Digiday+ Research deep dive: Brands, retailers increase their investments in Instagram
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As brands and retailers dole out their marketing spend through the end of the year and determine how the different social media platforms will play into their holiday marketing strategies, it’s important to know the value they place on each platform. And while brands are cutting down on their Facebook use, even as the platform continues to drive revenues and branding for them, the story looks quite different for its Meta sibling Instagram.
In fact, brands and retailers are actually upping their investments in Instagram this year. That’s according to Digiday+ Research surveys of over 100 brand and retailer professionals in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
Digiday’s surveys found that brands’ and retailers’ use of Instagram remains unchanged since last year. Eighty-eight percent of brand and retailer pros said this year that their brands posted content on Instagram in the last month, the same percentage who said so last year and down from 95% the year before.
This plateau could be indicative that, at this point in Instagram’s lifecycle, fewer brands and retailers are experimenting with the platform as a marketing channel. In other words, at this point, brands have either committed to including Instagram as part of their marketing strategies or decided to leave it behind — causing the percentage of brands and retailers who say they’re using the platform to stay the same from one year to the next.
To further illustrate the point, Digiday’s surveys found that most of the brands and retailers using Instagram are doing so every day this year, which is a significant change from last year’s survey. Exactly half of brand and retailer pros (50%) said this year that they post content to Instagram every day, up from just under a third (32%) last year. In comparison, 39% of brands and retailers said they post on Instagram at least once a week, and just 11% said they post at least once a month.
The increase in brands and retailers who said they post on the platform every day could be due to the fact that, at this point, brands know whether or not marketing on Instagram works for them. So those brands and retailers who have determined that Instagram is an effective marketing channel for them are committed to utilizing it — and posting on the platform on a daily basis.
Digiday’s surveys also found that brands and retailers are investing more in original content for Instagram than they were last year. Two-thirds of brand and retailer pros (66%) said this year that they invest a moderate amount or a lot in creating original content for Instagram, up from 56% last year.
In particular, there was a notable jump in the percentage of brands and retailers who said they spend a lot on original content for Instagram. One-third of brand and retailer pros (33%) said this year that they invest a lot in creating original content for Instagram, compared with just 16% last year. Although that 33% is still short of the 40% who said the same in 2021.
It is worth noting that this year, Digiday’s surveys found that there was an almost even division among the brands and retailers who said they spend a lot, a moderate amount and a little on creating original content for Instagram. Thirty-three percent of brand and retailer pros said they spend a lot on original content for the platform, 33% said they spend a moderate amount and 30% said they spend a little.
At the same time, brands and retailers are also increasing their ad spend on Instagram this year. Nearly three-quarters of brand and retailer pros (72%) told Digiday this year that their brands purchased advertising on Instagram in the past month, up from just under two-thirds (64%) last year.
Clearly, brands and retailers are finding that Instagram is a platform worth investing in when it comes to their marketing spend, whether it’s putting their resources toward creating original content for the platform or buying advertising there.
Brands’ and retailers’ increased investments in Instagram make sense when we look at how brand and retailer pros said the platform is acting as a revenue driver this year. According to Digiday’s surveys, the percentage of brands and retailers who said Instagram is valuable or extremely valuable to driving their revenues jumped significantly from last year to this year.
To be more specific, nearly three-quarters of brand and retailer pros (71%) told Digiday this year that Instagram is a valuable or extremely valuable revenue driver. That’s up fom slightly more than half (52%) last year.
A big part of that jump occurred among the brands and retailers who said Instagram is extremely valuable to driving their revenues. Just 16% of brand and retailer pros said last year that Instagram was extremely valuable to driving revenues. This year, that percentage shot to 39%.
Digiday’s surveys found that more brands and retailers said Instagram is valuable for branding this year. Eighty-nine percent of brand and retailer pros said this year that the platform is valuable or extremely valuable for their branding, up from 80% last year.
Similarly to how brands said they view Instagram as a revenue driver this year, the increase in the platform’s value to branding was due mostly to the “extremely valuable” category. This year, nearly two-thirds of brand and retailer pros (63%) told Digiday that Instagram is extremely valuable for branding. Last year, less than one-quarter (24%) said the same.
Another interesting note is that this year, 100% of brand and retailer pros said Instagram is at least somewhat valuable for branding. Although this isn’t far off from last year’s survey results, in which just 4% of respondents said the platform wasn’t very valuable for branding and zero respondents said it was not valuable at all for branding.
Digiday’s surveys saw similar results when it came to Instagram’s brand-appropriateness for brands and retailers this year. All respondents said this year that Instagram is at least somewhat appropriate to their brands, after 96% said the same last year.
And the jump in percentage of brand and retailer pros who said Instagram is extremely brand-appropriate was significant in this category too: After just under one-third of brands and retailers (32%) said the platform was extremely appropriate for their brands last year, almost two-thirds (63%) said so this year — illustrating even further the possible reasoning behind brands’ moves this year to up their investments in Instagram.
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