Let’s start it simple.
What is Instagram and why did it grow so famous?
Well, it is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family. Take a picture or video, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post it. Simple!
Launched in 2010, it has a distinctive feature that makes it trendy. As in, it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Polaroid images and Kodak Instamatic. This is in contrast to the 4:3 aspect ratio used typically by mobile inbuilt cameras. Founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Kriege, its ranks 26 on Alexa and had more than 300 million by the end of December 2014. In 2012, it was acquired by Facebook US$1 billion.
So, what are the main features that make Instagram irresistible, especially for the teenage population?
- Rapid user growth as well as high engagement ratio
- Growing demand for social media as well as mobile ads
- Brand advertisers looking at high traction due to high engagement levels
- A trendy visual platform complemented with rollout of video ads. In June 2013, Instagram launched a video platform to compete against its rival Vine. Its 15 second video capability to Vine’s 6 seconds has added to its competitive edge.
- Instagram Direct: It’s a new way to send photo and video messages to friends. It makes it easier to see after sending your photo that who has seen your photo or video, who has liked it and watch your recipients commenting in real time as the conversation builds up. With the use of Hashtags, it has grown even more viral.
- Design: Along with the sharing facilities, Instagram endows consumers with more control over the filters, adding to their creativity. It’s not about merely editing or adding a border to your image anymore. Now you can change the entire texture of your image, create collages, photo reels or additional filters.
- Instagram Analytics programme: Brands can check out their reach and potential by measuring the utility of their Instagram profiles by external sources like Simply Measured. It will help you get real time data on brand performance, engagement, activity, and target audience.
But that’s not the end of it all. Remember, at the end of the day, Instagram is a marketing machine. This became more prominent after Facebook disclosed that ‘Instagram feed is about to be invaded by more ads.’
So now, companies have the upcoming change to purchase ads on Instagram directly as well as through Facebook. But here’s the trick. The ads won’t have the monotonous, irritating and ‘we are simply selling the product’ concept. In fact, Instagram would opt for carousel ads, that show case a series of images to “tell a deeper story’ which connects with the audience. At the same time, consumers can interact with these ads; buy products, downloading the necessary apps or sign up for services directly from Instagram.
Currently, Facebook is using Instagram as a platform for premium magazine-like advert environment, but how would the users react is still a test of time. So, let’s wait and watch.