The departure of Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom and co-founder Mike Krieger has set tongues wagging this week among investors and marketers alike.
Both cited the reason for their departure as a chance to “explore our curiosity and creativity again”, which is not surprising after eight years at the helm of what’s grown to be one of the most successful marketing platforms of the moment.
Their sudden departure has left many asking what’s next for Instagram and who will take the helm. But the burning question remains, will this change impact Instagram’s importance as a marketing platform?
The departure of Systrom and Krieger can be seen as a continuation of a trend that we see all across tech, when founders move on to new projects and leave their baby to thrive in the hands of the acquirer.
This in itself doesn't yield any great need for concern. Since Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 the platform has gone from strength to strength.
Socialbakers' ad spend data shows that businesses are leveraging Instagram for advertising more than ever before. The share of Instagram ads placements is clearly on the rise, reaching 43% in March 2018 and there is certainly no sign that the platform's growth will slow any time soon. With over a billion users Instagram's future is certainly bright.
But why is the future so bright for Instagram? Well, not only do brands and celebrities get up to four times more engagement on Instagram than on any other platform, according to data released by the platform, users under the age of 25 spend over 32 minutes a day using the platform, while users 25 and over spend more than 24 minutes daily on the app.
To put that into perspective, same-aged user groups spend 30 and 20 minutes, accordingly, using Snapchat and an average of 35 minutes using Facebook. In contrast to Facebook, time spent on Instagram is increasing. This means users stay on the app longer, which makes it more likely for them to discover interesting content and interact with it.
Because of the highly visual nature of the platform, Instagram has also become the go-to for influencers and celebrities, hence it is also more attractive than other platforms to brands looking to work with influencers and trusted sources to increase their reach and engagement. If you’re an influencer today, you need to be on Instagram.
In terms of what’s next for the platform, it’s hard to speculate. However, one thing we can be sure of is that the goal will remain the same - to continue to grow Instagram into the most engaging platform for brand marketers.
Instagram has become the growth engine for Facebook, so Facebook will undoubtedly continue to focus on innovating on behalf of its users. Hence, no matter who takes the reins, we believe that marketers will continue to spend on the platform because there is no comparable alternative in the marketplace which offers the same engagement and reach as Instagram.
Socialbakers CEO Yuval Ben-Itzhak