Study: Instagram is the fastest growing social network among marketers worldwide

A new report from Simply Measured has found that 71 percent of the world’s largest brands have adopted Instagram, which now rivals the brand adoption of Google+ and Pinterest, making it the fastest growing social network worldwide. The report included brand hashtag monitoring, multi-account monitoring, competitive monitoring and a complete social media snapshot.

Nate Smitha, a marketing analyst with Simply Measured, discussed the findings with Inside Facebook:

This was a comprehensive view of activity that tracked brands across all social channels and put in context with their other social media activity. Instagram is a channel we’ve been tracking for sometime. It’s an excellent channel for brands to repurpose their marketing content. Brand adoption has increased significantly, which has made it a great place for consumers to connect with those brands.

Image via Simply Measured

The top brand on Instagram is Mercedes-Benz, with more than 425,000 followers and more than 9 million engaged users. This might be surprising since Instagram draws a younger crowd. But Smitha said Mercedes does a good job of telling their story visually, which makes them one of the best brands.

They are very strong all the way around. There is extreme interest in luxury goods and brands on the network.

Like more brands, Mercedes-Benz gains the most engagement through photos, rather than videos. Video use is increasing slowly, but the top 10 brands are the best users of the tool. Smitha predicted that photos will continue to out perform video in terms of engagement. Could this mean Instagram video ads are doomed?

Probably not, Smitha said, but added that it’s still too soon to tell how ads will impact the user experience. They will likely integrate organically, like Sponsored Stories on Facebook, as to not disrupt users’ feeds. Also, the most sophisticated brands on the network will use ads first, he said, which was a good prediction. Luxury fashion brand Michael Kors recently rolled out the first ad on Instagram.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • As activity increases, so do followers. 57 percent of top brand marketers are now averaging at least one post per week, up from only 38 percent in Q3 of 2012. As a result, more than one third of top brands have 10,000 followers and 19 percent enjoy audiences that exceed 100,000 followers.
  • Engagement is skyrocketing. Brand engagement has grown by a staggering 350 percent year over year, due, in part, to a 70 percent increase in brands posting to the network.
  • Automotive, media and luxury brands dominate. Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi make up three of the top five most engaging brands. In total, the Top 10 brands received 83 percent of all Instagram engagement, while accounting for 33 percent of all posts.
  • Photos receive more comments and likes than videos. Like most new features, video adoption has been slow to gain momentum, accounting for only 6 percent of total posts. Meanwhile photos continue to lead the way, driving 26 percent more engagement than videos.
  • Hashags have become the norm. 83 percent of Instagram posts include at least one hashtag, with 63 of the 65 active brands on Instagram using the new feature. Of interest, top brands use hashtags more sparingly than other brands.