eMarketer recently revealed that nearly 50% of brands are on Instagram, and the number is predicted to rise to 71% by 2017. Despite countless social media platforms that currently exist in the market, Instagram remains one of the most popular social media and networking sites among marketing professionals not only due to its popularity among users, but also due to its outstanding engagement rate.
Instagram stands to be the “King of Social” among all currently available social media with the highest engagement rate of 2.3% per follower (vs. 0.2% for Facebook and 0.03% for Twitter). Engagement rate is an important metric for brands to gauge, because it takes all consumer interactions (i.e. likes, comments, and shares) as well as the number of followers into account; the rate provides a sense of how brands are performing in comparison to its competitors, regardless of how big or small they are. Having a good engagement rate is important, because it means that you are having meaningful interactions with your target audience, whether that be making a sale, conducting market research, or building a standout brand image.
Having a strong presence on Instagram, hence, is no longer optional for brands who wish to remain visible, relevant, and competitive in the market.
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In the second quarter of 2016, Mediakix looked at the Top 200 Instagram brand channel accounts with the highest follower count to better understand their Instagram marketing strategies. After analyzing the data, we found that an overwhelming amount of successful brands on Instagram were in the Fashion industry (51.5%), followed by Media & Entertainment (22.0%), and Beauty & Fitness (11.5%).
The result does not come as a surprise, because Instagram is highly focused on photo content; given that young adults between the age 18–29 are the dominant Instagram demographic, image-friendly brands such as clothes, fashion, and cosmetics are bound to be more prevalent on Instagram. However, the trend we found especially intriguing, was how much opportunity there is for brands in the following categories—specifically Autos & Vehicles, Computers & Electronics, Food & Drink—to grow.
For further analysis, we took the Top 5 dominant categories brands occupied on Instagram and examined the marketing strategies & outcomes of each top brand per category (disclaimer: while Nike is the reigning top brand with the highest number of followers in the fashion category, we analyzed Victoria Secret’s account instead to minimize error ranges due to Nike’s relative inactivity during our data analysis time-frame).
Our analysis showed two noteworthy insights. First, images generally yield higher engagement rates than videos on Instagram. The outcome is unsurprising, as images are quicker and provide instant gratification for users.
Another interesting takeaway is that brands need to correctly target their niche audience to gain meaningful audience engagement. Even the top fashion brand on Instagram, Victoria’s Secret, with over 30 million followers has a lower-than-average engagement rate most likely due to market oversaturation: 96% of U. S. fashion brands are on Instagram, and there only is so much similar content that consumers can respond. Therefore, one strategy that can help your brand cut through the clutter and better engage with niche consumers is to partner up with top Instagram influencers.