Here are all of the posts tagged ‘instagram’.

1 Billion Insights: What People #Love

by Simon Kemp in News

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Every day, somewhere between 300,000 and half a million photos are uploaded to Instagram with the hashtag #love.

Late last week, those photos passed a particularly special milestone as the one-billionth photo tagged with #love was added to the photo sharing network.

Based on a wholly human (i.e. subjective) analysis of many thousands of posts tagged with #love over the past 12 months, the most common themes amongst Instagram posts tagged with #love are (in no particular order):

  • Selfies
  • Friendships & Couples
  • Requests for Followers
  • Illustrated Quotes
  • Pets & Animals
  • Fashion & Accessories
  • Beauty (Make-Up & Nail Art)
  • Food, Cafés & Restaurants
  • Travel Photos
  • Celebrities

The themes alone don’t explain the full picture though; for that, we need to dig a little deeper, and interpret what we see.

#Love, Love Me Do
The most startling finding was the one that was most obvious when we started exploring the hashtag stream.

The majority of photos tagged with #love seem to be people searching for ‘love’ – or at least people hoping to attract other people’s attention, admiration, recognition, or lust.

Our interpretation of this behaviour is that people don’t go to Instagram (or social media more generally, for that matter) to discover new products; they go there in the hope of being discovered themselves.

Because of this, most people are behaving in the same way that brands behave in social media: they’re posting content about themselves – notably selfies – in hope that other people will ‘like’ them (and comment, and share, and follow…).

What we found most interesting is that many of these #love posts appear to be attempts to deal with individual insecurities. They appear to address needs that sit squarely in the middle of Maslow’s hierarchy (Esteem Needs and Love & Belonging Needs):

MASLOW'S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS

The key observation: people are using the #love hashtag to address their need for personal affirmation.

When you think about that, it’s not really very surprising; everybody wants to be loved.

However, we were surprised by the way that this need has translated into the use of a hashtag that we’d expected to be more about the expression of a present emotion (e.g. “I love…”) than the desire to fulfil an absent emotion (e.g. “I want to be loved”).

There are, of course, numerous examples of things people do ‘love’ – their partners, their friends and families, pets and animals, and celebrities – but the overwhelming majority of posts seem to fall into the category of fulfilling absent emotion than expressing present emotion.

The Naked Truth
What’s more, many people using the #love hashtag seem willing to go to extreme lengths to attract other people’s attention.

Roughly 3-5% of all posts tagged with #love are selfies involving nudity – male and female. If you want to verify this for yourself, do note that some of the pictures are particularly sexually explicit. They’re not for the faint-hearted, and they’re definitely NSFW.

Shock-value aside, it’s worth making an important distinction here between ‘nude selfies’ – which appear to be individuals’ attempts to get other people’s attention – and outright porn, which usually includes links to third-party websites. Our analysis suggests that individuals posting selfies in various states of undress outweigh ‘porn’ by a significant margin.

As a platform, Instgram doesn’t permit images containing nudity, but as you might expect given this volume of uploads, it can take some time before offending pictures are removed.

Tell Me I’m Beautiful…
People often use the #love hashtag together with photographs of make-up and nail-art too. What’s most interesting about these photos is that there are considerably fewer mentions of brands than I’d expect.

There appear to be two key motivations behind beauty-oriented posts. The first is closely related to the theme we saw above, where people are looking for the affirmation of others through their activities – the posts almost seem to ask ‘what do you think of me in this make-up’, without necessarily asking the question directly.

The second motivation is more marketing-related, but it’s generally about selling a make-up or nail artist, rather than the products they sell. This may be determined as much by the sheer volume of posts shared by individuals versus brands, of course, but the findings are nonetheless interesting and valuable to marketers hoping to understand their audiences.

…Tell Me I’ve Got Style
One of the most frequent hashtag correlations we identified was between #love and #ootd (i.e. outfit of the day). Fashion more generally seems to overlap neatly with the #love hashtag, but as with the Beauty theme above it appears that the person posting the photo is more interested in demonstrating their own sense of style than necessarily calling out specific brands.

On a related note, it’s worth highlighting a significant number of posts of people in revealing outfits or underwear. There’s a fine line here that merits some further exploration though, namely the balance between the opportunity for self-expression and the potential for people to make decisions they’ll later regret, or even the risk of exploitation.

(Don’t You) Wish You Were Here?
Even when it comes to product- and brand-related posts, there’s still a tendency to use the #love hashtag to call out things that the ‘poster’ expects other people to love, as much as what they themselves love.

For example, when it comes to travel, there’s a strong tendency towards envy-inducing shots: beaches at sunset, amazing hotel rooms, spectacular landscapes.

The same is true of most photos tagged with #food: there’s a tendency to post impressive meals that the individuals have prepared themselves (the desire for acknowledgment), or that they’re enjoying in special locations or restaurants (a trigger for envy).

Whilst these posts are perhaps less narcissistic than selfies, they still seem to demonstrate that constant need for the recognition and envy of others.

So What?
So what can marketers do with this information?

The answer lies in understanding the motivations that drive this behaviour, not simply in being able to track the behaviour itself.

That many people have a constant need for a self-esteem boost shouldn’t come as a shock to any of us, but it’s interesting how so few brands are fulfilling that need. Indeed, with their own constant attempts to get noticed and attract ‘likes’, most brands in social media are demonstrating the same insecurities themselves.

The big opportunity for brands in all of this is to understand how they can provide what these people need.

Brands could interpret that in two ways, though. One route would be to adopt the Dove approach, addressing the insecurities that drive the behavior in the first place.

The alternative would be to offer the recognition and affirmation the people using the hashtag seem to crave.

Either way, with half a million new #love posts a day, there’s plenty more left for marketers to learn from this incredibly popular hashtag.

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More Mobile Connections Than People

by Simon Kemp in News

This month’s Digital Statshot – the third in We Are Social’s on-going series – brings another set of impressive numbers for Social, Digital and Mobile around the world.

Mobile
This month’s key headline relates to mobile, with GSMA Intelligence reporting that the number of active mobile subscriptions now exceeds the total world population.

The site reports that there are now 7.324 billion active mobile subscriptions around the world, which is 44 million more than the total world population as reported by Worldometers.

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However, it’s worth remembering that the average mobile user still maintains 2 active subscriptions, and at 3.636 billion unique users, global mobile penetration still sits at just 50%.

The active subscription datapoint still has significant importance to marketers though, reflecting the increasing importance of mobile devices in people’s lives all over the world.

The continued growth may also reflect a diversification of our ‘device portfolios’, with people adopting a variety of devices including smartphones, feature phones, tablets, and other mobile-connected devices.

Indeed, Ericsson reports that smartphones now account for 38% of all connected devices, with 2.7 billion smartphones connected around the world.

Another interesting stat in Ericsson’s November Mobility Report is the growth in mobile broadband subscriptions around the world, which now stand at 2.9 billion.

However, Ericsson also reports that 80% of the world’s mobile subscribers are still GSM only, so there’s still plenty of room for growth in faster mobile connections.

Social
This month’s big headline in social is the huge jump in Instagram’s reported monthly active users: the world’s favourite photo-sharing platform now claims 300 million active users, up 50% from their previously reported MAU figure from just a few months ago.

This puts Instagram in joint 8th position on the global rankings, on par with Skype, and now ahead of Twitter’s 284 million active users:

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However, we’ve significantly revised our numbers for LinkedIn following the company’s recent earnings report. This is the first time that we’ve seen the company make such a clear distinction between active users and ‘members’, as LinkedIn refers to its total registered user base.

LinkedIn reports that it has 90 million unique users per month from a base of 332 million – far fewer than the 186 million that we reported in our previous statshot.

There are now 2.06 billion active social media users around the world, with 82% of these accessing via mobile devices each month.

Internet
Global internet users continue to grow at a steady rate, with InternetLiveStats reporting 3.025 billion active users around the world.

Looking for country-specific figures? Our regional reports contain stats and data points for over 100 countries around the world, and have already been viewed more than 1.6 million times in 2014 – read and download them all here.

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Live young this January with evian

by Amy Hambridge in News

Hands up if you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolution?  If you’re anything like me, you probably gave up on your vow to stop eating cake/drinking cocktails/taking unnecessary taxis (delete where applicable) by the time the first day back at work came around.

New Year’s resolutions really can be a bore. Luckily for us, evian has recognised this and instead of focussing on the depressing side of having to give up your favourite things in gloomy January, they’re here to put a smile on our faces. And, as you may have read in Ad Age, we’ve been working with evian to bring their ‘Live young January’ campaign to life by creating a live social hub on Facebook which pulls together all the latest online and offline activity surrounding the campaign.

Live young January Hub

At the centre of the activity are 31 different ways to help you Live young this month.  These range from playing rock, paper, scissors for helping make decisions, to making a den in your living room – for evian, Living young isn’t about age, it’s a mindset.  Every day throughout January, we’ve been posting a new way to Live young on the evian UK Facebook wall and, so far, engagement rates have been soaring, showing that the campaign is having great traction amongst the fans. And whilst we’re talking fans, in just 1 week, the Facebook fan base has increased by a whopping 21,000 likes.

Today's way to Live young

To drive further engagement around the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we’re also running a competition giving fans the opportunity to win the ultimate Live young experience – a trip to Lapland to see the Northern Lights. Entrants simply need to submit a photo showing themselves Living young this month for their chance to win.

Win the ultimate Live young experience: Watching the Northern Lights from your very own igloo

What’s really great about the Live young January activity, is that it’s truly integrated. We’ve been working as part of a cross-agency team with Havas Worldwide, Mediaedge CIA, Shine Communications and Live and Breathe to bring the campaign to life across all channels. In case you haven’t seen or heard about it, evian brought a giant pink snow-making ‘Live young playground‘ to London last week with the aim of encouraging commuters to find their inner Live young spirit by taking time out to play. There were digital panels on the underground to cheer up the commute and promote the playground, plus, there’s been lots of conversation on Twitter from people enjoying the magic of snow falling around them as they swing.

The evian Live young swings

Of course, we wanted to maximise the reach and conversational buzz around the offline activity online and, with this in mind, we hooked up with a couple of influential bloggers in London and took them on a ‘Live young January’ day to remember. We started at the evian swings in Canary Wharf and gave them goodie bags containing envelopes which enclosed some of the 31 ways to Live young as clues to where we would be taking them throughout the day.  From exploring the wonders of Hamley’s toy shop and indulging in a Mad Hatter’s themed afternoon tea, to a karaoke session and a street art graffiti lesson to unlock their creativity; the day was tailored to ensure the bloggers had plenty of Live young content to capture and blog about.

The Live young January Blogger experience

It’s going to be an exciting couple of weeks building on the early results we’ve seen so far. The evian UK ‘Live young January’ campaign is live until, well…er, the end of January (!), so if, like me, you’re not always the best at sticking to those month long New Year resolutions, why not forget about taking yourself too seriously and aim to do a daily Live young challenge instead?

Happy New Year!

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Facebook acquires Instagram: Reaction

by Dan Goodswen in News Google+

Instagram + Facebook

The world is waking up to the news that Facebook has acquired mobile photo sharing platform Instagram for a cool billion dollars.

Here is a round up of the reactions from around the webs;

Mark Zuckerberg makes the announcement on his Facebook page;

I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook.

For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.

We’re looking forward to working with the Instagram team and to all of the great new experiences we’re going to be able to build together.

You can read his full statement here.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom breaks the news via Twitter

The tweet linked through to the Instagram Tumblr where Systrom had posted an official statement;

It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away. We’ll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network. We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience.

The Instagram app will still be the same one you know and love. You’ll still have all the same people you follow and that follow you.You’ll still be able to share to other social networks. And you’ll still have all the other features that make the app so fun and unique.

We’re psyched to be joining Facebook and are excited to build a better Instagram for everyone.

You can read the full statement here.

TechCrunch highlights how Facebook has made way for Instagram;

This is a really big departure from the way Zuckerberg has historically run Facebook as a single product. He has always been insistent that everything feed back into Facebook itself.

Keeping Instagram as a separate product and brand is reminiscent of what Google has done with keeping YouTube and Android as separate fiefdoms within the company following their acquisitions.

The website has also remade their logo in honour of the acquisition. You can read the full article at TechCrunch.

Quora weighs in
Over on Quora the techsperts have been sharing their views. Ryan Charles, former head of mobile at Zagat, said;

If you’ve read The Facebook Effect, you’ll understand how pivotal photo sharing was to Facebook’s growth. The ability to tag a user in a photo was also a tremendous social and viral mechanism for Facebook.

Instagram could easily become a baked in component of a Facebook mobile OS and the team understands how to build a mobile community from the ground up.

Tech commentator Robert Scoble shared his views on the $1bn price tag;

Today Facebook has NO revenues from mobile. None. That’s amazing, since so many people, hundreds of millions of us, use Facebook on mobile clients.

Instagram will let Facebook develop a new kind of Open Graph advertising. One where Facebook will be able to offer mobile developers a lot of money in return for opening their apps up to Open Graph.

Venture capitalists in Silicon Valley are slobbering over this new potential revenue stream, so having lots of VC buy-in (they just got a nice payday) will be very important.

Imagine that Benchmark now “asks” all of its member companies to support such a new advertising scheme? This could result in billions of revenues for Facebook and member companies.

The Guardian highlighted the negative sentiment the deal has garnered;

Instagram and its various analogues have created a legion of smartphone users who are quite literally uploading billions of damaged images into the public record.

Make no mistake, you aren’t an artist. If you were an artist, you wouldn’t be using Instagram in the first place. You certainly wouldn’t be using a filter as a crutch.

At the end of the day, that’s what Instagram filters are: a crutch, a misguided replacement for a properly composed shot and a decent sensor.

– Chris Zeigler, writing at The Verge

The precedent is worrisome, though, if it means every time a startup encroaches on one of Facebook’s presumed strengths it will need to take out its pocketbook to defend its turf. That’s hardly a robust justification for a lofty valuation.

– Robert Cyran at BreakingViews

Twitter explodes
The most vocal outrage has been reserved for Twitter, with everyone from journalists and tech bloggers to Instagram users venting about the deal;

The strangest part of the deal
The Atlantic and Quora also picked up news that Instagram had sealed an extra $50m in funding only last week;

As a former entrepreneur myself, my sense is that there’s no way Instagram would have knowingly shrunk it valuation slice if they knew a potential sale was imminent.

It’s more likely that either the Facebook deal floored them, or that they were using the latest round of venture funding to show off their accelerating valuation to Facebook.

– Matthew O’Brian at The Atlantic

It seems clear that closing the investor round helped Instagram improve its negotiation position/valuation with Facebook. Instagram (closed) a big round that gave it enough money to stay independent for a long time while growing the company.

At that point, Facebook’s only option was to go big or go home.

– Muhammad At-Tauhidi on Quora

Instagram reacts
The existing users of the network reacted both with hubris and humour to the news;

We are still gathering our thoughts here at the We Are Social office, and will be posting them on the blog shortly.

In the mean time, tell us; is this the end of Instagram? Does this change anything? Let us know in the comments.

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