As Instagram celebrates its fifth birthday the social platform has revealed the top five most followed accounts in both the UK and US as it looks to offer brands similar reach through its newly updated Facebook integration.
Instagram now boasts over 400m monthly active users with 80m new uploads per day helping contribute to the 40bn images on the site.
These astronomical figures naturally paint the picture of an open and desirable audience for brands to reach and engage with. Instagram says it has more than delivered on this front too, boasting that 97 per cent of the 400-odd campaigns it ran between November 2013 and May 2015 generated almost thrice the ad recall than Nielsen norms.
But despite its suite of ad products, the best way for brands to reach fans is via loyal, interested and engaged followers. Over three quarters of the site’s users hail from outside the US.
Indeed, 14 million monthly active users are based in the UK, and the top five followed accounts from the region is laden with members of boyband One Direction, the top five is as follows: @harrystyles, @davidbeckham, @niallhoran, @garethbale11 and @fakeliampayne.
The US on the other hand features a much more female-centric list with @beyonce, @kimkardashian (who was chastised by the ASA for a native and unannounced birth control ad), @arianagrande, @taylorswift and @selenagomez dominating.
Looking to make it easier for brands to be heard above the user generated noise, Instagram last month updated the nuts and bolts in its backend to offer ‘seamless’ integration with Facebook in the creation of ad campaigns, as the company rolled out its ad business to 30 new markets, many of which are in Europe.
Nonetheless, positioned as an artistic outlet, Instagram chases monetisation at risk of invoking the ire of its 400m users who consume and generate content. Appropriate design-heavy brands (especially the fashion industry) can and have prospered on the platform dubbed and pitched as the “art gallery of the future” by staff.
Time will tell whether in the next five years Instagram cultivates the unique user experience which resulted in the explosive growth or whether the Facebook-owned platform sells out, granting space to inappropriate or intrusive brands all in the name of monetisation.