News•Business• 05.11.2019 • Natalie A. Gerhardstein (in Lisbon)
Over 200m Instagrammers visit at least one business daily, and one-third of the most viewed Instagram stories are from brands.
Brands are struggling to keep up with visual content and leverage the power of Instagram.
For Shutterstock’s Luc Berlin, speaking during a Web Summit workshop on Tuesday, “Instagram is essential to business”--and will be increasingly so in the year ahead. Instagram was the second most downloaded free app in 2018, after YouTube and just ahead of Snapchat. Moreover, the average time users spend on mobile devices is three hours a day, with around 80 phone checks per day. “The conundrum is you’re having more and more people needing to be entertained, yet the attention span is decreasing,” Berlin pointed out, adding that companies need to make a convincing pitch in under six seconds.
According to research he presented, by 2021 some 78% of total mobile data will be video, and by 2021 it’s expected there will be a ninefold increase in mobile video, compared to 2016. “If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million ideas,” Berlin adds.
For Berlin, there are four main challenges that exist when it comes to developing brands, particularly on Instagram. Not only can it be difficult to create authentic, exclusive content, but scalable resourcing can be difficult. Questions also arise within companies on the quality and quantity of that content, not to mention who they should trust as partners.
Over 200m Instagrammers visit at least one business daily, and one-third of the most viewed Instagram stories are from brands. The stories feature is in fact expected to play a more important role in future, too.
So how can the creative process be simplified, and what are leading brands doing to scale their production?
Quick hits: repurpose content, leverage stories
Berlin proposed a few suggestions for starters. Existing content can easily be repurposed, by converting it to motion to add “lightweight video elements”--using Gif, Cinemagraph, Parallax, to name a few--which can bring isolated elements to life or take advantage of “natural motion” already in a photo but which isn’t currently moving because the content is static. Berlin also proposes turning mobile video into multiple formats, which can transition then between Instagram or Facebook feeds.
The “stories” feature can also be leveraged, but Berlin says companies should take time to really build a strategy: think about objectives, resources, brand personality, how success will be measured, and also narratives to suit that strategy.
A successful case study for Berlin was the Mariott Rewards programme, which used Instagram stories to showcase hotspots that were trending, so members of their rewards programme have access to experiences they couldn’t get elsewhere.
The strategy paid off: the programme, which captured around 100 stories and garnered 7.2m unique views, scaled across a global portfolio to feature over 80 destinations in six continents.