6 Ways Brands Can Find Instagram Success

Brands are using Insta­gram to reach con­sumers with cre­ative, inno­v­a­tive mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. These insights and tips can help your brand become an Insta­gram suc­cess.

Pat Hong By Pat Hong from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Eighty-six per­cent of the top glob­al brands (as ranked by Inter­brand) now have Insta­gram accounts, with mar­keters look­ing to reach some 200 mil­lion month­ly active users on the site, accord­ing to the study.

Espe­cial­ly for brands with a high­ly visu­al, or lux­u­ry prod­uct, Insta­gram pro­vides a pow­er­ful plat­form for brands to entice, engage, and reach con­sumers.


Approx­i­mate­ly 60 mil­lion pho­tos post­ed each day, with 1.6 bil­lion like inter­ac­tions, and the evi­dence is there that con­sumers are ready to engage with brand­ed con­tent. How­ev­er, brands have lot to do to dis­tin­guish them­selves from the sheer amount of images and videos being post­ed on the plat­form. Suc­cess requires a gen­uine under­stand­ing of the way con­sumers use and inter­act with the plat­form.

The study ana­lyzes the Insta­gram activ­i­ty of the top brands in the world, and pro­vides valu­able insights into how the best are using Insta­gram to build brand equi­ty, engage audi­ences, and pro­mote their prod­ucts.

9 Instagram Marketing Insights

Here are nine key take­aways from Sim­ply Mea­sured’s Insta­gram study:

1. The Majority Of Brands Have Realized The Value Of Instagram

Brand activ­i­ty on Insta­gram is grow­ing at a con­sid­er­able rate, with many devot­ing a ded­i­cat­ed resource to the pro­duc­tion of con­tent. Active brands (i.e., those who post­ed at least once in Q3 2014) have dou­bled since Q3 2012. In addi­tion, 73 per­cent of brands post at least one image or video per week, and many brands are dis­cov­er­ing suc­cess­ful ways to grow their audi­ences.

2. Daily Posting Is The Norm

The num­ber of brands post­ing at least once a day has tripled in 2014. Dai­ly post­ing is becom­ing a stan­dard for brands on the plat­form, and the trend sig­nals that brands are learn­ing how to oper­ate on Insta­gram with a mea­sured approach, devel­op­ing effec­tive tac­tics that bring val­ue to their busi­ness­es.

3. Active Brands Drive The Most Engagement

All indi­ca­tions show that con­sumers are ready to engage with brands on Insta­gram, and in fact, engage­ment with brand­ed posts is grow­ing faster than new brands are join­ing the net­work.

It shows that the oppor­tu­ni­ty is ripe for brands to invest in the plat­form, as audi­ence and lev­els of engage­ment con­tin­ue to grow.

4. Average Engagement Per Post Is Growing Fast.

The aver­age engage­ment per post has grown an incred­i­ble 416 per­cent since Q3 2012. In addi­tion, the top brands oper­at­ing on the plat­form have mul­ti­plied aver­age post engage­ment by almost five times across 2014. It indi­cates strong growth in lev­els of engage­ment on the plat­form, greater even than the growth in the num­ber of over­all users, and that is good news for brands who have the oppor­tu­ni­ty now to poten­tial­ly achieve good results with just a sin­gle post.

5. Engagement Happens Fast

On aver­age, posts by top brands on Insta­gram will get 216 com­ments, how­ev­er 50 per­cent of these com­ments will be post­ed with­in 6 hours, and a mas­sive 75 per­cent of com­ments will be post­ed in the first 48 hours. High-per­form­ing posts with more than 400 com­ments peak slight­ly lat­er, tak­ing approx­i­mate­ly 13 hours to receive 50 per­cent of the over­all com­ments.

6. Best Practice Varies By Vertical

How brands should approach their strat­e­gy for Insta­gram large­ly depends on ver­ti­cal. The media for exam­ple expe­ri­ences sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er lev­els of engage­ment than aver­age, with 23,906 engage­ments per post, and 5,084 addi­tion­al likes and com­ments over oth­er indus­tries. This means media brands can be sig­nif­i­cant­ly more active on the chan­nel hav­ing the ben­e­fit of a much more recep­tive audi­ence.

Oth­er indus­tries such as the auto­mo­tive indus­try has the high­est num­ber of active top brands on Insta­gram at 13, and the lux­u­ry seg­ment of Inter­brand’s Top 100 list has a 100 per­cent Insta­gram adop­tion record, with all sev­en high-end goods brands active on the net­work.

Espe­cial­ly for brands with vis­cer­al, visu­al­ly-appeal­ing prod­ucts and strong brand iden­ti­ty, Insta­gram remains a pow­er­ful plat­form to raise aware­ness and build brand equi­ty.

7. Compelling Captions Support Compelling Images

The study revealed that the aver­age cap­tion among top brands was 138 char­ac­ters. In addi­tion, cap­tions that includ­ed an addi­tion­al user han­dle in the cap­tion net­ted 56 per­cent more engage­ment. How­ev­er, it’s impor­tant for brands to use @mentions in an authen­tic and rel­e­vant way, so as not to under­mine the val­ue of the tag for users.

Who’s count­ing? #sharpi­enewyear #yearofthe­mak­er A pho­to post­ed by @sharpie on

8. Hashtags Fuel Discovery

A mas­sive 88 per­cent of brand posts includ­ed at least one hash­tag, with 91 per­cent of posts hav­ing sev­en or few­er hash­tags. Using hash­tags well rep­re­sents an impor­tant tac­tic for brands, with posts field­ing at least one hash­tag win­ning 12.6 per­cent more engage­ment.

Above all hash­tags fuel dis­cov­ery on the plat­form, allow­ing brands to cre­ate new avenues to niche groups and top­ics which they can tar­get. It pro­vides audi­ences with an organ­ic way to dis­cov­er brand­ed con­tent through areas of inter­est they may be search­ing and inter­act­ing with.

9. Location Tagging Positively Impacts Engagement

Posts tagged with a loca­tion received a whop­ping 79 per­cent high­er engage­ment. How­ev­er, inci­dences of loca­tion tag­ging amongst top brands was much rar­er in than hash­tag usage. When applic­a­ble, the prac­tice does pay off, with brands using loca­tion tag­ging aver­ag­ing 29 per­cent high­er in lev­els of engage­ment.

How Can Brand Become #Instamazing?

As cov­ered by Lisa Lacy, brands such as Mer­cedes are now using Insta­gram to launch high­ly cre­ative, inno­v­a­tive cam­paigns. The plat­form itself has proac­tive­ly tak­en steps to enable brands to engage is great brand sto­ry­telling, with a paid adver­tis­ing net­work, and chan­nel ana­lyt­ics being rolled out to enter­prise part­ners.

There is con­sid­er­able momen­tum in the dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing indus­try for brands using to be active on Insta­gram as part of their over­all mar­ket­ing strate­gies. It’s impor­tant for brands to adapt to the medi­um, and under­stand the way con­sumers are using and behav­ing on the plat­form so as to main­tain a sus­tained, pos­i­tive return for invest­ment on the chan­nel.

6 Key Takeaways For Brands Looking To Succeed On Instagram

Sim­ply Mea­sured con­clud­ed their report with six best prac­tices for brands:

  1. Main­tain a bal­anced post­ing cadence. Dai­ly post­ing is becom­ing the norm for most top brands.
  2. Opti­mize your cap­tions with the cor­rect length and @mentions.
  3. Test loca­tion tag­ging for a pos­si­ble boost in engage­ment.
  4. Use hash­tags to raise aware­ness among tar­get audi­ences.
  5. Men­tion influ­en­tial and rel­e­vant users in cap­tions to lever­age new audi­ences.
  6. Devel­op a prac­ti­cal and sophis­ti­cat­ed mea­sure­ment strat­e­gy.

You can down­load Sim­ply Mea­sured’s full Q3 2014 Insta­gram Study here.

Pat Hong

Written by Pat Hong

Editor at Linkdex/Inked, Linkdex

Pat covers the SEO industry, digital marketing trends, and anything and everything around Linkdex. He also authors Linkdex's data analysis and reports, analysing the state of search in various industries.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

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