2018’s fastest-growing social media platform is Instagram, touting 700 million monthly active users and second only to Facebook among social media platforms. That’s why it's a grave mistake for business owners and marketers to dismiss Instagram’s marketing potential.
Only 44 percent of marketers were using Instagram in 2016, with that number growing to 54 percent in 2017. The 10 percent increase is notable in that it's more significant than any other platform's growth in the same time.
It’s not a surprise Instagram is presently the most popular social media platform among those under 35. Facebook is losing its shine among that demographic, with 2 million people under the age of 25 anticipated to leave Facebook this year.
The departure is a byproduct of Facebook becoming cluttered with divisive politics many do not want to deal with. Since 90 percent of adults in the U.S. now own a cell phone and primarily use them to network with relatives, users are more be wary of using the same social network as their family members.
Meanwhile, Instagram represents a new trend in the social media sphere: a more youthful and open community that emphasizes visual media. On Instagram, you are less likely to find someone spreading political conspiracy theories and more likely to discover cool aesthetics, fun art or humorous videos.
Naturally, the under-35 demographic is particularly appealing to marketers. The demographic is integral in driving what goes viral online, as well as setting trends that can dramatically influence purchasing habits. In fact, 90 percent of adults in the U.S. own a cell phone.
Social media influencers can also play a significant role. Marketers can work alongside highly influential social media figures to promote a product or service, which resonates with the under-35 age group more than traditional advertising.
Strategically, it's worth noting a study from Markerly that finds Instagram influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 followers have an average 2.4 percent “like” rate. Conversely, that number is 1.7 percent for influencers with 1 million to 10 million followers. The study shows focusing on micro-influencers may have more benefit for marketers, instead of targeting massive influencers.
The under-35 group is not the only demographic on Instagram. Generation X, those born between 1961 and 1981, are also flocking to the platform. Although Instagram is ultimately more appealing to younger demographics due to their desire to look at images and videos of trendy topics and essential figures, generation X is finding appeal in Instagram's media-rich approach, as well. It's hard to ignore fads from a younger generation, after all.
In fact, there is an opportunity for marketers to seize upon a demographic that spends more time on social media than their younger counterparts. Members of generation X spend nearly seven hours each week on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — which, on average, is almost 40 minutes more than millennials. So, although generation X may not be the most outspoken users on Instagram, they are undoubtedly active in browsing Instagram content, which is essential for marketers to realize.
In essence, Instagram has value to a variety of demographics and generations, even if they tend to vary in how they use the platform. While millennials may post more frequently, generation X users spend more time on average looking at what others are publishing.
Instagram is rolling out new features that provide additional incentive for marketers to take the social media platform seriously. Specifically, the new IGTV feature gives Instagram users a place to host and watch long-form, vertical video. Although Instagram content typically has an emphasis on conciseness, IGTV provides new avenues for influencers and marketers to seize new audiences.
Influencers on Instagram can expand their content easily with IGTV. A comedian can showcase lengthier jokes. A fashion designer can detail followers on their elaborate creative process. IGTV strives to compete with Facebook Live and YouTube in providing long-form video content.
All these platforms can be lucrative for marketers, though IGTV holds special promise since it is so new and caters to a profitable marketing demographic.