Marketing on Instagram: an untapped resource
One of the world’s best-loved social media channels, Instagram, recently announced that its advertising base had more than doubled over the last six months, now exceeding 500,000.
The image-sharing platform has also seen around 1.5 million users switch to its ‘Business Tools’ programme, since its launch earlier this year, giving users instant, one-click access to brands. Not only are consumers able to get a business’s contact information, but they can even get directions from their current location. Business users are also able to gain information on what resonates well with their customers with Instagram Insights, and see the impact that their posts have in terms of impressions.
As a business, you don’t just want to exist in the Instagram space, you want to add value, generate awareness and increase revenue. So, with the 500 million-user app firmly on the radar, what can marketers do to measure the success it’s bringing to their brand?
Value comments over clicks
One of the very first metrics marketing teams can look at is the level of engagement being achieved. Just as you would on other social channels, such as Twitter or Facebook, make a point of evaluating your interactions.
When it comes to Instagram, some believe it’s all about the number of likes you get for photos. However, a like is easy, but a comment is more valuable. Almost 99 percent of interactions come in the form of likes, with comments only accounting for roughly 1.1 percent.
Comments take longer to write and require some thought, meaning whatever you have posted has sparked a reaction from those it’s reaching. Think about the content you’re posting and work out how best to entice a response from people. It might be that you run an Instagram-based competition, asking users to comment and re-share content, or that you move beyond posting just images, engaging video as an additional extra. Moving images are an even more engaging way to grab the attention of your audience and Instagram’s introduction of video app Boomerang enables users to bring everyday moments to life.
If you notice that the number of comments on your content begins to increase, you’ve successfully boosted your engagement, but remember, not all comments will be 100 percent positive. In a study of 100 top brands using the app, engagement per post has grown 53 percent year-on-year. In fact, B2B brands see 20 times more engagement on Instagram than on LinkedIn, a platform solely designed for business interactions.
Watch the clock
Marketers getting the most out of Instagram are those that not only consider the ‘who, what, where, why’, but also the ‘when’.
An Instagram post typically has a lifeline of around four hours before it’s buried on a persons feed, making them a lot less likely to see it at all. For brands, this means choosing the time you know the majority of those you’re trying to reach will most likely have eyes on their feed.
The average Instagram user is likely to interact with a brand either first thing in the morning between 8.00 and 9.00 am (checking their phone before or on the way to work), during lunch at 1.00 pm, or in the evening at 5.00 pm (just as they finish work). Knowing this information, but more importantly using it, will help marketers develop a posting timeline that will be most effective.
By keeping track of your most engaged posts and the times they were published, you will begin to see a clear pattern of activity and pin point your audiences optimum time.. Getting an idea of what content works best, at what time for y our brand, means you’re one step closer to connecting with your target audience.
By Heidi Myers, Director of Marketing EMEA at Meltwater
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”