When you hear “Instagram,” the first notion that springs to mind is probably selfies, heart emojis and Kim Kardashian. However, Instagram has evolved since its birth in 2010 to become a multi-billion dollar revenue-Selfies on Instagramgenerating mobile online advertising channel. It was acquired by Facebook in 2012 and now accounts for almost 20% of their annual revenue. Because it’s a visual-based platform, and visuals grab our attention for much longer, it’s increasingly becoming a vital marketing and visual storytelling platform for brands to advertise and market their business on, particularly on mobile, where most searches for brands are likely to occur nowadays.

How many of you have heard of the term Social Visual Communication or SVC? It refers to the prevalence of using visual images on social media as a means of communicating, socializing, relating to the world and how we perceive information. Visual communication has been typically in the form of film, graphic design, signage, data visualization, illustration, animation and so forth. However, SVC is using visual communication on social media platforms.

Why is this important? Well, I’m sure most of you have heard the quote at some point “a picture paints a thousand words.” According to a study by Adobe, Facebook posts using images yielded 650% higher engagement than text posts. According to Forbes, 91% of buyers prefer interactive and video content to static and text-based. Cisco estimates that 80% of all consumer internet traffic will be video by 2020. And the good news is…… Instagram’s engagement rate surpasses that of Facebook and Twitter because it’s devoted to images! Did you know the average Instagrammer visits Instagram 4 times a day?

Some Statistics to Consider:

  • Instagram has over 800 million monthly active users• Over 250 million users use ‘Instagram Stories’ every day.
  • 17 million Google searches leads you to Instagram.
  • 70% of U.S. businesses are on Instagram, surpassing Twitter
  • 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram every day.
  • Instagram is growing fast!Over 40 billion photos and videos have been shared on Instagram since its launch in 2010.
  • Selena Gomez has the most followers 124 million.
  • Beyonce’s baby post pic received the most likes, 11 million.
  • The majority of Instagram users are between 18 – 29 years old and 80% of them live outside the US.
  • Of the Instagrammers that are in the US, 59% are under 30 years old.
  • More women use Instagram than men.
  • American teenagers say Instagram is the most important social network, second to Snapchat.
  • 60% of Instagrammers say they’ve learned about a product/service on Instagram.
  • Pew Research findings show that 26% of Instagrammers earn over $75,000 a year
  • The average Instagram user spends 30 minutes a day on the platform
  • Instagram has 2 million monthly active advertisers, up from 1 million as of March 2017.
  • There are over 25 million businesses using Instagram worldwide, up from 15 million in July 2017.
  • According to eMarketer, 96% of fashion brands use Instagram.
  • Instagrammers are 70% more likely to purchase on mobile
  • According to a Forrester report, Instagram has the highest interaction rate of all the social networks, 2.2% per follower.

Key New Instagram Technologies

According to Sprout Social, the top inspirational brands to follow on Instagram are: AirBnB, Tesla, Adobe, Nike, Reuters and PlayDoh. Some of my personal favorites are: National Geographic, H&M, Apple and Starbucks. National Geographic has the most followers of all brands with over 87.9 million. Some Instagram technologies that are useful for businesses to integrate are:

  1. Boomerang – a video app for making short, action and fun-filled video loops.
  2. Kickstarter – where you can explore live and past projects, search by category, location and popularity.
  3. Instasave – this app allows you to download videos and photos from Instagram easily from any browser.
  4. Shortstack – a software that allows you to run contests, collect leads, gather user-generated content while increasing brand awareness.
  5. Taggermedia – a complete platform for influencer campaign management and measurement.

I think it’s fair to say that Instagram is no longer a baby in the midst of the social media realm, but is all grown up! For more tips, trick and tools on how to market and advertise your business on Instagram, please visit the Instagram Business  page and Hootsuite’s How to do business on Instagram. There you’ll find detailed ideas for marketers on how to use Instagram for business, goal setting, creating a content strategy, building an Instagram brand for your business, creating creative content and boosting results with Instagram ads. Good luck!


  • Maura Hickey

    Maura is an independent marketing consultant and founder of 5Box Consulting, specializing in marketing strategy, digital strategy and data analytics. She has lived in 7 different countries and has worked with small to large global industry players. You can find her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/hickeymaura/ and on Twitter @MHickey002.