At the end of 2015, Instagram saw its community reach 400 million active users. As one of the top social platforms for brand engagement (Forrester Research), Instagram has changed how brands of all verticals and industries market to today’s massive online audiences. In 2015, brands reportedly increased spend to social media and content marketing by 70% (Adweek).
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Here are the top 3 Instagram marketing trends brands and marketers need to know to best conquer this popular social media publishing platform in 2016:
Top blogger Beth Evelyn’s Smartwater collab leverages both popular hashtags and her audience of over half a million to drive awareness and engagement for the brand’s Instagram channel.
In a December 2015 eMarketer report, three out of four marketing and communications professionals saw influencer marketing as an effective sales and lead generator. Additionally, nine out of ten surveyed found influencer marketing to be effective at raising brand awareness. As such, many brands are partnering with top Instagram influencers or popular social media influencers to drive leads, sales, and engagement.
For an in-depth look at how brands of all industries are marketing with top Instagrammers, check out our dedicated resources and posts here:
To see sponsored Instagram post examples of how brands are collaborating with social media influencers, check out our weekly series.
Many of the biggest mainstream brands on Instagram including Nike and Starbucks are creating their own branded channels (e.g. @nikewomen, @nikelab, @nikerunning, and Starbuck’s @frappaccino) — separate Instagram channels dedicated to each brand’s consumer interests and demographics. Additionally, retailers of all sizes are launching branded Instagram channels to drive awareness, interest, and experiment with user experience and consumer behavior (e.g. premium apparel retailer Everlane’s launch of @EverlaneStudio as reported by Digiday).
As Instagram continues to grow, more and more brands and publishers will develop Instagram brand channels for different niches and interests.
Banana Republic’s Instagram Sponsored Ad with top social influencer, Aimee Song (Song Of Style)
In 2015, Instagram launched a variety of new features for its native advertising platform, Instagram Sponsored Ads, including direct-response clickable buttons and Marquee. Although many of Instagram’s key users aren’t keen on the increase of Sponsored Ads cropping up on their curated news feeds, many brands are now realizing the importance of creating relevant and engaging branded and sponsored content that appears much more like a storyline as opposed to an outright ad.