Organization Name : Instagram
Industry : Photo & Video Sharing Social Network
About Instagram The Company :
Instagram is an online social networking service that enables its users to post pictures and videos. Created by Stanford grads Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Instagram launched in October 2010 as a free mobile app. The service exploded in popularity and the company ( with all of 13 employees at the time ) was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 for approx $1BB in cash and stock. Estimated ad revenue for Instagram in 2015 is $595MM with 2017 projections of $2.81B. It would seem the guys from Stanford had a very big idea.
How Instagram Describes Itself
” Instagram is a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your mobile phone, then choose a filter to transform the image into a memory to keep around forever. We’re building Instagram to allow you to experience moments in friends’ lives through pictures as they happen. We imagine a world more connected through photos. ”
I would say this is a fair testimonial of the creative canvas Instagram built for their users. As the company has grown in scale and become more commercial, this ideology grew to include brands. Today their vision of helping the world share experiences may be more corporate than when the brand launched in 2010 but the real time engagement that Instagram brings to their users is outpacing all other social networks today.
- 400MM active monthly users
- 75MM active daily users
- 30BB photos shared ( 9.20.15 )
- 70MM photos posted daily
- 60% of users younger than 35
- 41% of users between ages of 16 -24
- 70% of users are from outside USA
- Total users – 51% male, 49% female
- Teen Users ( 13 – 17 ) – 61% female, 39% male
- 52% of USA internet users aged 13 – 17 ( teens ) use Instagram
- 73% of global top 100 brands post weekly
- On average , 2.69% of followers engage with an Instagram post
Instagram & The Sneaker Market
Stats above reinforce that Instagram is exploding in popularity, has global reach and is widely used by young audience. By looking at todays sneaker world, we can gain a real life perspective on the role Instagram now plays in marketing to teen audience . While the tech companies like Apple have eaten away at the disposable income of teens and young adults, sneakers are still an important badge for this market. The shoes you wear help define who you are and what you are about. You may be a jock or a skater kid or a fashion leader and your kicks will be a key part of that look. Brands spend heavily on new designs and technology intros and then partner with athletes and artists to build their brand image and capture the loyalty of a very fickle teen consumer. Sneaker brands ( Nike and adidas ) are over indexing in user growth representing 4 of the top 10 growth brands on Instagram analysis from October 2014. Those growth rates have continued as you will see in 2015 update below. Sneaker brands and sneaker hype sites have flocked to Instagram as a vehicle to showcase the freshest releases. If you want to know what is dropping next in the sneaker world you follow Instagram.
Sneaker Brands & Instagram
Nike is the # 1 ranked brand period on Instagram by number of followers. The core target for Nike brand has always been high school and college age athletes focused on sport performance and Nike has never wavered in chasing other trends. When Nike recognizes new business opportunities, they buy other brands to address these options like they did with Converse and Hurley. Instagram user demographics align perfectly with Nike target. While Nike and adidas are the two biggest sneakers companies, you can see by the number of followers ” By Sport ” that they also appeal to Instagram audience by being relevant in specific categories. For example, Nike Football ( soccer in North America ) has over 11MM followers alone and adidas Originals has 8.5MM followers. Both of these sub categories within the brands skew to a younger audience. So Instagram helps big brands show consumers that there is more to their brands. Critical component to help personalize brands in a world maybe a little suspicious of big brands.
I have included Vans & Converse here because their core target is teen market. While their total followers may pale beside the big guys, their Instagram audience kills companies like New Balance ( 1.2MM followers ) and Asics ( 308K followers ) that generate far higher sales than Vans or Converse. This is noted simply to document how well targeted Instagram is for brands chasing a young consumer. Brands with more mature target consumer can still gain followers on Instagram but you can tell which brands resonate loudest with Instagram demographic today.
Sneaker Hype Sites & Instagram
The sites noted below target the taste makers of the sneaker world. Kids who are on top of their sneaker game follow these sites to know what is coming from the different brands and when does it drop. Instagram is perfect partner for both brands and these sneaker hype sites to align with to pimp the latest releases. The quality of imagery used on these sites has raised the cool factor of sneaker business. The consumer living on these sites is the fashion leader who expects clean crisp artistry and Instagram filters have made every photographer better. In turn, this consumer is very influential in setting trends or killing them before they every happen. The Instagram following generated here with a fast moving fashion consumer in relatively short time is impressive.
Interview With Instagram
I could not reach anyone at Instagram to interview for my post. So I took the approach that to understand Instagram and its connection to the sneaker culture, best to ask a sneaker head who lives on Instagram. Please check out this short interview with a young consumer who fits the demographic described in my post.
The Take Away
- Instagram is only 5 years old and now has Facebook financial backing and brain trust behind it. It is showing explosive growth and already has global scale. While still the relative newcomer of the big social networks, I am not sure anyone knows the potential future reach of Instagram.
- User demographics for Instagram are well defined. If your brand is targeting the teen and young adult consumer , then Instagram should be part of your marketing plan.
- Content is King. A picture may be worth a thousand words but only if that picture stands out in an increasingly competitive landscape.
- Instagram Worthy : young consumers today are in fact rating pictures or events or marketing images they see by their ” Instagram Worthiness . ” The brands that really get this, understand it and respect it will be better positioned to win with this consumer.
This post was submitted by John Condon.
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