram announced that they have surpassed 400 million users. For all intents and purposes this makes Instagram the second largest social network on the planet right after its parent company, Facebook.
The cliches about the power of images are well known but it is nevertheless remarkable to see how a social network dedicated exclusively to visual content has exploded in popularity.
It was a little over three years ago when Instagram founder Kevin Systrom sold his startup to Facebook. At that point, the app had only been available on Android devices for a week and had a mere 30 million users.
The truly remarkable thing about Instagram is how it has managed to grow with very little interference (at least publicly) from Facebook. At the time of the sale, many Instagram users were outraged that the app had “sold out”. Other than some very subtle changes Instagram lives as a stand alone app.
The recent switch over to allow native landscape and portrait photos, plus the opening of the advertising platform to all advertisers shows that Instagram is only really starting to hit their stride.
From a storytelling perspective, it’s hard to beat a compelling image or short video–that’s the power of Instagram. It’s tempting to think that your brand doesn’t have anything interesting enough to resonate on Instagram, but latte foam art and pics of feet aren’t the only thing people are searching for. There are communities for anything you can imagine on Instagram, and with the power of the Facebook ad platform it is a tool that many businesses should consider.
Instagram has tremendous reach among highly sought after demographics such as millennials, mobile-users (including valuable iOS users), and allows brands to show some creativity that can have positive long-term impact on consumer loyalty.
Instagram’s biggest accomplishment has its ability to build this massive platform while still staying true to its core values. The app looks and functions as well today as it did before it became the juggernaut it is today. This is perhaps why is continues to succeed, and why it should be a tool in any communicator’s arsenal.