Thought Leadership


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Most Brands are Slow to Embrace Instagram, Restaurants Lead All Industries

Instagram has climbed to the top 3 most popular social channels among consumers

As digital communications become the norm, social channels continue to attract brands and consumers alike. Platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are staples in consumers’ daily digital intake and adoption continues to grow.

In 2012, Facebook acquired photo-sharing app, Instagram for $1 billion. Despite its high selling price, Instagram is not yet particularly popular with brands. We took a look at over 2000 brands tracked in Yesmail Market Intelligence and discovered that Instagram is the least adopted social channel. From January 1, 2014 through October 31, 2014, only 23 percent of tracked marketers had a presence on the photo-sharing platform.

Instagram’s low adoption is surprising considering its high number of users and activity.  It boasts over 300 million users and 70 million photos and videos shared daily, and, if brands are striving for a presence on channels where their consumers engage most, Instagram should be part of their social strategy.

However, with less than a quarter of brands on Instagram, this is not the case. To gain a better perspective of the type of marketers who use Instagram, we grouped them into four categories: restaurants, retailers, hotels and CPGs [consumer packaged goods]. Restaurants are leading the pack with 31.1 percent having an Instagram presence. Hotels are a close second with 30.8 percent Instagram presence. Retailers and CPG brands trail with adoption rates of 23 and 16 percent, respectively.

Although restaurants are most likely to have an Instagram profile, the industry’s 31.1 percent presence in that channel is comparatively low to its 87 percent adoption rate of Facebook and Twitter.

Instagram’s low adoption rate is more curious, too, considering the general popularity of social channels. Facebook’s ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons are seen 22 billion times a day. That’s triple the world’s population. Twitter has 255 million monthly active users, and users watch 6 billion hours of YouTube videos every month.

Where does Instagram fit into a brand’s social presence?
In 2014, brands on Instagram experienced an average of 278 percent growth in followers, the largest of any of the five social platforms tracked. However, Instagram appears to be one of the last social channels that brands add to their strategy. For example, when brands are on three social networks, 12 percent will include Instagram in the lineup. If brands add a fourth channel, the number of brands using Instagram jumps to 37 percent. If five it grows even further, to 47 percent. As a highly visual platform with a large user-base, it’s surprising that more brands are not adopting Instagram earlier.

For brands looking to increase consumer engagement, a well-rounded social presence is vital. A multi-channel social plan can further nuance a brand’s digital reach, and Instagram should be a part of it.

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.