Instagram is a Surprisingly Effective Big Data Source

Instagram is a powerful social media platform that brands are using to engage followers and collect data on consumers trends.

March 2, 2018
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Instagram is a behemoth in the world of social media. There are more than 800 million active users on it every month. 51 percent of this user base accesses it on a daily basis. 95 million photos and videos get uploaded to the platform each day. Since its inception in 2010, there have been over 40 billion photos and videos shared in total.

It becomes more and more staggering the closer you look at it all. So, it’s no wonder that businesses have set their sights on Instagram as a resource for mining big data. The information and insights gained from it have proven an invaluable resource for personalized marketing and research.

Instagram is a Treasure Trove of Big Data

“The amount of data being created every hour on Instagram is, quite frankly, mind-boggling to comprehend,” said Sabrina Edwards, a customer support agent at ViralUpgrade, a service that assists brands with growing their audience.

She added further, “Our analytics teams are constantly inundated with more data than they actually need or have uses for. There’s untold depths to what you can find out by looking through it all.”

Edwards had some advice for any businesses on where to start with assessing this data:

Take a moment for a little self-reflection. The first step is figuring out your needs and goals as a business. Perhaps there’s some sort of issue you’re struggling with that data could shed a light on? From there, you can figure out which information sources are most pertinent to the problem you want to solve.

It was also suggested to take a look at the areas where your business has done well on Instagram.

Successes shouldn’t just be taken without any analysis,” Edwards said. “There is likely something in their data that you can use to duplicate them, and possibly even improve on their formula.

Many Instagram Users Don’t Use Other Social Media

What some don’t realize is that their Instagram audiences are often unique from any other social network,” said Thomas Jones, a customer support agent at ViralRace, a tool that sends Instagram posts out to users who are most inclined to engage with it. “There’s a surprising number of people on Instagram who don’t use Facebook or Twitter at all.

This means that there are many unique demographics that you can interact with and learn from. Jones recommended experimenting with approaches and gauging with analytics how certain audience groups react. Performing these investigations could help you optimize strategies for attracting specific types of viewers.

It’s not just that Instagram users are often isolated from other social media platforms, but they engage with brands much more heavily. Every day around 200 million Instagram users will visit the profile page of a business. And they stick around. 80% of all Instagram users follow at least one business with a presence on the platform. These stats reveal that Instagram users are far more receptive to messaging from brands than most users on other social media networks.

There may be a compelling reason for this. Instagram is all about the visuals. Corporate marketing teams have digital asset teams that commission and secure compelling images. Then these images are touched up and sent out to their Instagram channel.

We’re visual creatures, and corporate art is a powerful force. It’s hard not to love refined, happy images of people enjoying themselves – even if there is a product placement. So it feels less like an advertising channel, and more like visually pleasing art.

Sources of Data on Instagram

Like any social media network, Instagram is all about sharing. And consumers share their information with the brands on Instagram, oftentimes unwittingly. Your company needs to leverage this information.

There are a lot of different parts to Instagram to consider. It’s a very multifaceted platform in that regards,” says Alissa Verland, a customer service agent at SocialDrift. “Data can be drawn and analyzed from any number of places.

Interactions with Your Instagram Posts Reveal Consumer Insights

For instance, you can look at the performance of your own posts. This could involve measuring the likes and comments you received, along with any new followers that resulted from people visiting your profile through the post. Then you could dive further into the demographics of the people who interacted with it, sorting them into categories to figure out who it appealed to the most.

Survey Instagram Users That You Identify as Valuable – How, When and What Do They Interact With?

Then there many other elements on the website itself you can explore, like hashtags and geotags. These can be used to gain a better understanding of your audience’s demographics and the trends they follow.

You could also look at the hours in which there are peak activity among your desired audience segments. This could help you figure out a schedule that maximizes your visibility and chances of interaction with a target audience for a specific product or service that you offer.

Cornell Used AI Data Collection to Isolate Instagram Fashion Trends

A lot of interesting information can be taken from the visual content on Instagram alone.

A study was conducted by researchers at Cornell University that used Instagram photos to track patterns in clothing across cultures over time. They were able to collect a massive amount of data about changes in fashion and emerging preferences within regions. This included which colors and styles became predominant, and which items were popular during certain seasons.

It’s easy to see how beneficial this data could be to clothing brands. Having access to it could affect their decisions in developing products and planning campaigns.

Instagram Stories is a potential treasure trove of data too. For example, a business can use it to gauge reactions to certain types of ads. All they would need to do is look at which stories engaged viewers, and which ones users tended to skip. That knowledge could then be utilized to make more effective ads.

In conclusion, there are endless possibilities waiting to be tapped on Instagram, that much is clear. It’s a complex platform with many distinct dimensions yet to be fully uncovered. Any business willing to invest their time and resources into excavating and examining its data are surely to be rewarded for their efforts.