Sweeping predictions about any social platform are dangerous to make, but this one feels like a sure thing – businesses that aren’t bringing their A game to Instagram in 2019 will feel it before the end of the year. There are new features available right now, and more on the horizon, that make Instagram, more so than any social platform, the most important site to master.

Instagram is clearly the most important channel for brands to engage with consumers.

The stats are clear, with more than 1 billion users and more flocking to the site daily, Instagram truly is eating the world. “By 2020, the photo-sharing platform will account for nearly 40% of Facebook’s net mobile ad revenue.” That figure may be conservative.

The platform is boldly and consistently taking aim at top competitors – YouTube and Snapchat, and is aggressively capturing its ever-growing audience with a user experience (UX) second to none.

And consumers are loving it. They’re sharing every bit of their lives, every bit of marketing data that a business could dream of, willingly, because the platform is so simple to use and so phenomenally visually appealing.

And whoever said hashtags are pointless was wrong. Hashtags are helping users find each other and communities form, and they offer valuable insight toward how these folks are feeling at a point in time and/or the image they want to present to the world.

All of this information is, of course, marketing gold in itself – but that’s far from all you can uncover. Instagram is the gift that keeps on giving.

Instagram has changed consumer product marketing forever.

In November, Instagram introduced three new shopping features for the Holidays: a way to shop in-feed videos, another to add products (that consumers may want to purchase later) to a new “Shopping” collection, and last – but certainly not least – the ability to purchase items on business profiles.

Brands must opt into a business page to be able to offer its product to other users. [And] these business pages have also been updated to showcase purchasable products under a new ‘shop’ section on the profile page that organize each entry in neat rows with pricing and the item name.

Instagram set out to provide an “immersive storefront for people to explore your best products.” And that ability to “share featured products through your organic posts and Stories, or have people discover your products in Search & Explore” makes accurate social analytics your best ally.

When someone taps a product tag on your post or a product sticker in your story, they’ll be taken to a product description page where they will see:

  • An image of the product from your post
  • A description of the product
  • How much the product costs
  • A link that takes them directly to your website, where they can purchase the product

But Instagram is not only a trailblazer for product shopping. As mentioned above, it has also set the bar for exceptional UX.

Keeping that UX humming

A major gripe that Snapchat users have consistently had is around the “complete trainwreck” its UX offers. But even they lost their minds when an update was attempted, leaving users of the popular app frustrated and unhappy. The site just seems to fail all around on a strategic level. So, it has to be disconcerting to know Instagram is coming.

For its own part, Instagram has a good thing going, for sure. But even they apparently didn’t get the memo around ‘making changes too quickly can be fatal’ when a new interface was accidentally (or not, perhaps?) rolled out in an update that forced users to scroll horizontally instead of vertically or tap through posts.

The backlash online was immediate:

We can chalk it up to some quick market research gone awry (at worse), as the experience consistently knocks it out of the park, with updates typically announced months in advance and plenty of time for app developers – and businesses – to prepare accordingly.

And that is another reason why Instagram is winning, and brands leveraging it will win alongside them – they’re strategic and offer a thoughtful, staggered approach with every iteration. And that’s something every brand needs in a social platform partner – and in a developer helping them sort out the specifics!

Brands need an Instagram strategy that supports their strategic initiatives.

Brands take note: You already know that customer feedback is swift and unfiltered online. Whether a social media application, or your own product or services, you need to be listening to what both current and prospective customers have to say.

Social moves fast and consumers are quick to jump on these changes – both the good and bad. Brands need an Instagram listening solution that gives them fast, accurate, and transparent insight to understand consumer sentiment and behavior, and stay ahead of trouble spots (and gain a competitive edge!).

NetBase delivers the industry’s best Instagram coverage. Our agile development process has us pushing platform updates every three weeks to keep current with what is happening on the most important social channels generating consumer conversation.

It’s why our clients were migrated immediately when Instagram’s latest API changes went live – and why so many are switching to our service from struggling competitors.

Reach out and we’ll show you how to make Instagram work for your business this year – no “breaking” allowed!

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