With one month 'til Christmas, consumers are increasingly turning to Instagram to drop hints about what they want for Christmas (41%) or to gain inspiration when buying gifts for others (57%), according to a survey of 1,000 UK consumers commissioned by digital marketing agency Greenlight.
While Greenlight's research shows that one in three users have bought items after seeing them on Instagram, a separate survey of 100 senior UK marketers commissioned by Greenlight reveals that three-fifths aren't currently using Instagram as a marketing channel, while just 14% currently run a branded Instagram account.
One in two marketers plan to make use of Instagram in marketing in 2016
As Instagram's influence grows, over half (53%) of marketers plan to make use of Instagram in 2016. Greenlight found that 29% plan to use Instagram's recently launched advertising service, while less than a quarter (23%) plan to target consumers via a branded account.
Greenlight found that most marketers plan to use Instagram to increase brand awareness (50%), for brand storytelling (30%), and to drive sales and or loyalty (30%). In comparison, the top reasons why consumers follow brand accounts are access to offers and discounts (51%), inspiration for new purchases (39%), and brand news and announcements (37%).
Useful or informative content is valued most by consumers (49%), while over a third like to see brands share authentic or user-generated images (37%) or interact with their followers (35%), and a further 15% like to see brands re-post or share other user's photos and video.
One in five marketers to target Instagram influencers next year
In recognition of the increasing influence that popular Instagram users hold over their follower's purchasing decisions, almost one in five (18%) marketers plan to run influencer engagement programmes aimed at Instagram 'celebrities' next year. Meanwhile, almost one in ten (8%) are exploring how they can make greater use of user-generated photos or video.
Furthermore, Greenlight found that 29% of marketers plan to use Instagram advertising to target users and promote posts next year, however just 23% intend to share photos and videos using a branded account, which suggests that marketers are still getting to grips with the photo sharing social network and its recently launched advertising services.
Andreas Pouros, COO & Co-founder at Greenlight notes that "gift-giving is always a challenge and sometimes people just need a little hint about exactly what they're looking for. On Instagram, users curate a profile based on the people, products, brands and images they like and this provides a unique snapshot into their intimate wants and preferences. The sharable nature of this social media platform makes it the perfect channel to understand what loved ones might be hankering for this Christmas. With this in mind, marketers should therefore be using Instagram to encourage 'hint dropping' sharing this festive season in order to get stockings filled with the perfect presents!"