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What Is Instagram?

What is Instagram? So glad you asked! Instagram is a free social media platform. It’s revolutionized the way people share and consume visual content. It fundamentally changed the marketing industry. When it comes to marketing, there’s marketing before Instagram and marketing as we know it now.

Since its inception in 2010, Instagram has grown into one of the most popular social networking services in the world. It currently boasts over a billion monthly active users. But what exactly is Instagram? And why has it become such an integral part of our digital lives?

In this post, we’ll break down exactly what the platform is. Plus what it was. And what it’s predicted to be in the future. We’ll dig into its features, algorithm, and of course what it means for your business. Influencer marketing is our bread and butter. And influencers thrive on Instagram. So we’ll touch on that too. 

Whether you’re new to Instagram entirely and hoping for a rundown or you’re familiar but looking for a refresher, this post will help. Read on to learn how you can leverage the app for your marketing efforts so you can crush your quarterly goals.

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The Innovation, Explosive Popularity, and Acquisition of Instagram

Instagram was founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. It launched in October 2010. Originally, it was designed as a photo-sharing app that allowed users to apply filters to their images and share them on their profiles. 

Two images of phone screens featuring aesthetically pleasing Instagram grids with rows of photos

The simplicity of the concept, combined with the increasing quality of smartphone cameras, contributed to its rapid adoption. Within two months, Instagram had over a million users, and in April 2012, Meta (then Facebook) bought the app for $1 billion.

Since its release more than a decade ago, Instagram has not only become one of the most popular social media platforms on the planet. It’s also one of the top ten websites in the world. Instagram ranks at a cool 7th place for most visited websites globally. How’s that for a fun fact?

The 6 Core Features of Instagram

If you’re looking to market on Instagram or simply use the platform, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with its features. They pack a big punch. In fact, the platform’s success can be attributed to several key Instagram features that have evolved over the years:

1. Photo and Video Sharing

At its core, Instagram allows users to share photos and videos. These can be edited with a variety of filters and editing tools to enhance their appearance.

2. Stories

Introduced in 2016, Stories allow users to post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. This feature, inspired by Snapchat, has become incredibly popular. Over 500 million users engage with Stories daily.

3. Reels

Reels are Instagram’s answer to TikTok. Launched in 2020, Reels allow users to create and discover short, entertaining videos set to music. This feature quickly gained popularity, especially among younger users. Reels get twice the impression rate of other posts, making them a powerful tool for businesses and influencers.

4. Shopping

Instagram integrated shopping features that allow users to purchase products directly through the app. Businesses can tag products in their posts, making it easy for users to shop while browsing their feeds. About 130 million people click on shopping posts each month, highlighting the platform’s effectiveness as a sales channel.

5. Direct Messaging

Instagram’s direct messaging feature enables users to communicate privately. This includes text messages, photos, videos, and even disappearing content.

6. Explore Page

The Explore page is a personalized feed of photos, videos, and stories tailored to a user’s interests. It uses algorithms to suggest content based on a user’s activity on the platform.

The Role of Influencers on Instagram

The rise of influencers can be attributed to Instagram’s impact. Influencers are individuals who have built a large following on the platform. They wield influence over those audiences and can sway their opinions and purchasing decisions. Brands often collaborate with influencers to promote products and services, making influencer marketing a lucrative industry.

Instagram is home to over 2 billion active users monthly. A substantial portion of those users are under the age of 35. This demographic, primarily composed of Gen Z and Millennials, makes up about 60 percent of Instagram’s user base. As you can imagine, this makes it a prime platform for influencer marketing. FYI, if you want to dig into more Instagram stats, 👈🏽 click here.

Instagram for Business

This is not just a platform for individuals. It has also become an essential tool for businesses. Instagram is one of the most effective channels for customer acquisition, brand awareness, and marketing   With features like Instagram Ads, Shopping, and business profiles, companies can reach a vast audience and engage with customers directly. The visual nature of the platform makes it ideal for showcasing products, services, and brand personality.

In particular, businesses see significant engagement with video content on Instagram. Video receives three times the engagement of single-image posts on the platform. And Instagram Reels get watched for about 17 hours per day on average. This high engagement makes video content a crucial element of any successful Instagram marketing strategy, and especially your Instagram Influencer marketing campaigns.

The Instagram Algorithm and Engagement

Instagram’s success is partly due to its sophisticated algorithm, which determines what content users see in their feeds. The algorithm considers factors like user engagement, relationships, and content relevance to personalize the user experience. This leads to higher engagement rates compared to other social media platforms. For instance, Stories have a daily viewership of 70 percent of Instagram’s users, demonstrating the platform’s ability to keep users engaged.

Instagram Privacy and Security

Like all social media platforms, Instagram has faced challenges related to privacy and security. The platform has implemented various measures to protect users, such as two-factor authentication, content moderation, and options to report and block inappropriate content. However, concerns about data privacy and online harassment continue to be areas of focus for the company.

The Future of Instagram

As Instagram continues to evolve, it remains at the forefront of digital trends. The platform’s ability to adapt and introduce new features keeps it relevant in a fast-changing social media landscape. Whether it’s enhancing e-commerce capabilities, improving user safety, or integrating augmented reality, Instagram is poised to remain a dominant force in the world of social media.

What is Instagram Answered?

Instagram has transformed from a simple photo-sharing app into a comprehensive social media platform. It influences how we connect, shop, and consume content. Its blend of visual appeal, engaging features, and business opportunities makes it an indispensable part of our digital lives. As it continues to innovate and adapt, Instagram will likely remain a central player in the social media ecosystem for years to come.

A quarter of the global population and 37 percent of all Internet users are on Instagram. And once they get to the platform, a third of them stay on the platform. It provides the digital equivalent of sightseeing. This massive user base provides unparalleled opportunities for connection and engagement, whether you’re a brand, influencer, or casual user.

So what is Instagram? We hope we’ve answered that for you and then some. Knowing the ins and outs of the platform can take your marketing efforts to new heights. If you’d like assistance creating winning Instagram influencer marketing campaigns, schedule a strategy call with us today.

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