Achieving Cut-through on Social with Instagram

At the latest Good Broadcast Digital Academy, Gord Ray, Instagram’s top European strategist, joined us to present the inside track on the platform as a gateway to the world’s millennials (90 percent of Instagram users are younger than 35).

Gord also officially opened our brand new Insta- Studio, our onsite photo studio which is professionally equipped so we can produce bespoke social content in-house..

So why is Instagram great for brands?

•    500m monthly active users, 17m in the UK

•    1/3 of all users follow brands or businesses

•    50% conduct product research via Instagram

•    Over 1/3 of Instagram users have used their mobile to buy a product online – making them 70% more likely to do so than non-users

All of which means there’s huge potential but how can brands make the most of the platform?

On the horizon is Instagram’s testing of product tags, which brands can use to label products featured in the image, including link to purchase. At the moment, only a few US-based fashion brands have been able to trial the feature but there are plans to roll it out more broadly. Watch this space.

Another key shift that brands should pay attention to is the shift away from Instagram’s traditional square video format towards vertical video – used in Instagram’s Live and Stories (the only other social platform to use it is Snapchat). Vertical video, which uses up a user’s entire smartphone screen when they watch, feels more immersive, making it the perfect medium for storytelling. This might explain why 80% of Instagram users turn the sound ON when they’re watching video – a higher proportion than any other platform.

Gord’s top tips for Live and Stories?

•    Instagram Stories work best if they’re not over-engineered. Rough and ready is totally fine, which is why many brands, such as Mercedes Benz have used it effectively to take their community behind the scenes.

•    Maintaining the playful spirit of Instagram is also a good idea. Taco Bell’s use of the writing feature to bring colour and excitement to their Instagram stories is one of the best recent examples.

•    If you are going to use it for promotions just keep it snappy and fun like TGI Fridays. Big, bold graphics also help.

•    Instagram Live, like Snapchat, is completely ephemeral, meaning once the broadcast ends, the video disappears. It’s not saved on a device and there are no replays. This means that for anyone watching, the experience is made even more special – the downside is you won’t be able to play it back at a later date.

The ultimate take out? Be bold and get experimenting. Don’t get tied up in knots planning the perfect Instagram Story or Live broadcast. Get stuck in and you’ll be rewarded with getting your message out on probably the most exciting, dynamic social platform in the world right now.