Instagram surpasses Twitter on mobile -- proving a pic is worth 7.3M daily users

Molly McHugh,, 9/27/12

AllThingsD reports that smartphone users visited Instagram more often and for longer periods of time that they did Twitter during August. Instagram had an average of 7.3 million daily active users, while Twitter had approximately 6.9 million. What's more, the average Instagrammer spent 257 minutes on the mobile app, while the average Twitter user spent 169.9 minutes. The news is simultaneously surprising and completely not. Twitter is a social media veteran with an app that's been around for years. But Instagram has had an almost magical, inexplicable rise to the top of the social networking sphere: Its user numbers are on an unstoppable ascent -- people really, truly, honestly gravitate toward it and that type of engagement is hard to manufacture. The mobile numbers clearly prove as much. So while Twitter might be able to brag about its mobile ad reach, Facebook has an incredible value in Instagram. It's currently not being utilized for marketing or brand-pushing services, but this report clearly means that there's potential to leverage the eyeballs and time spent on Instagram.


Commentary: Smile, Broadway! You're on Instagram.

James Sims, Huffington Post, 10/1/12

Facebook is so over. At least, that's what a college-age coworker told me this summer while discussing arts marketing. The mega social network may be waning with a younger demographic, but a recent Facebook acquisition is growing exponentially: Instagram. "We're seeing a consumer movement toward a more visual culture brought on by technology," wrote Antony Young on And that's where the Broadway community has the upper hand. Nearly everything that makes up the live theater community screams visuals. [But] log onto Instagram at 8pm, and you'll see the dark side of photo sharing amongst theatergoers -- snapshots of the stage, sometimes taken during the production. In the Broadway community, that kind of activity can be troublesome. "The scenery is intellectual property, much like a book, or a song," Beowulf Boritt, a scenic designer, told "While you may not be doing anything nefarious with your snapshots, if they end up on the web, that visual information is available to anyone with a quick Google search, and the designs can essentially be stolen." What is a marketing person to do? If they are doing their job correctly, they scan everything from Twitter to Instagram in search of mentions of their product. Should photos taken inside a theater be considered negative? It's a question the Broadway community needs to re-evaluate -- quickly. An image strategy is now becoming necessary. "Being able to connect with consumers at this scale is not something to be sniffed at," writes Broadway's Newsies has already taken the right step in activating free Wi-Fi in the theater during intermission. Imagine what kind of buzz could be harnessed.


Commentary: 5 ways to grow your company's exposure with Instagram

Jim Tobin, Social Media Examiner, 8/22/12 [hat tip to Rebecca Coleman]  Wondering if the rapidly growing Instagram photo sharing community could benefit your business? Like all communities, you need to do it right to be accepted.

#1: Discover how you are pictured as a company. Part of joining any community is listening first. For many brands, there are already hundreds or even thousands of pictures of your products. Discover photos either in the Instagram app itself, under Explore > Hashtags or in one of the websites that provides an online version of Instagram, like Webstagram or Statigram. You'll learn at least two things. First, you'll see which hashtags are the most popular for your brand. Second, you'll begin to see what kind of content your community already posts about your brand. This should give you a good sense of the type of content that will resonate with them.

#2: Create and promote your account. Instagram doesn't have brand pages right now, but they're not prohibited. Signing up is easy. Once you do that, it's time to promote your content. The first step is taking good pictures and using the right hashtag, but you can go well beyond that. Promote your account the way you promote your other channels like Facebook and Twitter.

#3: Use Instagram as your default photo app. Who has time for another social network? That's a reasonable question. But you already need to create content for your Twitter or Facebook account, and photo content should certainly be in the mix. Since sharing Instagram photos on Facebook and Twitter is so easy, use Instagram as your camera app when you take pictures for your brand. That way, you'll be feeding Instagram while you're feeding your other social channels.

#4: Aggregate your content. Instagram has an API, so any programmer can easily pull Instagram pictures into other assets to aggregate and display them any number of ways. You might do this on a Facebook tab, as A&E did for Longmire, a new [TV] drama they were working to promote.

#5: Host events or promotions for your community. Social promotions can be great ways to grow communities or increase brand awareness. Instagram is no exception. Running a promotion can be as simple as asking your fans to use a specific hashtag to have their photos reviewed. (Don't be too clever here, or fans may hijack your hashtag.) Instagram itself runs weekly promotions. Statigram offers a Contest Toolkit.


Commentary: How Instagram can help with nonprofit fundraising

Miratel Solutions website, 9/12/12

Although not your conventional social media platform and mainly accessible through a smart phone, [Instagram] has several benefits that nonprofits can take advantage of:

Over 50% of the application users are under age 35, a valuable and growing donor demographic. Instagram provides an excellent opportunity to engage and attract a very socially aware and connected supporter group that is also very philanthropic through this channel and that potentially may not be as accessible through other social media outlets.

Pictures you share through Instagram are more likely to be clicked as 25% of new visitors to Instagram were directly referred from other platforms Instagram pictures were posted on. This increases overall engagement and connects your supporters to more of your content, including your website where they can learn more about your cause.

Sharing through Instagram allows you to show your creativity. There are several ways the application can be used effectively, including sharing photographs covering behind the scenes of fundraising events or highlighting the staff and work that occurs at the office and those who benefit from it. It's also a great way to communicate updates from field work surrounding the cause or the organization's efforts. Lastly, encouraging others in your organization, volunteers, donors and supporters to participate by submitting pictures related to your cause will help strengthen engagement and loyalty.


Commentary: Is Instagram destroying or expanding the art of photography?

Lucas Kavner, Huffington Post, 9/18/12

Some visual-art purists are decrying the Instagram phenomenon. The site's detractors lament the ease with which people can call themselves "photographers" these days, simply by posting photos online using one of the platform's many filters. Chris Ziegler of The Verge recently derided the site for promoting what he calls "damaged" photos. In his review of a new photography exhibit in London, art critic Michael Glover wrote, "Photography has become so thoroughly prostituted as a means of visual exchange, available to all or none for every purpose under the sun (or none worthy of the name), that it is easy to forget that until recently one of the most important consequences of fearless photographic practice was to tell the truth about power." But Instagram doesn't claim such lofty aspirations. Its highest principle is community. You can choose to use the service to celebrate the artistry of your photos, but that's only one way to go. It's also a way for professional photographers to try out more off-the-cuff pieces. Peter Essick, a veteran photographer who primarily works for National Geographic, often uses the @natgeo Instagram page to showcase his work on assignment. Asked whether Instagram has compromised the integrity of photography in general, he dismissed the question itself. "A better question would be, has Instagram helped photographers reach more people with their work?"

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