Luxury Travel, Lifestyle and Marketing Trends

Instagram and ROI

instagram

Instagram has over 300 million users, about the same as Twitter, give or take a few million. Instagram marketing is the new darling of social media, in the news for its impact (or lack of) on sales of art, beauty and fashion products.  All about images, it certainly lends itself to travel and hotels. The question being asked is how effective is it in branding and sales?

I use both to promote my personal blog, www.miamicurated.com  on food, fashion and culture (and some travel) in Miami, though am newer to Instagram.  Twitter has been one of the top drivers of traffic to the blog, but the jury is still out on Instagram.  Its effectiveness in driving traffic to a blog or website was a subject of discussion in one of the travel blogger forums. I asked one  of the members who amassed 5000 followers about the benefits and her answer is that conversions to subscribers or increasing blog visitors is minimal.

So what’s the benefit? Here are recent excerpts from an excellent article in Digiday where beauty and fashion brands, among the top users and boosters, are quoted as saying they are betting their social marketing dollars and resources on Instagram over any other platform. 98 percent of L2’s top fashion brands are on Instagram as of this month, and 95 percent of beauty brands are on the platform — up from 75 percent and 78 percent in October 2013.

For beauty and fashion brands, engagement and interactions are higher on Instagram compared to any other platform. As of the second quarter of the year, of the 67 top fashion brands on social media, engagement is up 77 percent, while frequency of posting has shot up from just over 8 posts a week to 10 posts a week.

While Facebook still attracts the lion’s share of paid advertising (82 percent of marketers surveyed by Forrester say they currently pay for ads on the site), brands are increasingly flocking to Instagram. About 46 percent of brands say they do or plan to pay money to get on Instagram in the next 12 months — the highest rate of growth compared with other platforms.

High-end fashion brands are among the prolific on Instagram. For example, Christian Louboutin in January launched #louboutinworld, a photo gallery displayed on its homepage that goes directly to its Instagram page. Its followers there have grown 80 percent in the last year, while Facebook likes have grown only 8 percent.

What about a direct path to purchase? While Instagram introduced clickable ads via its “carousel” platform back in March, brands are hoping that a more direct path to purchase (a “shop now” button, or a click to buy capability) will eventually be introduced. But until then, Instagram still makes more sense for brands that want engagement and inspiration.

Bottom line: wait and see.

Is Instagram the new most powerful social platform?

instagram social media

According to reports by L2’s Intelligence and GlobalWebIndex it is. Both studies account that Instagram is growing faster than any other social media sites worldwide, with an active user base increase of 23 percent over the last six months.

L2, a retail analytics company based in New York, released a new data-driven research that offers insight into influential brands’ investments on Instagram and the platform’s e-commerce potential. GlobalWebIndex’s report, published in January, was based on responses from some 170,000 users across 32 countries.

Due to its extremely high user engagement, Instagram is becoming an important tool for brand marketers. As noted by survey performed by Pew Research – based on data from telephone interviews conducted on August and September last year – over half of users use the app daily, while 35 percent do so multiple times a day.

Instagram users are even interacting with brands that do not have an official presence on the platform. One example is Chanel, which has about 5 million photos posted by users with the hashtag #chanel.

The photo-sharing network’s revenue potential is being explored by many of the world’s top brands. Both luxury brands and mass-market retailers have been taking advantage of the app to generate interest and potential growth in sales. L2 predicts that it will generate $250 million to $400 million in revenue only this year.

Pau Sabria of Oliapic, a New York company that helps brands solicit and publish photos of their products taken by ordinary Instagram users, told the New York Times that by adding user-generated photos to a retail site the number of visitors who turn into buyers increased by 5 to 7 percent and the average order value rose by 2 percent. One of the reasons for the increase, according to him, is that clients can explore how a product looks “in real life” by Instagram users. He affirms that the platform is already generating real revenue for brands, such as some of his clients: American Eagle Outfitters, Lancôme, Coach and West Elm.

One of the reasons for the great success of Instagram might be thanks to the extensive use of mobile handsets for social networking services. Cellphones are now the most popular for access, with an average of 66 percent users compared to 64 percent for PCs and tablets.

Another advantage of Instagram, when compared to platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr, is its visual appeal. While text can be a little harder to absorb, a short video or a photo say it all in a few seconds.

Guest post by Bruna Indalecio

The Restaurant Industry’s Latest Social Media Trend

While cell phones can be an annoyance to fine dining connoisseurs, leading establishments are now encouraging Instagram users to snap shots mid-meal, tag the restaurant’s feed mid-meal, use a specific hash tag relating back to a topic or dish and even offer special perks to influencers with many followers.

According to The Wall Street Journal, a new Chicago start up, Popular Pays, works with a dozen local restaurants to reward free food to influential Instagram users with 500-1,000+ followers. Fine dining restaurants even offer off-the menu perks for a mid-course photo shoot. Posh Italian Restaurant on NYC’s Upper East Side, dubbed 83 1/2, now offers a free attogato pop- a hazelnut-and-espresso ice pop that isn’t on the menu- to customers who post a photo from inside the restaurant and tag the manager’s feed.

Not only do these picture-crazy customers serve as “brand ambassadors”, they drive traffic to the restaurant’s own Instagram feed. Restaurants use instagram to showcase photos of mouth-watering signature dishes, inform users of specials, and share behind-the-scene glimpses of the kitchen.. This February, while Instagram announced its nearly 100 million monthly users, social media marketing platform MomentFeed released the first-ever “Best Instagram Practices for Restaurants”.

Blogpost by Becca Tash