Here at the official blog of Amplitude Digital, we spent a good bit of time, space and energy in 2013 detailing the many successes and innovations of pioneering, popular social media sites Twitter and Facebook.
And with good reason. From Twitter’s wildly successful debut on the New York Stock Exchange to the launch of the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings to the “Facebook is failing marketers” broadside launched by a Forrester Research analyst and beyond, there sure was a lot to talk, post, share and Tweet about involving the two most talked-about social media platforms in 2013.
But now, we’re officially into 2014. And here, in the New Year, an entirely different social media platform may very well begin to claim more and more of the market and mindshare of the American public:
As we also chronicled closely here in this space in 2013, the future of digital marketing is more and more mobile. And when it comes to mobile-first social networks, it’s hard to top (or stop) Instagram, which officially got started in 2010, but really picked up major momentum in 2013.
Instagram offers its users the ability to not only snap and share photos and videos, but to apply a variety of cool, creative, stylish filters to those images – and to do it all with just a few quick taps on your touchscreen iPhone or Android smartphone (hence, the “insta” in Instagram). If you have a smartphone with camera capabilities – and most Americans in 2014 do – you can easily install and use Instagram. And much like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram usage can get downright addicting, quite quickly.
This quick-strike, easy-to-use ability – coupled with the “everyone-else-is-doing it-cool-factor” – helps explain in large part what Pew Research Center reported in its latest social media study. According to this study, entitled “Social Media Update 2013,” Instagram is now used by a full 17% of the U.S. online population, a marked increase from 13% the previous year. This figure puts it just a hair shy of Twitter’s reach (18%), and its penetration is growing at a faster rate than Twitter, which went from 16% to 18% over the same period.
And that’s just Instagram’s overall usage. When you look at the rate of usage among young adults, the Pew Research Center data reveals a stunning 37% penetration, up nearly 10% from 28% the previous year. African-American users (34%) are also especially well represented on the photo- and video-sharing network.
That’s OK, however, because Facebook actually owns Instagram, having purchased the white-hot social media network from its founders for a cool $1 billion in April of 2012.
(Twitter reportedly attempted to buy Instagram too, even offering $525 million, according to some reports.)
Besides, the Pew Research report reveals that Facebook still enjoys a massive 71% reach, which is still easily the deepest penetration of any social media network. Facebook may have lost some of its “swag” in 2013, but it didn’t really lose much of its overall audience – and hence, it retains most of its already incredible power, reach and influence in American culture, communication and marketing.
Even better for the two co-owned social networks is news that Facebook and Instagram enjoy the greatest “engagement” of any of the social networks. An incredible 63% of Facebook users say they check their feeds on a daily basis (with 22% doing so weekly), and some 57% of Instagram users open their app daily (with 20% checking in on a weekly basis).
With more than 150 million monthly active users and rising, and more than half of that massive number checking their Instagram feeds at least once a day, it’s a no-brainer that we’ll start to see advertising efforts on Instagram sometime soon in 2014.
In fact, Instagram (which has jokingly been dubbed “Hipstagram” by some of the wittier amongst us) brought Emily White over from Facebook in 2013, naming her Director of Business Operations. White told the Wall Street Journal this past summer that Instagram will in fact begin selling ads sometime in 2014, and those ads could initially reside on the “Discover” tab, where the “Popular” and “Search” pages reside. White was also an early employee at Google (back when the company had just 200 or so employees), and helped build Google Ads before leaving to join Facebook in 2010. At Facebook, White’s duties largely focused on building up that social network’s mobile operations.
We’d also, as always, advise you to stay focused on the big picture when it comes to social networking, and advertising on social media. To learn how to jump right into social media advertising and get your brand humming along online in no time, download our FREE ebook by clicking this link. You can also download our FREE ebook on Twitter marketing by clicking this link.
You can also follow Amplitude Digital on Twitter right now. And be sure to check back here at the official blog of Amplitude Digital each and every week. We regularly cover many topics related to Twitter and Facebook, along with other social media news, tips and insights.
We look forward to keeping things social in 2014…and beyond. Online and off.
Have an awesome year. And keep in touch!