Submitted by admin on Mon, 02/19/2018 - 07:03

Nikhil Shahane, Chief Operating Officer, 21N78E Creative Labs talks about how Instagram is slowly becoming the preferred medium for advertisers and marketers. Shahane believes Instagram has the potential to become the Facebook-equivalent in the future


Chief Operating Officer, 21N78E Creative Labs

If you’re an advertiser, marketer or anyone who has any product or service to sell, Facebook has become the top digital destination to flog your wares. From global MNCs to small businesses, everyone has tried to use Facebook as a medium to advertise – albeit with varying degrees of success. And in light of Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement “…you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media”, there’s a big storm brewing within marketing & social media divisions.

Clearly, this isn’t good for business, so what gives? **cue drumroll** Enter Instagram!

From the getgo, Instagram has been the poster child of the tech world. Right from being the fastest growing platform to having the highest engagement rate on any platform, Instagram has been loved by business houses and consumers alike. Here are a few reasons why I believe Instagram will be the Facebook of the (near) future:

• We all knew organic reach was dead. Paid reach seems to be going down the same route. Time will tell if there’s some magic formula for how to game Facebook’s up and coming algorithm, but for now, it’s time to look for opportunities elsewhere.

• Anecdotally, Facebook is becoming an ‘older’ person’s preferred choice of Social Media platform. Facebook is now 14 years old. So if you’re reading this and thinking that you were one of the early adopters of Facebook, congratulations! You’re old! Most of the research we’ve done in the Metro & Tier I cities in India seem to show that younger people prefer Instagram, as Facebook is where their parents, aunts and uncles hang out (that’s us). Bonus WTFact – 65% of India is now under 35 years of age and by 2020, the average age is going to be 29 – definitely making a younger and more vibrant platform the port of call for younger Indians as they get their hands on smartphones.

• With the highest engagement rates, Instagram is already a preferred platform for many brands. With Facebook’s targeting capabilities and constant innovation (copying Snapchat?) Instagram is giving advertisers new things to do on Instagram. Gone are the days when Instagram was only about visual porn – it’s a great platform for commerce too!

• Facebook will introduce all the ad formats (and more) to Instagram that brands have grown accustomed to. Many have already found their way there and there are always new little features that Facebook is adding all the time.

• As Whatsapp gets into the payments game, expect a lethal combo of FB targeting + Instagram engagement rates + Whatsapp payments which will definitely be killing people’s monthly pay checks and making big brands and businesses very happy.

• Instagram is an open platform, unlike Facebook. This makes it a much better platform for influencer marketing – the one thing Facebook lacked. Influencers are already big on Instagram. Combine this with Shopads on Instagram and you have a winner. There is also a good possibility that Instagram might regulate how influencers use their platform – much like YouTube had done a few years ago with content creators. (Revenue share, maybe?)

• The biggest reason I think this shift is going to happen is because of Facebook being Facebook. Since they opened up the social network to brands and businesses, they’ve been consistently inconsistent about what they’d like to do with the platform. It has been more reactive than proactive (‘news feed’ and ‘trending’ are Twitter’s ideas for the record). With Mark Zuckerberg’s recent statements, though, it seems like they’d like to go back to their original purpose, but time will tell if they can hold their course or something forces their hand to change their mind again.

In summary, Instagram is probably going to be the default port of call for advertisers in 2018. So better get cracking with your revised digital/social strategies!


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