How Brands Are Generating Engagement On Instagram

Chris CrumSocial Media

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A shockingly low percentage of brands are using Instagram despite its potential for excellent engagement, according to Yesmail study we recently looked at. That will likely change over time, but for the time being, brands have a great deal to gain in a space that is significantly less crowded than Facebook.

Are you utilizing Instagram in your marketing efforts? Let us know in the comments.

Socialbakers has put together a new set of statistics about Instagram engagement. According to the firm, 6% of all Instagram posts were videos in 2014.

"That may not sound like much, but it's a 600% growth rate year-on-year," writes Socialbakers' Alexandria McCulloch. "We took a look at more than 2,000 brand, media, and celebrity profiles and analyzed over 600,000 brand and media posts to get a clear picture of 2014 on Instagram.

Here's a look at average profile interactions on the top 10 most engaging profiles across the celebrity, media, and brand categories.

"According to the data, celebrities received 3× more interactions than the most engaging brands," says McCulloch. "Notice here that the top brands and media are garnering similar levels of interactions. With so much talk about the changes in the News Feed on Facebook, this demonstrates that Instagram is somewhat of an equalizer among other platforms in terms of interactions."

Indeed Facebook's News Feed changes are driving brands to Instagram.

“Facebook’s News Feed algorithm restricts the organic reach of content on the platform, and is particularly punishing for brands with large followings (500k+),” says L2 in its recent Instagram Intelligence Report. In contrast, Instagram communities defy gravity, with no negative correlation between a brand’s follower count and engagement rate.”

Brands’ follower counts grew 26 percent overall last year, according to that.

While video on Instagram may be on the rise, it's still largely a photo sharing service, and photos get the highest volume of interactions at 13% on average, according to Socialbakers.

Have you considered how brands are using Instagram's filters? Believe it or not, most aren't even using them. Take a look at this:

"81% brands’ photos are posted under a normal filter (#nofilter) – which indicates that they're probably already touched-up or altered in another third party program before being uploaded to Instagram," writes McCulloch. "Importantly, it also shows that brands care more about the network than the actual photo-editing capabilities. Brands know their Instagram followers are more interested in beautiful images that tell a story than any filter or shadow alterations."

The research shows the services, alcohol, auto, retail, and beauty industries use filters more often than others, and that brands are only stylizing their videos 10% of the time.

Here's a look at average engagement rate by the length of the text that accompanies a post:

And here's how brands are using hashtags on Instagram:

So why aren't more brands taking advantage of Instagram?

Bob Sybydlo, Director, Market Intelligence and Deliverability at Yesmail tells WebProNews, “Instagram is still a fairly new platform, and is late in the advertising game – the platform introduced sponsored posts just two years ago. It’s possible that before 2013, marketers didn’t view Instagram as a must-have, but rather as a nice to have. As engagement and users increase, I have no doubt that we’ll see more brands adopt the platform.”

More insight from him on the subject here.

Earlier this month, Instagram announced that it's testing a new way for brands to deliver ads on the network with its Carousel ad format.

Just this week, the company launched a new photo collage app called Layout.

If you're a business just looking to get started on Instagram, here are some tips on that.

Why do you think businesses aren't taking more advantage of Instagram? Discuss.

Images via Socialbakers, Instagram

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.