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Instagram now claims a user base of over 400 million and higher brand engagement rates than both Facebook and Twitter (Adweek), making the photo-sharing app the ideal platform for businesses looking to increase visibility and expand brand awareness to millions of interested consumers. With over 200,000 brands (Business Insider) now advertising on Instagram, however, companies are finding that marketing with top Instagrammers is becoming an increasingly effective way to rise above the profusion of native ads and actively engage with target demographics. According to a 2015 VentureBeat study, more than half of Instagram’s users dislike the platform’s sponsored ad increase.
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For a comprehensive 10-step guide to launching an influencer marketing campaign for Instagram, YouTube, and more, download our white paper here.
Following in the footsteps of social media predecessor (and now owner) Facebook, Instagram’s development and integration of sponsored ads has been a gradual process. Shortly after Instagram’s user base surpassed 150 million at the end of 2013, the platform rolled out brand-sponsored photos and videos to a select few advertisers, though it took nearly two more years for Instagram to make its native advertising API (application programmable interface) available to all marketers and brands (Business Insider).
Today, Instagram offers a number of native advertising options for brands, including sponsored photos, sponsored videos, and “carousel ads,” all of which can be targeted to specific demographics and fully-automated to meet a company’s needs, goals, and budgetary restraints (Instagram). According to a recent study published in Adweek, Instagram’s engagement rate is 1.58 times better than Facebook’s and 21 times better than Twitter.”
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Investing in sponsored Instagram ads through the platform’s API isn’t the only way for brands to reach large audiences, however. Because many of today’s young consumers view native advertising as an unwelcomed distraction, companies are now discovering that developing an Instagram influencer marketing strategy and creating brand-sponsored content with top Instagrammers is an effective way to authentically and organically engage millions of interested users and influence purchasing decisions.
To see how some of the top brands developed a creative Instagram influencer and advertising campaign at Coachella 2016, see our marketing case study here.
For companies looking to begin or expand their Instagram advertising efforts, collaborating with top social media stars to develop an influencer marketing campaign is a high-ROI way that brands can gain exposure to consumers who trust the recommendations and advice of Instagrammers. For more examples of Instagram advertising with top social media influencers, see our brand guide of the best sponsored Instagram posts here.
Electronics makers Phillips partnered with lifestyle and fashion Instagrammer Patrick Janelle (aguynamedpatrick) to expose Janelle’s audience to the sleek new Sonicare electric toothbrush in an aesthetically-pleasing, engaging way. Janelle’s Instagram post was part of larger hashtag campaign (#GetTheFeeling) that included social media stars like Arden Rose and traditional celebrities like Sophia Bush and Hilary Duff.
That friend that always goes too hard! #AskAlexa #AmazonEcho @Amazon #ad A video posted by Gabriel Conte (@gabrielconte) on
To promote the brand’s new voice-activated Echo speakers, retail behemoth Amazon tapped crossover social media influencer Gabriel Conte to create a captivating Instagram video that Conte’s followers would find entertaining. The sponsorship showcased the Echo’s capabilities and introduced Conte’s 600K followers to Amazon’s new Alexa voice service, garnering over 22K likes and nearly 500 comments in a few short weeks.
With over half a million fitness- and fashion-focused Instagram followers, Cara Van Brocklin (caraloren) was an ideal choice to spread the word about Puma’s #ForeverFierce campaign (which promotes the brand’s line of athletic shoes by focusing on women’s health and fitness). The campaign featured other high-reach Instagrammers as well, including fitness Instagrammer Julian Diagre and international social media stars like Diana Korkunova and Bruna Vieira.