If you're reading this, you might be interested in learning more about Instagram Marketing and how it can work for you. It seems like such a mixture of different cultures and options that everything is hard to keep track of, and it's hard to know where the platform is or where it might be headed.
And sure, the idea of the "Instagram influencer" might be something of a joke to many people, and for fair reasons. However, there is a truth that social media marketing is vital, and Instagram is one of the largest platforms currently used. People gain influence and prestige on the platform, and leveraging that is important for online marketing and making a brand stand out more.
Yet Instagram is also a growing platform that's still evolving, and there is a sense that it still has room to grow in all directions. This growth means plenty of opportunities, and people must pay close attention to reap the benefits.
The business will improve significantly if you and your organization can take advantage of hundreds of millions of people who use Instagram daily. To that end, here are some statistics about the platform that you as a marketer need to know:
The Size and Scope of Instagram
Instagram, despite being huge, is still growing. More people, in general, are getting smartphones, going online, and trying out social media. This leads to more app downloads and more potential content creators on the platform. What does it mean for you? It means that Instagram is still a growing prospect, and there are still people whose attention you can more easily capture. You need to find your audience, of course, and make sure that you keep up efforts and content to engage with them, but you should look to see what new users are interested in and what might be a good match for their needs. Is it what your company has to offer? Are your efforts keeping the following in mind?
- You might be surprised to hear that as of December of 2021, Instagram had about 2 billion users. It can be hard to determine an exact userbase at this scale, and the pandemic seems to have created a gap in the data for years prior, but the number of users on the platform (if not always active ones) seems to match this. The platform had about 1 billion users in 2018, showing significant growth.
- These users lead us to an interesting question for marketers and the platform: where does Instagram go from here? Market saturation of the entire planet seems like an absurd concept for nearly any product, service, or company, but Instagram is closing in. If a country allows Instagram and a population has access to the internet, they probably have at least heard about it. This means that the way for Instagram to grow is to have people use it more or convince more people who know about it to sign up (an increasingly difficult task).
- Speaking of time, it is estimated that people spend on average 30 minutes a day on the platform. That's quite a bit of time on a single app, and note that some people will spend practically all day on it or at least constantly check it. Social media addiction has become a problem for many, and people are calling for some regulation, and others are calling for awareness. In any case, if the goal is to keep people engaged, Instagram is doing something right.
- In both mobile and website rankings, Instagram dominates. Instagram is one of the most searched for terms on Google and the 7th most visited website worldwide. While the exact ranking might vary a bit depending on the year or month, it's hard to imagine it getting knocked out of contention for one of the top 10 or 15 platforms in the world, given the number of users it has.
- In terms of the app, it is the second most downloaded app in the world, only beat out by TikTok in the Fall of last year (which is on a meteoric rise that might not be fully representative of its lasting appeal). This showcases its massive popularity and worldwide appeal (more on this later).
- However, something interesting about the usage habits of Instagram users is that they rarely only use Instagram. Only one percent of users have Instagram as their only social media network. Something is missing from the platform that people feel the need to be able to contact others or take in information from another source. Given how image-focused it is and how many features might be considered missing if compared to something like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, this is reasonable. As a marketer, it can be helpful to understand this, know that you can reach Instagram users in other ways, and realize the limitations of Instagram.
Additional User Statistics
After moving from some of the basics, how are people using the platform, and what more can we find out about Instagram?
- As we mentioned, Instagram is the seventh most visited website worldwide. Compare that to the other top websites, and you will see it is in good company. Instagram will never match the likes of Google, and platforms such as Facebook are also out of reach. However, given that Facebook owns Instagram, it matters little in the long run to either platform. It's not trying to be Google and could never hope to be it without losing its identity as a platform. It's reached the full height of what it was designed to be and is still growing in some respects.
- Out of social networks and platforms, Instagram is the fourth most used. This means you can find it worldwide, used by people of all ages and regularly. That is a constant audience you could be reaching, and there is also the specific audience of your business that you could be reaching.
- More specifically, 1.22 billion people use Instagram actively every month. It might not reach the activity heights of Facebook and YouTube, but YouTube is an entirely different thing that doesn't encourage interaction, and people use Facebook much differently.
- Going deeper into regular usage patterns, about 58 percent of U.S. adults use Instagram daily. This is a platform unlike something like LinkedIn, where people generally go on it as they need to. People go on Instagram looking for something, so create the something they look for.
- People usually have more than an Instagram account. You, as a marketer, can look at this in several ways. It means you may not want to make Instagram the only site you focus on. This is recommended, given how quickly a social media platform can rise and fall. However, it also means that capturing users' interest on Instagram and creating something viral can more easily spread to other platforms.
- For example, only one in ten people get their news from Instagram.
- Oddly enough, some people, such as 14 percent of United States adults, still have never heard of Instagram. The same could be said of nearly every brand, but Instagram might not get the same mainstream media attention as Twitter or Facebook in the United States. The platform is less politicized and often more its own thing.
As you know, finding the right demographics and understanding the demographics of a platform is key to using it properly. And given that everyone is on the platform, it might not be readily apparent who to target or what to use Instagram for. Therefore, look at the following and see what you can do to make things easier for your marketing efforts.
- However, young people still use Facebook and Snapchat heavily and beyond Instagram's numbers. While investment into Instagram marketing efforts toward the young would-be worthwhile, don't do so at the expense of everything else.
- Depending on the country, look at the market saturation instead of the total number of users. Places such as Guam, Iceland, and Kazakhstan have more than 75 percent of the population using the app. There might not be a better way to reach the whole country than on Instagram (or at least in an affordable way).
- There is a split between male and female users, but it is an even one. They might be interested in different things on the platform, but both use it equally (with the slightest advantage for males). There are currently no stats on non-binary users, but rest assured, plenty are on the platform.
- While there is an overall even split between genders, age groups have a bit of a different story. Gen X males are getting on the platform much more readily than Gen X females. There will likely be some catching up, but these slight differences can mean a lot to your marketing efforts if you have a product to target.
- Out of Gen Z, Instagram is used the most. More people use it than TikTok, which seems to be all the rage lately. Instagram has staying power, and it will be on the phones and browsers of users for a long time. Gen Z users almost seem to be the driving force of the content on Instagram.
- This is long-term, but as younger users grow up, they might age up to a point where your products are more appealing if they aren't already.
- Interestingly, about five percent of children under the age of 11 use Instagram. While there is a restriction against people under 13 using the platform (among many others), this doesn't necessarily stop them. You probably cannot (and should not) use this as a marketer, but understand that people of all ages are on the platform.
- There is also little difference between Instagram usage and education levels. About 33 percent of people with a high school education use it, and 43 percent with a university degree use it. This is not as great a difference as with other platforms, though you still may want to take note.
- Instagram is global. India is the fastest-growing market in terms of a country, with several hundred million users in total and growing. This makes it the most significant if the Indian market is relevant to your marketing efforts. Even if not, you might be interested in how your Indian contemporaries use the platform to create as large an audience as possible.
- Interestingly, China does not have much of an Instagram following compared to other social media networks. This could be because of the prevalence of other networks, and it could be because of the restrictions that China places on internet companies and the like.
Marketing Notes and Statistics
When it comes to marketing, you need to follow the stats instead of just your instincts. Instagram is too big to keep track of on your own, and you may need to focus on your key demographics and highest performing posts. Half of it is science, but the other half is the art of knowing your intended audience and getting them to engage on Instagram or through buying your products or services.
So what content might work best for marketers? While pictures and image-based content are what Instagram is known for, 91 percent of Instagram users also watch videos regularly through stories. To truly engage with your intended audience, high-effort video content might be necessary on Instagram.
While some types of engagement are not the greatest for brands and information, that certainly doesn't mean there isn't a place for brands and marketing on Instagram. Brand stories are completed 86 percent of the time. More than 56 percent of users are more likely to interact with a brand or consider buying a product after viewing a brand's Instagram stories. The key will be bringing in eyeballs first and then making sure that people engage with your brand outside the platform (if necessary).
Additionally, 90 percent of Instagram users will follow one business or more on their accounts. It could be a local business, a massive national chain, or somewhere in-between. Whatever the case, people show they're interested in Instagram.
And while you might worry that people might not be interested in finding new things on Instagram, this is anything but the case. About 50 percent of people have used Instagram to find something new.
Instagram and Its Algorithm
All social media today is driven by algorithms on some level. There isn't enough talent or people in the world to manually curate a feed for everyone. So how does Instagram decide what it wants people to see and in what order, and what has that algorithm affected? Influencers and people trying to get a little more recognition live and die on the platform by it, and there is a bit more. We recommend that you try to understand the algorithm best and consider your marketing campaign efforts in that context.
While the algorithm itself isn't available, and working with it is not an exact science, we do know the following impacts on what a given user sees on their feed:
- Recent posts get far, far more weight than newer posts. While you can and should put effort into your posts, going more than a few days without posting will mean that few people will see what you have to share. Users who log in irregularly will see the best of their feed, but overall regular posts are necessary to succeed on Instagram.
- It was noted in recent support that the most successful brands post an Instagram story 17 times per month, which is a tiny bit over a story every other day.
- How relevant the content is to previously shown interests. You cannot control a user's interests, but you can try to understand your audience better and tailor your marketing efforts to those interests. Don't go too far off into left field, but experimentation might yield results. Are users of your product commonly interested in something else? Use that.
- Hashtags are vital for discoverability on the platform, even for people who might not think they use them. In a sea of content, they are one of the anchors, and that's why you might occasionally see that post with dozens of hashtags listed in the description. It might seem like a bit much, but it might be what's necessary.
- Note that there are several different "feeds" for users in a sense. There is the Explore tab, Instagram Stories, and the general image feed. Each might weigh things a little differently, and your efforts should keep all in mind when it comes to reaching out to people.
- However, standard posts will reach more users than stories. Try and gain new followers with posts, and then use stories to better engage with existing followers and customers.
- The algorithm changes as all algorithms do for the tech giants. What works one day might not work a few months from then. Drastic changes are unlikely without notice, but keep an eye on the news and the platform itself.
Using All of This Information
While all this information is interesting, what you as a marketer will benefit from is how it gets put to use. What can you do? We talked about this a little bit, but here's a summary of ideas you can start from:
- Before anything else, you need to find your audience and demographic on Instagram. It is clear that you are not going to reach everyone on the platform, nor should you. If you are planning on reaching more than 2 billion people with your marketing efforts, you need an insanely large team, the resources of a top corporation, and more help and strategy than this article can give you. Focus on the groups that interact with your posts and products most.
- There are plenty of ways to interact with Instagram itself and its users. Marketing is about best using one's resources, so discovering what methods of marketing on the platform and which ads should be used are most important—going more into personal statistics and the metrics for your page in particular.
- Instagram isn't a platform that works in a vacuum. Understanding that there is a broader ecosystem at play and that Instagram users can and will use other platforms and sites is vital. You may want to consider how to get users on your site and what else people use on top of Instagram that you can take advantage of.
- The algorithm and how the site works constantly change, and there is no surefire way of predicting what changes might come next. You can speculate and make reasonable preparations, but after a certain point, spending time and resources on what will work now and in the immediate future makes more sense.
Internet marketing can be challenging at best, and finding the right strategy can take months, if not years, of research time you probably don't have. We hope the statistics above have placed you on the right path regarding your marketing strategy and goals for the next couple of years. Keep at it, and remember that you probably won't see results on Instagram immediately. You will, however, grow your audience on the platform over time and get more sales as a result.