Instagram is no longer just a photo-sharing platform. Recent studies have shown that Instagram advertising can affect shopper behavior from the initial discovery of the brand to even influencing purchase behavior. Long viewed as a low priority, Instagram advertising is now being reconsidered, especially for B2C companies. Here are 3 ways Instagram is changing shopper behavior:
Boosts Brand Perception
Audiences perceive brands more favorably that are on Instagram than those that are not. They are viewed as more creative, popular, entertaining, relevant, and committed to building a community. Given how easy it is to create an Instagram account, why not?
Helps Along the Shopper Journey
Instagram can actually move the buyer along the stages of the shopper journey: Discovery of what’s currently trending through hashtags, influencer profiles or the explore page. Research products using comments and posts from brand accounts. It can even help at the decision stage where purchases can sometimes now be made right on the platform.
For marketers, this means influencing potential buyers along each stage of the shopper journey with relevant posts. Discovery stages posts could be targeted ads or partnering with relevant influencers. Research stage posts could include testimonials from loyal customers, product reviews or specific product details that will aid their research process. Finally, decision stage posts should prompt them to take action by announcing sales, exclusive discount codes or limited time offers.
Significant brand interactions can be achieved that would be impossible without the use of the platform. Everything from following the brand’s Instagram account, driving website visits, or even making online purchases. In order to gauge community opinion of the brand users read comments on company photos. Others browse a brand’s tagged photos to see others wearing or using the product. Product or brand-specific hashtags are used to get more information.
Implications for Marketers
Instagram can be used along all stages of the shopper journey, not just brand awareness. Users can do virtually all their discovery, research and even decision to buy your product on Instagram without ever going to your website. Sometimes they can even make a purchase without ever leaving the platform. In order to get the most out of Instagram marketers should continually reevaluate their current social media strategy.