For Luxury Brands, Instagram Blows Pinterest Away

A new report on prestige brands says that Instagram is the Superman of social media, especially in terms of engagement.

“Instagram has demonstrated more traction than any other platform in 2013, and it registered the strongest year-on-year growth among mobile apps,” says Scott Galloway, founder of L2, a think tank for digital innovation, in its report. And with its clear strategy for monetization and “continual innovation, it's an obvious choice for consumer brands.”

The survey of 249 luxury brands finds that 93% are currently on Instagram, up from 63% in July of last year. And while it is just one-tenth the size of Facebook (which acquired it back in 2012), it has 15 times the level of user engagement that Facebook does. And Pinterest, about a third of Instagram’s size, has only about a third of the level of engagement that Instagram users do. All that “makes Instagram arguably the best tech acquisition of the past five years.”



That's all because of the intense involvement Instagram users have with the platform: They spend 257 minutes per month, with 57% interacting daily, and 35% more than once a day. Instagrammers are also highly coveted by luxury marketers -- 90% are 35 or younger; 68% are women; and affluent. (The report says 16% of online adults with  income of more than $75,000 are using Instagram.)

Retail and fashions brands dominate Instagram, with beauty brands the fastest-growing, and beauty also yields the greatest engagement. “It’s an evolved form of window shopping enabling users to see products on organic mannequins,” the report says. Cult beauty brands, including Urban Decay, Essie and Lush, “outperform the establishment.”

Luxury brands typically post an average six pictures and 0.38 videos per week; 43% say they update their brands more than once a day. And 63% link to Instagram from their brand site.

But with 60% of its users outside the U.S., the platform’s real power comes from Asia-Pacific. 

Thailand’s Siam Paragon mall is the most Instagrammed place in the world. In the last five months of 2013, use of luxury brands in Asia-Pacific quadrupled. Kuwait is also a burgeoning market, where fans use Instagram to sell everything from sheep to lipstick. 

Adding video presents some struggles, and right now, it accounts for only 4% of the platform’s content. But with a 15-minute video length (versus Vine’s six seconds), it’s better suited to advertising, the report says, adding that 9 out of 10 Instagram video shares occur on Facebook.

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