Since being purchased by Facebook, Instagram has seen some pretty impressive growth, hitting over 100 million users. But does it translate into anything tangible? Can Instagram, and Facebook, make money?
Yes. Yes they can, especially given how brand engagement has been trending in recent months.
A new study from business data analytics company Simply Measured has found that 54% of the world's top 100 brands are now on Instagram.
While it still lags behind all other social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, Instagram has also seen the largest growth in August, going up from 40%, a growth rate of 35%. That beats Pinterest's 24% growth, and the 5% growth that Google+ has seen.
The top brands on Instagram are MTV, Satarbucks, Burberry, Nike, Gucci, Tiffany and Co, Audi and GE. Each one has over 100,000 followers, and together these eight brands control 92% of engagement.
The brand with the largest amount of likes and comments is MTV, though it is beaten by Burberry for the largest number of photos.
Tiffany and Co. saw the largest amount of quarter to quarter growth on Instagram, by far, more than doubling with 101%. It was followed by Gucci, which saw 82% growth.
The study also found that overall usage has climbed in the last quarter as well. 34% of these brands are now posting at least 1 photo per week, up from 26% one quarter ago. In August, only 17% of the accounts had 10,000 fans or more, now 20% do. As for accounts with 20,000 or more fans, that category has grown by 29%.
"With engagement inspired by content sharing through their new parent company Facebook, Instagram has graduated from 'a fun new social network' to an integral component for marketing in the social space," the report says.
When Facebook purchased Instagram in April, it did not take long to see why. That same month Instagram also launched its Android app, saw its user numbers jump by 10 million in 10 days, and cracked the top 10 fastest growing sites in the United States for March, jumping 19% in a single month.
In April, Instagram's unique visitors shot up 78% to 14.5 million, from 8.2 million unique visitors in March, making it the fastest-growing Web property.
In a conference call after Facebook's most recent earnings report, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Instagram "a platform success story.”
Instagram had 27 million registered users when it was purchased, he said, and it now has 100 million. Zuckerberg said that more mobile time spent on instagram than on Twitter.
During Hurrican Sandy last week, Instagram joined Twitter and Facebook as one of the go-to social networks for updates about the storm. During the height of the hurricane, people posted 10 pictures every second.
Given that type of engagement, its no wonder brands want in on the action.
(Image source: http://web.stagram.com)