It’s easy to picture why Instagram is crucial for a marketer’s everyday media mix.

Although every social media platform has its benefits, I have recently been most excited to use Instagram — both personally and professionally. After reading the post on managing social brands as a team by Ros O’Brien in our December newsletter, I started thinking about why Instagram is such a beneficial, and exciting, social platform of our industry. I have continued to see a positive increase in business-to-consumer brands that use Instagram effectively to increase their visibility with current and potential customers.

Attracted to its visual engagement and storytelling capabilities, major brands and our own clients are increasing their advertising presence on the app for a variety of reasons:

Instagram Has a Huge User Base

Instagram recently surpassed over 700 million monthly active users and research projects that over 50% of all social network users will be using the app by 2018. Users are attracted to the platform’s simplicity, the visual nature of the app, and it’s fun and easy-to-use functions.

It Puts the Mobile Experience First

Today, mobile phones are the dominant way that people consume digital media, making it a very important (and necessary) component of every marketer’s advertising mix. Instagram is a “mobile first” user experience, rendering it a strong platform that allows brands to promote themselves easily to target audiences on a device that is already in the consumer’s pockets.

Love those Native Ads

Instagram’s well thought out, multi-ad formats are seamlessly integrated into a user’s news feed, without feeling intrusive or fake. Native advertising engagement rates are 40–60% higher than standard display ads.  You won’t find those numbers on other mobile apps.

Marketing to Millennials

Approximately 90% of Instagram’s audience is under the age of 35. Instagram allows marketers easy access to this very sought-after demographic. Brands are able to constantly communicate with their target markets on their own personal news feeds and continue to be up to date on what is trending.

Some Numbers that Might Surprise You

  • 77.6 million Instagram users are from the U.S.
  • Instagram is used by 31% of American women and 24% of American men
  • The average user spends 25 minutes a day on Instagram
  • It’s projected that over 70% of major brands will use Instagram by 2018

Something to remember about Instagram is that unlike Facebook and Twitter, the Instagram experience is primarily visual. Instagram is committed to keeping that experience unique and inside the app. There are very few links to external content on Instagram, except when marketing gets involved. Instagram allows embedded links in advertisements, giving marketers an advantage and increasing their engagement with consumers.

Tapping into the potential of Instagram is critical for marketers today. Pictures really do say a thousand words and Instagram helps drive social value, increase engagement with consumers, and puts visuals first.