Leveraging social media means being where your audience is – and for almost every brand or business in 2019, that means Instagram.

This isn’t a shocking revelation when you consider how photo-obsessed we’ve become in the digital age – with every smartphone sporting increasingly sophisticated cameras to answer busy consumers’ need to capture moments and communicate life happenings succinctly. In March of 2012 it was estimated that 10% of all photos ever taken were taken in the preceding 12 months.

Seven years later, it’s dizzying to think how that number has likely changed, but it just further proves our point. Instagram, the not-quite-ten-year-old, photo-driven social network is a business must.

Here are 51 statistics that explain why.

Your Audience Is Surely There

Even if you’re succeeding on other social platforms, there’s no question you have audience segments worth engaging on Instagram. They may be segments you haven’t discovered yet, but that’s exactly why you need social analytics tools – to ensure your information is backed by data, not assumptions.

Given these Instagram statistics, the odds are in your favor:

1. Number of monthly active users: 1 billion+

2. Number of daily active users: 500 million+

3. Number of daily active Stories: 400 million+

In looking at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, Pew Research Center saw the percentage of Americans using these top social networks had stayed pretty much the same between 2016-2018 – except for Instagram. The 35% of U.S. adults saying they used that platform in 2018 represented an increase of seven percentage points from the 28% using Instagram in 2016.

Who Uses Instagram?

Let’s take a quick look at the audiences on Instagram, who they are, and where they’re from.

4. Teenagers – 72% use Instagram; that’s slightly less than use YouTube (85%) and slightly more than use Snapchat (69%)

5. Young adults (18- to 24-year-olds) – 71% used Instagram in 2018

6. Across all age groups in the U.S., the percentage of men and women using Instagram is nearly equal

7. In Latin America, Instagram’s user base skews female at 56%

8. More than 80% of Instagram users live outside the U.S. – even so, the U.S. tops the list for users by country at 121 million, followed by India (71 million) and Brazil (64 million)

Graphic from Statista.com – https://www.statista.com/statistics/578364/countries-with-most-instagram-users/

9. Instagram is the fastest-growing social network in Japan, with a “43% year over year increase of users”

10. Nearly 8% of Instagram accounts are fake, while 29.9% of accounts are inactive – luckily (if you’re using NetBase), best-in-class social analytics tools recognize and filter out spambots and other irrelevant data

It’s clear that Instagram’s user base is diverse in every way – offering global brands, in particular, an amazing platform for consumer connection. But that’s not all…

As the next few statistics show, consumers not only follow brands on Instagram, they look for products there, and follow-through with purchases.

Instagram Converts!

11. Instagram users are 70% more likely to make mobile purchases, and more than one-third have used mobile devices to make online purchases

12. “80% of accounts follow a business on Instagram” according to Instagram internal data – this is one of many reasons it’s worth being a business on Instagram

13. Not all visits come from followers; 66% come from users who aren’t following that brand

14. 60% of users learn about new products on Instagram – in fact, they seek them out discover products on Instagram

15. Instagrammers follow through – 30% have bought items they first discovered on Instagram

16. Roughly half of Instagram users make between $30K and $100K+ – meaning, by and large, they’ve got the money to shop

Other Instagram User Behaviors

17. 22% of users check Instagram once a day, with 38% checking multiple times daily

18. 25% of worldwide smartphone owners use Instagram

19. Stories have increased the average time spent on Instagram, more than 32 minutes a day for those under age 25, and more than 24 minutes per day for those 25 and older

20. Android users spend an average of 53 minutes a day on the app

Content on Instagram

21. 100 million+ photos and videos are uploaded to Instagram daily

22. Stories account for up to 37% of total impressions for businesses

23. As of 2017, time spent watching Instagram videos was up more than 80% year over year, with a 4X increase from the previous year in daily videos produced

24. “Video posts have the highest overall engagement rate – 38% higher than image posts”

25. As of January 2019 daily active Stories have increased to 500 million compared to 400 million in June of 2018

Hashtags, Emojis, and More

Hashtags, emojis, and other details are crucial parts of the Instagram communication process. Here are some stats illustrating why.

26. Including at least one hashtag can bring posts 6% more engagement

27. 9-12 hashtags is the ideal amount for “peak engagement”

28. Longer hashtags – 21 to 24 characters in length – surprisingly perform better; perhaps because longer hashtags are more specific and really help you find your tribe; this is great to keep in mind when considering branded hashtags, and…

29. 70% of Instagram hashtags are branded; that’s a nice number, and you want yours to be one of the ones being seen and shared

Since rolling out a few API changes at the end of 2018, authorized users are limited to 30 unique hashtag per Instagram channel (per authorized user) for any rolling seven-day period. If you’re using those 9-12 hashtags, you won’t be able to switch them up as much as you might like – unless you plan ahead.

Having multiple authorized users solves this problem, if that’s an option. But it’s also a good reason to be sure you understand your audience and which hashtags pop for them on a given topic. Next Generation AI Analytics help you clarify this important data quickly and accurately.

And such best-in-class social listening and sentiment analysis tools help you track other crucial Instagram insights as well. For example, emojis. One to two emojis are contained in 50% of Instagram captions and comments. Can your social analytics tools track these? If not, you may be misdiagnosing consumer sentiment…

30. Emojis largely represent love: the red heart, at 79% more than the next most popular symbol, which is the smiling face with heart eyes; in fact, smileys comprise half of the top 20 emojis, and four of the top five represent positive emotion, with the “laughing so hard you’re crying” emoji the only one that could be used to also represent non-positive emotions

Image from Curalate.com – https://www.bazaarvoice.com/blog/

Engagement on Instagram

The name of the game on a network with so much potential is to be seen – which means engaging your audiences in ways that matter to them. Here are stats that speak to some generalities in that area:

31. Industry with highest engagement per post: higher education (3.39%), followed by sports teams (2.28%), and nonprofits (2.14%); partnering with brands in these industries could be useful

32. Photos with faces get 38% more Likes than photos without, and are 32% more likely to generate comments; sounds like a “selfie with your product” contest just waiting to happen

33. There’s no evidence that shorter captions are better than long – so don’t be afraid to use more characters if you need them to get your point across little

34. Engagement is 79% higher for posts tagged with a location

35. Instagram blows Twitter and Facebook out of the water engagement-wise, with “2-7% percent of users interacting with each post” compared with 0.1 to less than 2% for those other networks

36. Independent research by Forrester found consumers “58x more likely to engage with branded content on Instagram compared to Facebook and 120x more likely compared to Twitter”

37. Because 70% of Instagram feed photos were being missed, the platform changed their algorithm to prioritize photos it thinks consumers are most interested in, versus showing them chronologically; so if you want to be seen, become an account your audience interacts with

38. Engagement varies with post time: “On average, the best time to post is between 2 PM and 3 PM CDT” with the best day being “Thursday, not just at 3 PM, but at 5 AM, 11 AM, and 4 PM as well”

39. Calling out other users on Instagram results in 56% more engagement, but only 36% of brand posts include @mentions; there’s a huge opportunity here to rise above competitors by mentioning brand partners, consumers, and influencers in your posts

Again, these are general statistics – you need to use social listening to understand the specific, most passionate wants of your particular audience.

Influencers Rule on Instagram

40. Speaking of influencers, nearly 80% of social influencers surveyed worldwide consider Instagram the best channel for collaborating with brands

41. Top 5 most-followed Instagram accounts:

Graphic from Statista.com – https://www.statista.com/statistics/421169/most-followers-instagram/

42. Most followed brand (not counting Instagram): National Geographic, with 103 million followers – that’s interesting, isn’t it?

43. Celebrity posts receiving the most likes and comments: Kylie Jenner’s pic of baby Stormi, and Beyonce’s twin pregnancy announcement – celebrities, they’re just like us! And yet…

44. More than 60% of Gen Z Instagrammers prefer ads featuring influencers over celebrities

With sponsored content increasing – and projected to hit 32.3 million posts in 2019 – it’s important to get your influencer game sorted. Those aforementioned API changes make everything a little tricky, but hardly impossible.

Once you’ve got proper authorizations in place for the business channels of owned pages and influencers you’re working with, you can track post text, media, number of likes, number of comments, permalink, bio, number of followers, interests, professions, potential impressions, comment text and comment user names.

You lose access to comment text and comment user names – though you keep everything else above – when analyzing competitor pages and influencers you’re not working with. This is a good argument for bringing influencers on board in an official capacity, as there are that many more insights available when you do. Just be sure they’ve got a business profile.

Businesses on Instagram

That brings us to brands and businesses on Instagram – who they are, and how they’re thriving.

To be sure there have been challenges with Instagram’s API updates – like not being able to collect data from personal profiles. However, there are more than enough business profiles to allow for excellent competitive intelligence.

Be sure you’ve got your user authorizations in place because “Instagram limits the number of calls to the new API based to 200 calls per hour per user authorization.” So, the more authorizations you have granted your social listening platform, the more frequently we can request content on your behalf. Fewer than two users will increase data collection latency.

Additionally, though you may track the business channels of competitors and influencers in addition to your own, permissions vary a bit. Check out our handy visuals to understand the distinctions.

Now for some more stats!

45. Retail brands are super popular – representing 8 of the top most-followed 15 brands

46. Videos represent 25% of all ads on Instagram; does that mean you should use video in your ads? Maybe… what does your audience want?

47. Nearly all Interbrand 100 companies have Instagram accounts, with 80% posting at least once per week

48. Business profiles now account for more than 25 million Instagram accounts, with 200+ million users visiting at least one business profile daily

49. 96% of fashion brands use Instagram

50. Instagram sponsored ads generate, on average, 8x higher recall than those on other social networks

51. By 2019, Instagram ad revenue is projected to double 2017 numbers and hit more than $10 billion

Ride the Wave and Follow the Changes

If we’ve learned nothing from social media, it’s the importance of striking when the moment presents – because change is inevitable. Right now, Instagram is a channel all brands should be looking at – and that’s expected to be the case for the foreseeable future.

And it’s important for brands to take advantage of all Instagram has to offer right now – because whatever comes next, you’ll need your audience with you.

Use social listening and sentiment analysis to understand everything can about your audience in all the places they live on social – and use those insights to compare to and strengthen Instagram data. Especially where API changes offer challenges.

No social network exists in a vacuum – and neither does any brand. You have to take in the entire picture of your audience, and Instagram certainly is a huge part of that.

Want to learn more about how our social listening tools take you further than others on Instagram? Reach out!

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