As of June 2018, Instagram has reached 1 billion monthly active users, which is up from 800 million in September 2017. The photo-sharing app has become one of the most popular social media platforms, especially for brands. As a consumer, I follow multiple Instagram brands and influencers to receive inspiration on home decor, fashion tips, and the healthiest Whole-30 recipes to try and cook, which usually end up as a Pinterest fail.

Additionally, Instagram stories are a great way to provide fans and users with a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a rockstar, must-explore travel destinations, and the lifestyles of your family and friends. Sure, Instagram seems to be simple enough to use; you head over to an individual’s profile, look at their feed, and “double tap” if you like their photo. However, as a brand, have you ever thought about what users preferred when browsing your Instagram profile?

Breaking Down Instagram User Experience in Nine Simple Questions

As an avid Instagram user, I love seeing snapshots of the lives of friends, strangers, brands, and influencers. Through Instagram stories, I feel like I am being spoken to directly. It is no surprise that “32% of marketers say visual images are the most important form of content for their business,” and why Instagram has such a high number of engagement. With square-format images that can quickly be scrolled through and spur-of-the-moment videos captured in Instagram stories, it’s no wonder why people stay engaged and continue utilizing the platform.

Chart: How Hours a Day Do You Use Instagram?

1. How many hours of the day are users on Instagram?

Of the individuals in my survey, more than 50 percent stated that they utilize Instagram for less than 1 hour. This is a surprising amount since “total time-spent in mobile apps grew by 69 percent year-over-year.” Thirty-nine percent of users stated they would use Instagram for about 1-3 hours daily.

Chart: Do You Click on the Bio Link of People You Follow on Instagram?

2. What actions do you perform on Instagram: Do you click the link in the bio?

Fifty-six percent of individuals stated that they would not click a link in the bio section of an Instagram profile. So what’s the importance of having the link?

One of the cons of Instagram is that it does not support link sharing unless you have over 10K followers and have a swipe-up function. Otherwise, the only place you’re able to add a click-through link is in the bio section of your Instagram profile. Create a unique URL that is trackable; therefore, you’re able to see how many clicks the URL receives through the social platform. Although most individuals do not click the bio link, it’s good to have your website link added to the bio section to provide user’s further information on your brand services and products.

data week instagram use behavior

3. What are Instagram highlights, and do you re-watch them?

Instagram highlights “are a new space on users’ profiles where stories that have previously shared can be added, giving them a way to give their stories life for more than 24 hours.” Highlights can stay on your Instagram profile indefinitely until you delete the story. One great use of highlights is if you want your fans or followers to revisit an exciting moment (i.e., Shaun White’s highlight of the 2018 Olympics, Justin Timberlake’s highlights of his tours). Highlights help categorize events, promotions, launches, and travel that you’d like to keep on your Instagram for an indefinite duration of time. Yes, it makes sense to group your stories into highlights, but do users watch them?

While 63 percent of individuals stated that they would watch highlights on the accounts they follow, 82.6 percent of Instagram users indicated that they would not re-watch highlights:

data week instagram use behavior

Highlights are easily accessible and viewed on a profile, but once watched, there’s little interest in re-watching unless followers are watching it to remind themselves of a particular product they wanted.

4. How likely are you to “Swipe Up” on brand/influencer stories?

Swipe up and through. I see it all the time on particular Instagram accounts that I follow, but should I do it?

Individuals who have over 10K followers have a “Swipe Up” feature in their Instagram stories. “Swipe Up” allows users to perform the motion of swiping up and directing them to a specific URL. On the following Likert scale of Extremely Unlikely (1) to Extremely Likely (5), 34.8 percent were indifferent to the use of the “Swipe Up” feature, while more than 19 percent were extremely unlikely to “Swipe Up” on a particular Instagram story.

5. How likely are you to “Swipe” through multiple photos of brands’ / influencers’ posts?

Swiping up might be a limited functionality for some business profiles; however, swiping through multiple images is a function that’s available to all Instagram users. When multiple pictures are posted, you create an Instagram album, and there will be little dots below the photo that inform individuals to swipe through the images. Although most individuals might not swipe up in Instagram stories, there is a high percentage of users who are extremely likely to swipe through multiple photos.

instagram data week

6. How likely are you to watch brands’/influencers’ Instagram stories?

So, what does that mean for you if you’re a brand and trying to engage with your followers?

Tell a story through your photos. Create engaging content through posting videos of behind-the-scenes footage on your Instagram story, and aggregate some of the best pictures to create an Instagram album. Since Instagram is a highly visual platform, remember to post vibrant, stunning images with minimal text. More than 34.8% of individuals are more likely to watch Instagram stories. Therefore, if you’re not utilizing the platform for Instagram stories and posting photos, you’re missing the mark on engaging with your followers.

7. How likely are you to join in on brands’ / influencers’ Instagram live?

Fifty percent of individuals are extremely unlikely to watch and participate in a brand/influencer’s Instagram livestream.

Lastly, I wanted to see if individuals interacted with Instagram Live since a high percentage of individuals watch stories. What is Instagram Live? It allows individuals to “stream video to followers and engage with them in real-time.”  The numbers showcased below illustrate that more than 50% of individuals are extremely unlikely to watch and participate in a brand/influencer Instagram Livestream.

Do You Think You Now Have What It Takes to Become an Instagram Influencer?

You might be telling yourself that you aren’t Shaun White or Justin Timberlake and don’t have much to share; however, “92 percent of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement,” which means your brand voice is more authentic and personal than a paid advertisement.

I’m sure you’ve heard that consumers prefer brands they can trust; therefore, a personable and trustworthy campaign is always the right route to take. Utilizing Instagram stories is a way to break down that fourth wall and have a personal one-on-one conversation between the brand and the fan.

Like any other platform, building a following on Instagram is a balance between art and science. Sure, it needs to be visually compelling, but it is also essential to understand your audience’s behavior and engagement on your social platform. If they gravitate towards specific images and content (i.e., pictures of puppies) more so than images of flowers, maybe feature an Instagram Story where there is a “Take Your Puppy to Work Day!” There is great content to be shared, but the key to understanding what to share and post is first to comprehend the data behind your Instagram user’s behavior. Speak to a content specialist today about your content goals.