As everyone’s favorite image-sharing platform, Instagram reaches 700 million users proving itself to be – maybe – the most useful social network.
Little wonder new Grammers are flocking to the app and platform every day. This 700 million user level was reached only four months after hitting the 600 million user club and less than a year after hitting the 500 million mark.
Not only that but 400 million of those Instagrammers check the app daily and 80 percent of them are to be found outside the U.S. Only Daddy Facebook, sisters WhatsApp and Messenger and China’s WeChat have more users. And, yea, if you didn’t know already Facebook owns Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
It’s not hard to figure out why Instagram is growing at such a rapid pace. In addition to its overall usefulness as a social network (let alone creative opportunities unrivaled by any other platform) Instagram has successfully copied and improved upon revolutionary-ish features pioneered by Snapchat.
For the individual user it’s not only functional but a whole lot of fun. For digital marketeers it’s a very valuable tool for content marketing.
— Instagram (@instagram) April 26, 2017
But as we’ve written before we’re still waiting for Instagram to become the truly – and singularly spectacular platform it could be for digital marketing.
Instagram offered a glimmer of hope for a deeper overall marketing experience in November when it announced it would start allowing live links in some Instagram posts – again, for a select few. The links are only for verified accounts and what viewers see is a bar across the bottom of a post which reads, “see more.” User click on the bar to be taken to a landing page.
One of the few drawbacks to the otherwise very useful and engaging platform is the inability to post a live link to a website landing page within the image sharing app itself. You can post links and they become live links when shared simultaneously to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Swarm (Foursquare), Flickr – even VKontakte, Ambeba & OK.ru. But they remain useless as live links on the Instagram app itself. Such a wasted opportunity.
Also in November, Instagram added the ability to mention others in Instagram Stories, incorporate it’s fun little GIF app, Boomerang into Stories and, in an even bigger advancement which hasn’t gotten much buzz (for some unknown reason), introduced direct shopping through Instagram.
Make Instagram more useful for digital marketeers
But – once again – Instagram could make some even better, relatively simple advancements and become truly among the very most effective social networks for digital marketing.
Posting a photo or video to Instagram creates all kinds of opportunities to be creative. Users can let their inner artist run wild. It’s cross-platform opportunities are signficant, too. An Instagram post can immediately also be posted to Facebook (of course), Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Swarm (Foursquare) and with just a touch more effort (manually) to even more networks (GooglePlus, Pinterest for example).
One really big – and seemingly simple – enhancement would be to make added web links live within the regular app.
Oh sure, web links can be added to Instagram posts (along with your million hashtags) but they aren’t live within the app. They do become live links when one shares the same Instagram post to the other networks. But they remain simply a dead bunch of shortlink jumbled characters within the Instagram app itself.
The network took a huge leap forward in 2015 when it added to its app the ability to switch back and forth between accounts within the app.
A few more simple tweaks would be useful, too.
And how about resharing, reposting friends’ photos within the app? Would that be so hard? You can, of course, repost your friends’ photos but you need a separate app for that. Seems silly not to have resharing within the Instagram app itself.
Okay, and while you’re at it, what would be so wrong with making your web client a little more useful? Would it be so bad, as an example, if users could upload photos of videos (even YouTube videos) to the web client? Seriously, in the grand scheme of things, would this shift the polar dynamics of the earth?