There are now over 500,000 businesses actively advertising on Instagram

As more small firms utilise the platform to build their brand and "turn passions into purchases", is your business making the most of Instagram?

One year after launching its advertising streams for businesses, Instagram has announced today that it now has over 500,000 businesses actively advertising on its platform – more than double that of six months ago – with the UK one of its top five markets for advertising.

Announcing its latest milestones at a breakfast event held by Instagram this morning, Amy Cole; head of brand development EMEA, revealed that the social media giant has achieved over one billion actions related to its ads including link clicks, downloads and more, and has opened up its advertising from eight countries to 200.

See also: How to utilise Instagram for business

Since the launch of Instagram Business Tools two months ago, the platform has seen 1.5 million businesses convert their pages into a business profile, proof, Cole says, of the “strength and power Instagram has to help businesses”.

Cole also revealed the findings of recent research of its user base which shows that 50% of ‘Instagrammers’ follow a business while 60% have learnt about a new product or service using Instagram as a discovery platform.

Discussing Instagram’s progress since it opened up its advertising platform last September, Cole said:

“Half a billion people are now using Instagram, they’re coming to connect with people around the world. 80% of users are outside the US.  […] Instagram is now really looking at how we can get brands to engage. […] We’ve done a lot of work on flexibility and the way businesses can tell their story. […] We launched business tools [two months ago] which has just been incredible. We’ve seen over 70% of the direct response campaigns we’ve run generate an uplift in direct action. […] Instagram ads are actually working and driving business but it’s only early days. […] We’re not done yet!”

For businesses that aren’t sure of how to capitalise on Instagram to promote their brand, Cole explained that Instagram is investing in marketing and email campaigns to help businesses understand what ‘good’ looks like on the platform. You can also visit business.instagram. com for inspiration and case studies.

At the breakfast event, Startups.co.uk also heard from three start-up brands – Vinaya, Floom, and SilkFred – on how they’ve used Instagram to promote their business. Floom founder Lana Elie explained that before launching her florist-based tech business in February of this year, she actually created an Instagram account for Floom to test whether it had market potential and said that Instagram, over every other social medium, worked best given that her brand is “very visual”.

So how can you use Instagram to promote your business? Here are a few steps, as outlined by the Instagram team:

  • Create a business account for free (you can can convert an existing account into a business account and retain all your photos and videos)
  • Create adverts which provide an element of “story-telling”, pricing for ads is auction-based. A call to action button is available for every ad and the Instagram team claim that they’ve seen business’ performance improve by 45% via the call to action button.
  • Utilise Instagram’s carousel advertising and create videos to appear in these carousel ads – “If a photo is worth 1,000 words than a video is worth 10,000”.
  • Use Instagram’s business tools which features analytics to gain insights into organic content and gain additional functionality.

On closing the event, the Instagram team noted: “Using Instagram, a big company and a small company have the same tools – it gives them a level playing field. Small businesses always have to promote who they are and every single bit of their marketing budget has to count for something. Instagram ads allow them to tell their story.”

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