April 21, 2014

It’s no secret that I tout the value of Instagram for marketing purposes. I honestly believe that there are many reasons to take advantage of the platform. But one of the biggest reasons is quite simply that Instagram drives higher quality leads than other social media sites.

Yes, it’s true.

You see, so many people always complain that Instagram isn’t marketer friendly. I don’t necessarily agree with that. In fact, I think it’s marketer friendly in many ways. But the reality is that you have to work for it on Instagram.

You’re right, there’s no clickable hyperlinks in the post captions/comments. It’s not easy to direct traffic to your site like it is on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. I understand that this is not “marketer friendly”.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t drive traffic to your site. You just have to try a little harder to capture your audience.

I drive traffic to my site from Instagram all the time.

True, it might not be my highest driver of traffic. But, I have less followers on Instagram than I do on some of the other social media sites. And it is harder to get directly to my site from Instagram. It’s not a one click process to get there.

BUT, the traffic I do get from Instagram is higher quality, more engaged, and more likely to produce results.

Why, you ask.

Because visitors have to work to get there.

They have to see your post, read the caption, find it interesting enough, click over to your bio, click on the link in your bio, and then finally arrive on your site.

Yes, that’s a lot of work for the average, lazy social media user.

But if you can get someone to go through that “hassle”, then they actually want to be on your site. They actually want to see what you have to offer. They actually want to buy what you’re selling.

You’re not going to get high bounce rates. They’re going to stay on your site longer. They’re going to engage with your content or buy your products.

Don’t believe me? Check out this screen shot from my site analytics recently.

As you can see, Instagram is 13th in traffic for this time period. Now, the actual traffic is low with only 7 leads. But that’s just behind Twitter.com’s (not mobile use) leads of 8 for the same time period. I’m not complaining.

But look, more importantly, at the bounce rate for Instagram. That is ZERO. Yes, everyone that came to my site from Instagram stayed on my site with purpose. And look at the average amount of time – 29 minutes! Don’t tell me that isn’t high quality traffic!

And, no matter what period of time I look at, those numbers are consistent. The bounce rate from Instagram is always zero and the time on site is always significantly higher than the average time on site.

Yes, the traffic volume is lower than other social media sites. But the quality of the leads, the time they spend on my site, and the level of engagement is higher and of better quality than what I see from other social media sites.

If you’re one of those people only worried about the volume of your traffic, then maybe Instagram isn’t the best way for you to promote your business.

But if you’re someone looking to cultivate real engagement, real leads, and generate real results to grow your business, Instagram can and will work for you.

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  1. OK, this is super interesting to me. I guess the number one question I have when I look at this is who your audience is. I mean, I tend to think of Instagram as a B2C channel, but that’s not really your niche, is it?

    1. Hi Eleanor! You are correct that B2C is not my niche. I am in the B2B or service based area for sure. And, yes, ideally, Instagram is best used for B2C businesses but it can be well used for many other businesses. I wrote a blog post recently about how bloggers can use Instagram: http://jennstrends.com/how-bloggers-can-use-instagram/
      The concepts in here can also be applied to other B2B type businesses.

  2. Wow i was wondering how much traffic you get trough IG. Im sorry to ask what is B2C? Im a new blogger and don’t know alot right now. I need to check analysis.my site is 2mos. With a very unique niche. Thanks alot.

    1. As I said in the article, it’s not a ton of traffic but it is good traffic. And that’s more important to me. 😉
      B2C means business to customer. B2B means business to business. As a blogger and service based consultant, I am a B2B. A company that sells products directly to consumers, like shoes or something else, would be B2C.

  3. This is really interesting. I use Instagram for my travel blog because our content lends itself well to imagery. I didn’t think to start an Instagram account for our business though, as it’s not very image friendly (it’s about social media and blogging). But this might need to change after reading this post!

    I’m going to go find you on Instagram now 🙂

    1. Hi Carmen! I’m happy to hear you’re using Instagram for your travel blog – that is good content for IG. Using IG isn’t necessarily for everyone or every business. Like any site, it takes commitment to use it well. That being said, I do believe that anyone and any business *can* use it.

  4. Did any of these 7 leads buy though? I just personally hate that marketers are trying to game Instagram. Makes the site more useless IMHO. And I say that as a social media marketer. I just want to use it to be personal and that’s it. As far as the bounce rate and time on site couldn’t that be because the user left their browser on their phone open and weren’t actually on the site?

    1. Hi Scott. Thanks for the great questions!
      No, none of those 7 leads bought anything. However, I am only leading them to my blog posts at this time. I’m not pushing sales or services specifically. I have, however, previously generated traffic and sales of my ebook about Instagram when I have promoted that on my IG account.
      I do agree that marketers “gaming” the platform (like they do on any other site) is annoying. But the reality is that they are there and will continue to use it incorrectly, looking for the fast fix. This is why I always promote organic, savvy, useful ways to use the site to cultivate an audience and grow your business as a result.
      If you only want to use it for personal use, then that’s all you have to use it for. The great thing is that you can choose who to follow and therefore what you see. With the very rare ad shared to your feed, you have almost total control over what shows up for you.
      Yes, it is possible that the user(s) left the browser open on my site. However, I have regularly checked the stats over various time periods and at multiple times and the times on site are consistently high. So, some users may be doing this, but I honestly believe that most of the users are spending much of that time on my site legitimately. And this is also based on conversations I’ve had with IG users who comment on their visits to my site after seeing a blog post notification on IG.

  5. I see both sides of the coin here, but isn’t the whole point of this marketing thing ‘thinking outside the box’? There are so many industries that you can easily peg for Instagram success, but what I see here is proof that the unconventional can actually convert. Not only that, but these conversions possibly carry more value than some of the more conventional channels. That possibility proves to be an exciting one. Great advice Jenn!

    1. Thanks Amanda! I’m happy to hear you thinking about Instagram in this way. It is less “conventional” for some businesses and may be overlooked by many as a result. But the results can be achieved and can be very rewarding.

Comments are closed.

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