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Study: How people use Instagram to research, discover, and make purchasing decisions

Instagram has become a very powerful social platform for marketers who try to connect with a wider audience. It’s not just for awareness and engagement anymore though, as it seems to facilitate the purchasing process in multiple ways.

More brands are using Instagram to create appealing content and engage with their audience. It’s currently one of the most engaging platforms to involve in your marketing strategy. It can be a very helpful discovery engine for people who want to follow their favorite people, interests and brands. There is an interesting shift though for marketers seeing Instagram driving audience action as part of the purchase behavior.

Facebook has commissioned a study to understand how people use Instagram and how they actually perceive brand content to the platform.

As part of the study, they surveyed 21,000 people ages 13–64 who used Instagram at least once a week across 13 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, France, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States).

The results are very interesting and they can be really helpful for marketers who want to make the most of the platform.

We are looking at the most interesting stats of the survey and what they mean for your brand’s strategy.

You just have to be on Instagram nowadays

Instagram has become so popular that people simply expect from brands to have an account. According to the survey, brands that have an Instagram account seem to have a positive impression on potential shoppers. In fact, people perceive brands that are on Instagram as popular (78%), creative (77%), entertaining (76%), and relevant (74%).

Both B2B and B2C brands can benefit from Instagram and the fact that people make a positive association between the brand and their Instagram presence can be very promising. Build your brand around engagement and relevance on Instagram and turn the awareness into meaningful action. However, if you feel that your target audience is not using Instagram, your brand might not benefit from setting up a presence.

Instagram is now facilitating the purchasing process

Instagram is starting to play a key role in all the stages of the purchase process.

83% of the people who responded to this survey use Instagram to discover new products. Moreover, 80% of people use Instagram to decide whether to buy a product or a service.

Thus, Instagram can serve as a discovery engine for people who use the platform, but it can also be the starting point of a future purchase.

In fact, there can be different touch points on Instagram that marketers can explore. For example, someone can click on a ‘learn more’ button to find more details about a product. Someone else can find a recommended brand product through the comments section while looking for product reviews. Another person can look at a shoppable image to discover a new product while a different person can watch a Story ad that can facilitate the purchase.

There are different demographics that you can reach on Instagram but there are still various ways to engage them to drive action.

How brand content on Instagram is helping people drive actions

As Instagram is playing a more important role in affecting a purchasing decision, brands are also reaping the benefits of this change. The report indicates that brand content on Instagram helps people to:

  • Discover products or services (44% of the respondents)
  • Find new information about a product or a service (42% of the respondents)
  • Research the product or service (41% of the respondents)

It’s also encouraging that the people who were interviewed for this report expressed a desire to hear from brands in their own voices.

Thus, brand content can help people both in the discovery and research phase, but also in the actual consideration of a purchase. This can be extremely helpful for brands who just joined Instagram as they can create different content for different actions.

For example, if your content was focusing on the discovery process up to now, you can try out more actionable posts that can help users complete a purchase when finding out more details about your products.

Content on Instagram is driving action

How do users respond to the content that they see on Instagram? According to the report, 87% said that they took action after seeing a product. The action may have to do with visiting the brand’s website, following the brand’s account or even making a purchase.

People behave in different ways when seeing a brand or product on Instagram:

  • 79% searched for more information
  • 65% visited the brand’s website or app
  • 37% visited a retail store
  • 31% followed the brand’s account online
  • 29% talked to someone about it

What we can learn from this behavior is that your Instagram marketing strategy can rely on different call-to-actions. There’s no need to push all your followers towards one action if they are not all of them at the same stage of the funnel.

If you want to take your strategy to the next level, start grouping your followers into segments based on their most probable behavior when seeing your content on Instagram. From awareness to engagement and consideration, every person has different needs and expectations from your brand so don’t expect them all to proceed to one action.


Instagram brand marketing is currently in an interesting transition from focusing on brand awareness to providing different levels of engagement and purchasing consideration.

It’s now up to us to understand what our audience expects from us to deliver the best experience through our content, our products and the call-to-action we are using on every post.

The post Study: How people use Instagram to research, discover, and make purchasing decisions appeared first on ClickZ.

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