- Agencies' interest in Instagram surged in Q1 2017, edging close to Google's YouTube, which continued to see a multi-quarter decline in its lead over the photo-sharing app, according to a survey by Strata. Fifty-three percent of agencies said they plan to use Instagram in their marketing efforts while 54% plan to use YouTube.
- Strata noted agency interest often heralds spend, though actual investments lagged in Q1, meaning that a ramp up could be inbound. Over half of agencies surveyed plan to invest more than 5% of their entire advertising budgets toward social media going forward.
- Twenty-four percent of agencies are prioritizing digital video most among media channels, putting it behind TV alone, though Strata reported that perceptions of metrics like ROI with digital video are mixed. Agency mindshare put toward digital video rose 351% over the past year, the firm said.
When Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion back in 2012, few thought the app would grow into the social juggernaut it is today. Once a simple photo-sharing service, Instagram has added a variety of features, including the Snapchat-like Stories, which have helped it foster an audience now 700 million strong.
Instagram's quick proliferation of video products has helped keep users and marketers on the platform engaged as mobile habits have shifted more toward video consumption. Instagram is also the top industry hub for influencer marketing, and now commands $1 billion per year in advertisers' spend on the tactic, according to some estimates.
YouTube, for its part, remains a remarkably strong revenue driver for parent company Google, though it's weathering a spending freeze from advertisers frustrated over a lack of tools to ensure brand safety. While marketers' boycotts of YouTube will likely do little to dent bottom lines, interest might be stagnating at the moment, especially since there are so many other social players investing heavily in digital video — an area YouTube once dominated alone.
Facebook is the second largest digital advertising platform in the world behind Alphabet's Google, and Strata said 95% of agencies are eyeing the service. The overall hike in social budgets stems in part from the rise of live streaming tools, including Facebook Live and Snapchat, where 42% of agencies' clients were interested in dabbling, per Strata.
"There's always been a premium on live, so it's not surprising that agencies have an interest in exploring Facebook Live, Snapchat's Spectacles and Instagram's Stories," Judd Rubin, senior vice president at the advertising software firm, said in a statement.
Instagram Stories, in particular, has seen meteoric growth since it was introduced in August. Often dinged as a Snapchat clone, the ephemeral video messaging feature recently passed Snap's platform in terms of monthly active users, hitting 200 million less than a year after launch.