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The State of Instagram Marketing is Strong

Katie Powers

cell phone on instagram app

One survey analyzes current brand engagement with the platform and forecasts opportunities for future usage

Digital marketers are excited about Instagram, according to a recent report from Social Media Today. “The Present and Future Opportunities of Instagram for Marketing,” created in partnership with SEMrush, offers insights into current business use and brand engagement on the platform and predictions on what usage will look like in the future.

According to the report, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, currently hosts more than 1 billion active users and has consistently expanded its features to include more opportunities for video, creative content and direct messaging. But Instagram has also sought to introduce more tools for business and e-commerce, making it an increasingly viable digital marketing tool.

So far, this plan seems to be paying off: Of the 854 digital marketers surveyed, more than 90% reported that they currently use Instagram in their strategies. Fifty percent of participants reported working for a B2C organization, while 36% are employed by a B2B company. The remaining respondents categorized their company type as “other.”

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The data highlights the rise of Instagram Stories, which sees 500 million active users a day. Eighty percent of respondents reported that they use the feature as part of their marketing efforts, a strategy that is crucial to platform success.

Photo courtesy of Buffer

“While some businesses may not think it’s relevant to their particular audience, and they may not feel like their brand has anything to create Stories about, the feature is becoming a key platform within itself,” say the authors of the report.

Instagram Live, another opportunity for video content, isn’t as popular with brands—only 10% of respondents reported it as part of their marketing strategies. But according to the success of live streaming on Facebook, the feature could suggest “a significant opportunity” for Instagram marketers to use it going forward.

Despite the new opportunities to share video content, 64% of participants claim that still-image posts have produced the best results for their business. The report maintains that brands must approach Instagram marketing with an “integrated approach” that includes stories and still content if they want to achieve successful results on the platform.

Marketers also acknowledge the importance of Instagram as it relates to a broader digital strategy. The report states that most respondents see it as having “significant marketing value”: nearly 72% of respondents reported that it is “very likely” that Instagram will become a key marketing channel in the future. The report attributes this to increasing usage and upcoming platform additions such as shopping tags and on-platform marketing. Seventy-seven percent reported that they plan to use it more in the future.

But digital marketers aren’t sold on Instagram’s native analytics tools that offer information about a follower’s location, gender and the time at which they are most active. Forty-four percent of participants responded that they are only “somewhat” useful, suggesting that marketers are interested in consulting a broader set of data, which is available via various third-party tools.

“The most requested addition for Instagram analytics was the expansion of the data period to enable more in-depth trend tracking,” say the authors of the report.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Katie Powers is editorial content intern at the American Marketing Association.