Instagram is a social media platform originally designed to allow users to share pictures with each other. However, it seeks to be more than that. It is primarily known for promoting aesthetics and lifestyle content. If it can be promoted with an image or video, it can be Instagram content.
Who uses Instagram?
Instagram is estimated to have over 1 billion users worldwide. An estimated 500 million people view post content daily, and a further 500 million view Stories daily. These users can be found all over the globe: 87% of Instagram users are from outside the United States. The countries with the largest number of Instagram users are India, the United States, and Brazil.
Instagram has very good market penetration among young adult consumers. As of 2021, 71% of American adults between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram. Among American teenagers, Instagram is the third most popular social media network behind Snapchat and TikTok. Instagram’s market penetration also skews wealthy, with 60% of American internet users with an income over $100,000 using the platform.
What is Instagram used for?
Instagram has four main types of content: Posts, Stories, IGTV, and Reels.
- Posts are either photo or video content and can be shared with a caption. Each user has a home page that displays a feed of posts made by accounts the user has followed and other posts suggested by Instagram’s algorithms.
- Stories are posts shared on a user’s page that disappear after 24 hours. Stories can be any type of content, but they are designed for users to share moments with their followers.
- Instagram TV is a longer-form type of video content. It is aimed at people who are on Instagram to watch videos.
- Reels are short videos that appear in a feed. They are similar to TikTok but aimed at an older user base.
Note: As of 2022, Instagram is increasing its focus on video over imagery. Algorithms are set to promote video more than photos which suggest successful strategies must include this format!
Posts on Instagram are shared through networks of followers. Users gain followers when other users see and enjoy their content. Instagram has several ways it shows new content to users. First, Instagram suggests content to users on their feeds. These suggestions are made based on content the user has liked before. Second, Instagram uses hashtags to allow users to group posts based on the subject matter or on aesthetics. Hashtags are clickable and take the user to a feed of other posts using the hashtag. Third, Instagram has dedicated spaces that allow users to interact with unfamiliar content called the Explore tab.
How can Instagram be used to market a business?
Businesses are able to post content on Instagram just like regular users. Instagram gives businesses the opportunity to show customers their products and build an overarching brand aesthetic. Using high-quality photographs, posting often, and using the correct hashtags will help a business’s Instagram posts have an impact.
In addition to organic content, Instagram hosts ad content. Ads can appear as posts in user feeds. Just like Facebook and WhatsApp, Instagram is owned by Meta. So, using Meta’s algorithms, Instagram is able to target ads at precise demographics. Instagram also offers ad campaign tracking to help businesses run their campaigns effectively. Another advertising tool on Instagram is influencers. These popular users can promote brands directly to their followers. Finally, businesses can use Instagram Shops to sell on Instagram directly.
In summary, Instagram is a visual social medium with incredible reach and desirable demographics. Businesses can use Instagram to build a brand aesthetic, reach new customers, and stay on the minds of existing customers.
Changes to Instagram in 2022
- Look for an updated Home feed view that will be organised by what the algorithm thinks you’ll be most interested in. It will also include recommendations for accounts you don’t currently follow but might want to.
- The platform is introducing a Favourites view that will show posts from a list of accounts they believe you don’t want to miss seeing content from.
- The Following view will provide a chronological feed of content from accounts you follow – this won’t include recommendations to follow different accounts.
- The introduction of a Take a Break feature for users who want to be reminded to take a break from the app after a set amount of time.
- Increased parental controls will allow parents to have more accessibility to see how much time their child spends in the app and will be able to set limits.
- A new Subscription feature allows influencers and content creators to monetize their efforts. (Get started with the Instagram Affiliate Program.)
Expected Changes to Instagram in 2023
- Reduced focus on shopping – storefronts will still be available on the channel, but the shopping bag icon is being removed from the primary navigation.
- Quiet mode – Enable quiet mode to mute notifications. Instagram will change your profile’s activity status to ‘In quiet mode’ and automatically send an auto-reply when someone DMs you.
- More control over recommended content with the ability to mark posts “not interested” in the Explore window.
- While you can already block words from your DMs and comments, now posts with those words won’t shop up in Explore either. Add a word or list of words, emojis, or hashtags that you want to avoid – which should prove interesting for all those vague hashtags with uses in the multi-millions. Buh-bye #blessed.