Once seen as a place for simply sharing photos of food, pets and holiday snaps, Instagram has emerged as a key resource for younger Australians to find and connect with businesses.
The Facebook-owned platform revealed internal data that showed more than half (53 per cent) of Australians aged 18 to 34 had directly purchased something they had seen on Instagram, while 67 per cent said they use it to find products and services and the organisations that offer them.
Yet young Australians are not the only ones using the platform to engage with businesses – 44 per cent of surveyed users said they have purchased something they saw there.
“With one in four businesses already receiving a customer interaction on Instagram every day, we know there is enormous potential here for Australian businesses to grow and achieve their objectives with this platform,” said Instagram’s global head of business, Jim Squires.
The platform is now used by around 9 million Australians - more than one-third of the nation's population of just under 25 million.
The surge in usage comes as many businesses have walked away from Facebook, with News Corp Australia recently confirming that some of its brands have suffered “significant” downturns in traffic since controversial measures were made to restrict publisher and business content.
Staying ahead of the curve
Speaking at Advertising Week APAC in Sydney in late July, Mr Squires revealed that vertical video is fast becoming the next “big thing” in social media marketing.
He noted that even just a few years ago, vertical videos were seen as amateurish because horizontal video was what was used on TV.
But with mobile phones now becoming the dominant device for consuming media, content needs to reflect this shift, meaning that vertical video is the new norm.
Instagram’s key learnings on what works best
Mr Squires said there were some common traits to the content on its platform that resonated best with audiences:
- Be true to your brand: No matter what, produce content that really reflects your brand and what you are about. For instance, luxury brand produces very polished, professional and expensive-looking images and videos, while more earthy brands take a very raw and real approach to their content.
- Don’t have one-way communications: Social media is increasingly catering to on-site transactions, making these platforms an extension of existing e-commerce options. As such, businesses should not only showcase their wares, but actively engage and transact with customers.
- Be wholistic in your content: Mr Quires said 76 per cent of Instagram users appreciate it when brands try out new formats, viewing them as being more innovative. So don’t just stick to just images. “You get bonus points just for trying to do video,” he said.