Marketers should double down on Instagram, but only if they do it right

Most know that Snapchat has been losing users to Instagram, but the numbers are just staggering. Here's how marketers can take advantage of that exodus without turning off users.

Instagram offers a marketer a better platform to reach audiences, and it is improving support for advertisers all the time. However, many marketers, especially brands outside of consumer products, have yet to dedicate more attention to the platform. Despite the increasing costs, Instagram presents a huge opportunity, if done correctly.

Instagram costs are rising, but that increase represents value
Over the past year, costs-per-click for Instagram have risen more aggressively compared with Facebook. CPC costs for 25- to 34-year-olds have increased from about 88 cents to $1.25 during the course of 2017, according to AdEspresso.

To me, the higher CPC represents a better value. Why? It’s no secret that Facebook has been losing attention from younger demographics as more moms take the News Feed hostage, and Instagram is adding new and more engaged users.

Most know that Snapchat has been losing users to Instagram, but the numbers are staggering. Snapchat only added 25 million users to the platform in 2017, where Instagram added 200 million users and 300 million of its total user base engages with Instagram stories on a daily basis.

One-third of U.S. mobile users are on Instagram, and 80% of Instagram users follow at least one brand. Which leads me to my next point.

What users expect from Instagram primes them to discover products and brands
Instagram as a platform has grown up. People don’t just follow their friends anymore. They follow publishers, influencers, and content creators that deliver the content they’re looking for, which is why people turn to Instagram so often when they open up their phones.

For many audiences, especially those over age 25, Instagram has become the de facto source for entertainment. All it takes is one look at subway riders on their morning commute, half the train desperately refreshing their Instagram feed at every stop when they have signal.

People are primed to discover new brands and products on Instagram. In fact, that’s where many people find out about those obscure, long-tail, millennial-friendly brands that are eating the lunch of established brands. While marketers are never welcomed with open arms into people’s newsfeeds, the way Instagram has developed as a platform has made users much more receptive to it.

Stories are the biggest opportunity
Stories are used just as much to check in on content from influencers and publishers as they are to compulsively check which of your friends are having a better brunch than you. Because of that, stories are the perfect place for a brand to get its message out. Plus, compared with in-feed placements, stories offer full-screen engagement, which opens the gates for creativity.

However, in order for your message not to be immediately skipped, you have to nail the form factor. There’s no better way to make someone go "next" than if you’ve sandwiched a high production, CGI new car ad in between a story about a morning bagel and a workout routine.

Instagram stories are called that for a reason. People want some sort of a story, and by story, I don’t mean a scripted ad video or a piece of content that’s been repurposed from another channel. Take 10 minutes and build an mock Instagram profile of the accounts your audience would follow and then watch the stories Instagram serves you. You’ll be able to piece together what your creative needs to look like not to get skipped.

Ben Heiser is a content strategist at Drum Agency.

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