Despite the prevalence of social media, the most popular platforms never seem to get the best reputation, even amongst their avid users. Twitter is viewed with skepticism. YouTube is the wild west of the comments sections. And Facebook is in the business of making people feel horrible about their lives.
However, there’s one platform that never get lumped in this category and that’s Instagram.
Unlike Facebook, people don’t go through periods of needing an ‘Instagram break’ or feel the need to unfollow a bunch of people so they’re only seeing pictures of their real friends.
In fact, on the whole, Instagram users tend to feel pretty positive about the photo sharing platform and as a result, it’s steadily been increasing in popularity, particularly with the key demographic of millennials.
So how is it that Instagram is beating all the rest, especially Facebook as the social media platform of choice? Let’s look at three key features:
Unlike Facebook, only Instagram users can add to their own pages, giving them total control and ownership over the content posted on their own page. The activity of others is restricted to commenting in a small section to the side or liking the photo. This means that, you don’t get the endless happy birthday wishes from middle school friends and relatives you barely know, or the panic that sets in when Mom doesn’t accidentally sees a post from your drunk friend.
What this tells us is that millennials are looking for a balance between being able to be active on social media whilst also preferring to feel a degree of privacy and strong sense of content control.
Since Instagram is all about photos and videos instead of building connections, it tends to be viewed as a platform of positive content and not one of judgement. The structure of the interface doesn’t allow much room for lengthy posts about how great your life is and it’s almost impossible to have a heated political debate on Instagram.
Facebook users, on the other hand, often report feeling like it’s a social competition and that there is significant pressure to post content that increases their worth to others. The fact that millennials are moving away from the traditional networking forms of social media platform tells us that they’re actively seeking out opportunities for positive, low-pressure interactions, even if it means fewer connections and interactions with others.
Where Facebook tends to be limited to personal connections and interactions, Instagram users happily take advantage of the fact that they can follow companies, celebrities, museums, artists, travel sites, fashion gurus, fitness experts and just about anything else they want to see on a daily basis. Because people tend to follow the things they really like, the ad content can looks carefully curated for those people’s social interests. This means that there is a higher watch rate for ads that people get on Instagram and therefore high sales conversions. While Facebook has similar ad targeting capabilities, the content usually has to be really good in order to get people’s attention and tends to only result in successful sales conversions when a professional marketing company is behind the design.
Right now, with its positivity and capabilities for curation and control, Instagram is poised to be the social media platform of choice for the most coveted marketing demographic today.
But just before you start to feel sorry for Facebook, remember that in April of 2012, they bought Instagram for $1 billion. Recognizing its value, Facebook decline to integrate Instagram features into the parent company and have let it develop an as independent platform. It’s a great lesson in recognizing the value of an acquisition and when to leave a good thing alone.