The State of Instagram in 2016

Back in October, I wrote that brands should start adjusting their Instagram strategy because of declines in organic growth and engagement on the channel. Now that we have kicked off a new year, I thought it would be a good time to re-evaluate ‘The State of Instagram” with insights and recommendations for brands in 2016.

Channel Updates

Instagram has made a couple of important updates given the direction that the social space and user behavior is headed. Instagram introduced curated video spotlight compilations and improvements in search over the past few months.

Video Spotlight Compilations

Previously just used around holidays, Instagram expanded their curated video content called Spotlight Compilations. These are vertical slideshows of the ‘best’ videos around a specific theme. Right now, Instagram’s community team is creating the themes and sourcing videos to show under those themes. There will be at least 1 Spotlight Compilation each day. There aren’t any current plans to sell video ad units under the themes, but that is likely coming.

Improving Search

Instagram is also in the midst of making search improvements that allows you to see more information, similar to Facebook, about the people you are looking for within the app. When you search for someone you know, it tells you whether they are following you back. If you aren’t currently following the person, it will tell you which of your followers follows them.  The search also highlights users who have a large following, both verified or not.Instagram Search

Key Stats

According to Simply Measured, Instagram was the fastest growing major social network in 2015:InstagramChart

  • 400 million active monthly users
  • 80 million photos posted daily
  • 5 billion photos Liked per day
  • 90% of the world’s top brands use Instagram in part of their social marketing mix

According to research done by Locowise (analyzing 2.5K brand profiles):

  • Profiles posted a daily average of 2.62 posts.
  • 93 percent of posts were photos, and 7 percent were videos.
  • Photos drew an engagement rate of 1.85 percent, while the average engagement rate for videos was 0.9 percent.
  • Overall engagement dropped from 2.8% to 1.76% during April to September

Insights and Recommendations for 2016

  • Utilizing Influencers. With the new search enhancements, this can make it easier for brands to identify users with large followings. Using influencers will introduce your brand to a new audience and also give you content to cross-promote on your channel.
  • Promotions on the platform. Giving fans an extra incentive or fun way to engage with your brand is always a bonus. Scavenger hunts, or simple sweepstakes with a CTA to comment can help drive engagement up on your handle.
  • Bump up your posting cadence. The easiest way to increase your impressions and your engagements is to increase your cadence. It is important to take advantage of this since Instagram has yet to introduce an algorithm for their main feed.
  • Use emojis if it fits your brand. According to Instagram, the amount of posts with emoji characters now exceeds posts without emojis. Emojis are searchable on Instagram which could help increase the discoverability of your content.
  • Key an eye on Instagram ads. I still say proceed with caution when it comes to ads on Instagram. However, keep an eye on performance metrics to evaluate if we should consider testing them to break through the clutter.

Ignite Social Media