Marko Saric posted on 21 February 2017
Welcome to our first Instagram monthly growth and engagement study of the year 2017!
We’ll start with a month-by-month performance of the year 2016 and the numbers from January 2017.
Then we’ll focus on the latest news and updates.
Let’s get started.
First a quick summary of the follower growth and engagement rate we’ve seen on the platform during the year 2016 when doing our monthly studies.
Follower growth has continued to decline throughout the year.
In January 2017 the follower growth was at 0.09% of the total audience. The engagement rate recovered a bit in the second half of the year 2016, but in January 2017 it’s back at 0.9% of the audience engaging with a post on average. These are the full stats.
We’ve discussed the decline in growth, engagement and sharing throughout the last year. The platform became more impersonal, more brands and celebrities joined and started posting more frequently, and users posted less in order to only focus on the most beautiful and overproduced moments.
According to Kevin Weil, Instagram’s head of product: “It became a place where people kept raising the bar on themselves in terms of the quality of what they had to achieve to post. We didn’t want that.”
Instagram took the negative trends seriously and worked hard on evolving and changing the product. Kevin Systrom, founder of Instagram said: “Your connections with your friends and your family are the thing that make Instagram work. All the data supports that if you follow more friends and engage with your friends, your activity goes through the roof. If you just follow more celebrity content or more interest-based content, that doesn’t move the needle at all”.
It seems all the hard work has paid off. 600 million people are active on Instagram every month. The last 100 million were added in the past 6 months only. This is the fastest growth rate in the history of Instagram.
150 million users are using the Instagram Stories every day. That’s just as many users as Snapchat has. There are reports on the decline of Snapchat Stories view counts from 15 to 40% and a decrease in publishing activity too.
Instagram has succeeded in reinvented itself. Systrom said: “In the last couple months, with ranked feed and Stories, people are sharing more now than ever on a per-person basis, and more people are sharing in total. We have more people sharing every single day than ever before.”
Seems like all the new features have worked in getting people not only to stick with the platform, but have worked in attracting a new audience too. We’ll keep an eye on the latest growth and engagement stats in our monthly studies throughout the year 2017.
Instagram Stories are catching up on Snapchat in terms of creative tools. Live Stories have now been launched globally.
It’s now possible to improve the photos and videos you publish to Stories by including stickers that display location names, time, weather, and emojis. The one-touch no-hands option for recording of videos is here too.
You can now also add unlimited text boxes too. The previous limit was one text box per story. And you can now also download the last 24-hours of your Stories updates. Instagram Stories analytics are now available too under the “Insights” tab. You can view the number of impressions on Stories, the number of reach, how many replies you got, and also the number of times someone exited your story.
Video advertising has been launched within Stories. They are full-screen, auto-playing, mid-roll video ads. They can be liked, commented on and shared. Ads can be photos too, and brands can easily turn their organic stories into promoted ads. Analytics will be included too with metrics such as number of views and number of comments.
30 brands including Airbnb and Nike are involved in the trials of the video ads. The test is planned to last 2-3 weeks before the ads are made available to all the advertisers in all the global markets. Brands have posted one third of the most popular Stories since the new launch of the feature.
Instagram is the platform to beat right now. People are there, the growth is there, the engagement is happening, and the creative (and advertising) tools are available to all. Post great content frequently and take advantage of the relevant hashtags in order to grow your reach.
Get creative resources integrated within your team. To succeed you need to have creative photographers, videographers, designers, and storytellers as part of your team. Without posting interesting multimedia in the ranked feed or in the stories you don’t have much chance of getting attention to yourself.
Advertising in Stories is opening to all brands across the globe. Getting on this early might produce great results for you and it’s certainly worth to put some budget to test and experiment with video ads in these early days.