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Instagram is breaking away from the model it helped pioneer by extending videos from the standard 15-second length to a full 60 seconds. The company made its name by taking advantage of the trend for micro-length videos similar to Vine’s 7-second length, but it is now stretching its legs with longer videos.

Instagram says it is making the change in order to “bring you fun, flexible and creative ways to create and watch video on Instagram.”

Of course, the new video length limits won’t be turning Instagram into YouTube all of a sudden. The extended limit simply allows people to latch onto longer and more diverse stories.

The longer clips will hopefully spur increased engagement for the company who is currently seeing record low levels of user engagement. Despite this drop in engagement, Instagram says the amount of time spent watching videos on the platform has increased over 40% over the past 6 months.

Along with the change to video lengths, Instagram also announced that iOS users are once again able to create videos out of multiple clips from the camera roll. Both new features have already begun rolling out for users and will be available for everyone in the coming months.

Of course, along with longer videos comes longer ads on Instagram, which should make marketers and businesses who use the platform happy. Longer ads translate into more opportunities to tell engaging stories and catch the attention of your audience.

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It has been almost three years since Instagram stretched its legs and expanded to video, but in all this time it has been missing a crucial feature – view counts. While the other giants in social video like YouTube, Facebook, and Vine have let users see how many times a video has been played, Instagram has been slow to add any view count feature to their platform. Until now.

Instagram has announced it will soon be adding a counter that includes everyone who has watched at least three seconds of a video.

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The company says the feature will be rolling out over the “coming weeks” and will show alongside the existing like and comment counts.

The feature could be beneficial for advertisers on two fronts. On one hand, it will be greatly useful to simply be able to see what their most popular content is in a more direct way than with like and comment counts. While those show engagement levels, a view count will be a much better indicator if video reach.

Secondly, as Twitter has recently seen, when users see that others are watching and interacting with content, they are more likely to view, engage, and share that content. By letting other users see that your videos are popular with other users, you also see a chance at increasing your total view counts overall.

For more information on how Instagram will roll out view counts in the next few weeks, check out the official announcement from Instagram.

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Social media marketing is a great way to connect with your audience and raise awareness for your business, but getting started can be difficult. Every social network has its quirks and kinks to manage and you can’t use the same recipe for success across all platforms.

That’s why Instagram is launching a new official account, dedicated solely to sharing business tips and case studies to help inspire your marketing and advertising on the popular social photo platform.

The aptly titled @instagramforbusiness launched yesterday, starting with a showcase of Ben & Jerry’s, a company that has been marketing itself on Instagram since the platforms very early days in 2011.

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Instagram says business has always been an essential part of Instagram from its very start, and it expects even more to follow suit following the launch of Instagram ads.

In the future, the company will be sharing content through the account designed to inspire and motivate marketing and advertising efforts on Instagram. Here’s what you can expect to see shared on the new account:

“Each week, we’ll run exclusive, behind-the-scenes stories that inspire, inform and showcase the work done by three important groups in our business community from all around the world—brands, small businesses and creative agencies.”

In the coming week, the account will be sharing stories from a local Chicago florist called Flowers for Dreams and New York creative agency BBDO.

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Is Facebook still the king of social media? In terms of sheer traffic Facebook may still have a sizable lead, but businesses are finding it may not be the best platform for their marketing. In fact, a report by L2 and Olapic shows brands are starting to invest more effort elsewhere.

Brands are now posting more content to Instagram than they are on Facebook, most likely due to the continuously declining organic reach for brands on the big F.

The signs of Facebook’s downfall as the primary place for social media marketing have been around for quite some time. As organic reach started to fall, brands began migrating to other social networks and cutting back on their organic efforts on the site in favor of paid advertising.

Facebook’s paid advertising platform allows brands to get even more reach than they had developed organically, but at the sake of organic reach. In comparison, Instagram is (for now) almost entirely based on organic content.

Instagram may not stay the most popular platform for branded content for long, either. The Facebook-owned social image sharing platform has already implemented some advertising options and have publicly announced plans to expand paid advertising on the site. Nonetheless, most brand activity on the site is currently organic.

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The L2 report found the 250 participating brands posted an average of 9.3 times per week on Instagram compared to 8.8 times on Facebook in Q4 of last year. Compared to the same time period in 2013, Facebook was down from 11.1 a week, while Instagram boosted itself by nearly two full posts a week.

Other notable findings from the report included:

  • The auto industry, led by luxury brands like BMX, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Porsche, outperformed all categories (Beauty, Consumers Electronics, Travel, Watches & Jewelry, Fashion, Sportswear, Retail, Drinks) with a 1.52% per post engagement rate on Instagram. Drinks — Stella Artois, Jack Daniels, Belvedere, Pabst Blue Ribbon — was second at 1.32%.
  • Of the top 200 highest performing posts, 65% prominently featured a product, 43% included general lifestyle photography and 29% included a brand ambassador or other influencer.
  • Hyperlapse has lapsed with only 75 — or only 2.4% of brand videos posted since August — brand posts using the time-lapse video app. Brand Hyperlapse activity has fallen off steeply since September and the engagement rate on the videos is 0.69 percent, slightly less than conventional Instagram videos.
  • Photo posts drive higher engagement that video, 1.03% to 0.79%. Videos attract more comments, but photos draw significantly more likes.

Facebook may still be the most popular social media site, but Instagram is easily the fastest growing site, according to a new survey released by Pew Research Internet Project.

The survey shows the most popular social media site’s growth may be stagnating, but their most recent changes seem to be improving engagement.

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The Pew numbers suggest Facebook facilitates the most engagement of any social platform, as 70% of users fully engage with the site daily. That’s a notable increase from 63% last year. In comparison, only 49 percent of Instagram users and 17 percent of Pinterest users engage with the sites on a daily basis.

While Instagram is unable to draw the engagement levels of Facebook, they outpace anyone in the market when it comes to attracting new users. Over the past year, the number of American adults using Instagram rose 9 percent. That means 26 percent of all adults in the U.S. now use the site.

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In comparison to, Pinterest only grew 7 percent, LinkedIn grew by 6 percent, and Twitter grew by 5 percent. Instagram’s huge rise shouldn’t be too surprising, as they recently announced reaching 300 million monthly active users, surpassing Twitter for the first time.

Some other interesting findings in the report:

  • Daily use of Twitter dropped 10 percentage points to 36%. Twenty-two percent say they check the site several times a day, 24% a few times a week and 40% less often.
  • Instagram showed statistically significant growth across all age demographics, while still skewing younger. Notably 53% of younger adults (18-29) use the service, up from 37% in 2013. Instagram users are very active; 49% say they use the site daily, 32% several times a day and 24% weekly.
  • Pinterest is still favored mostly by women, with 42% of all online U.S. females saying they are Pinterest users. That’s up from 33% the year before. Men, on the other hand, are still lagging at 13%, an increase of 5 points over 2013.
  • LinkedIn users are coming to the site less often with weekly users dropping to 25% from 34% and those who visit every few weeks or less increasing to 61% from 52% the previous year. Users of the career-oriented network still skew older, higher income and college educated (50% of college graduates — an increase of 12 percentage points from 2013 — use LinkedIn).

Instagram LogoMany celebrities and popular internet figures were shocked last week when they lost thousands upon thousands of followers in the Instagram Rapture. It shouldn’t have been such a surprise, as Instagram gave warning they would be deleting fake and spammy accounts, but the purge of useless accounts still caused an uproar across the social network.

Celebrities were the hardest hit, as Justin Bieber lost over 5 million followers, or 15% of his total followers. Kim Kardashian lost 1.3 million, but rapper Mase received the most embarrassing lost as his 1.6 million followers dropped to only 100,000 in under 20-minutes. His account was deleted quickly after.

Instagram was clear the purge would be coming in their announcement they had hit 300 million active followers. They noted spammy accounts had already been deactivated for violation of community and were not included in the count.

“When we remove accounts from Instagram that don’t follow our Community Guidelines, you may see a decrease in your follower count,” the company wrote in its blog post. “This shouldn’t affect engagement from authentic accounts that like and comment on your posts.”

Celebrities may still be reeling from their large drops in followers, but most marketers are celebrating and larger brands haven’t seen much of a change. For marketers, the deletion of spam accounts means better analysis of how many people are being reached with each post.

Source: Wired

Source: Wired

Instagram made big news recently by speeding past Twitter in active users, reaching 300 million to Twitter’s 284 million. Perhaps surprisingly, Twitter’s board members didn’t seem concerned by the numbers. Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder and board member didn’t mince words when he reportedly told Fortune “I frankly don’t give a s*** if Instagram has more people looking at pretty pictures.”

Well, if the last report wasn’t enough to give Twitter’s board pause, maybe a new study on brand engagement will make them less flippant.

Social analytics firm Socialbakers compared the top 25 brands in Instagram engagement with the top 25 on Twitter and found Instagram received up to 50 times more engagement rates per post.

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By comparing three months of data ending December 9, Socialbakers found the average Instagram post for a major brand has a per fan engagement rate of 3.31% (counting likes and comments), whereas top brands on Twitter only receive an average rate of 0.07% per tweet including retweets, replies, and favorites.

Throughout the three month period of the study, brands included averaged 38 times more total interactions on Instagram (6.5 million a month) compared to Twitter (167,000). Socialbakers didn’t release a full list of included brands, but they did divulge five brands appearing on the lists for both Twitter and Instagram: Victoria’s Secret, Starbucks, GoPro, Forever21, and Aeropostale.

Socialbaker’s report isn’t much of a shocker in light of past reports. A previous Forrester Research study released last May found Instagram’s per follower engagement rate for major brands to be an astounding 120 times higher than Twitter.

Instagram LogoInstagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular social media platforms around. With new estimates saying Instagram pulls in 300 million monthly users, the photo- and video-sharing app has bypassed Twitter’s official user count of 284 million. The new numbers mark a 100 million user increase since March.

The company announced the milestone yesterday, along with the announcing that Instagram would begin verifying accounts similar to Twitter’s method of certify celebrity or high-profile accounts.

The verified badges for public figures and brands will be coming within the week according to Instagram, who says the badges “will make it easier for people to identify and follow the authentic brands they care about.” The blue badges will appear next to names on their profile pages, as well as in search.

The increase in users leaves only a few social media sites ahead of Instagram, including Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram’s companion company Facebook. The site is extraordinarily popular among youth and brands, and predictions see it continuing its fast growth.

In the announcement, Instagram also said it would be purging fake accounts from the site, so brands can expect to see a relatively small follow count decline.

Online video has reached a new level of importance in our lives over the past few years. YouTube is still the dominant service for free online video hosting and sharing, but several other platforms have taken YouTube’s lead and expanded on it in numerous ways.

Instagram and Vine have imposed limits on their video lengths to make them as sharable as possible, while Vimeo has focused its efforts on hosting primarily high-quality and visually stunning videos instead of the shaky cell-phone footage so prevalent on YouTube.

The question remains, which services do you invest your energy and resources into? If you are hoping to use the social video site to increase your brand’s visibility, you want to tailor the content you are creating to the platform most suited to your demographic.
You can get a complete breakdown of all of the major services in the infographic below.

The graphic was created by Russel Cooke, and explains what makes each service unique, as well as how each could benefit a business. If you know your market, you should be able to identify which service is most likely to connect you with your audience. From there, it’s just a matter of making content that will excite them.

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