Thought Leadership

How Retail Brands Can Best Utilize Instagram

Even though Instagram has become one of the most popular social channels, brand adoption has been lagging.

On Tuesday, we published a press release stating that adoption of Instagram among brands is barely at 23%. While most brands have been slow to embrace the platform, restaurants are leading cross-industry adoption rates with 31% maintaining Instagram presence. Retailers in particular have much to learn from restaurants, and a great deal to gain from embracing the photo-sharing platform. In industries where products and sales rely largely on aesthetic appeal, brands could engage directly with consumers through Instagram’s well-established platform.

According to our Market Intelligence platform, which analyzed over 2000 brands from January 1, 2014 through October 31, 2014 across five social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram), just 23 percent have an Instagram presence. Of the retail brands tracked, less than a quarter have an Instagram profile.

When retailers are further segmented, apparel brands are with the highest adopters of Instagram with 45 percent of them having presence on the platform.

Retailers on Instagram are already growing their followers at an average of 8 percent per month, more than twice the rate of other social platforms. Such growth demonstrates that Instagram users want to engage with brands, and it would be advantageous for other industries to follow apparel’s lead and adopt Instagram. For example, cosmetics and food brands center their marketing efforts on the visual appeal of their products. Employing a channel that similarly uses visuals as the main draw for consumers could significantly enhance a brand’s social media strategy.

The average Instagram user spends 21 minutes per day on the platform, searching, sifting, and enjoying visual content. Instagram’s new carousel ads will help brands directly link customers with purchasing options. These ads, which allow brands to tell stories through sequentially branded images with clickable URLs, will encourage users to immediately engage with the pictures that they like most. Retailers in particular will benefit from Instagram’s popularity, ease of content sharing, editing options, and unique features to amplify consumer reach.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and although a cliché, creating a presence on Instagram in 2015 could earn much more than that for retail brands.

Author Bio

Ivy Shtereva

As a VP of marketing at Yes Marketing, Ivy is responsible for multichannel strategy and implementation across the email, database, web, and direct marketing channels. She is dedicated to improving the quantity and quality of incoming leads through a combination of engaging content, effective communication strategy, and timely follow-up. Ivy is committed to making Yes Marketing the undisputed thought leader in the industry when it comes to executable digital recommendations and has made significant strides to achieving this goal by authoring Yes Marketing's one-of-a-kind quarterly benchmark reports. In her free time, Ivy loves to travel to obscure US destinations to capture the true ‘local taste’ of every state (as long as meat is not involved). She’s an avid Chicago Bears fan and consistently exhibits Bears bias in setting her fantasy football lineups.