Why Marketers Love Instagram And Pinterest

A new report finds marketers are increasingly turning towards visual platforms and content in place of more traditional social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Here's why.

The future of marketing is visual.

At least that's what about 3,000 marketers told online social media magazine Social Media Examiner in this year's Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

According to the report, marketers value social media marketing—especially visual marketing—more highly than ever before.

With 92% of marketers indicating that social media is an increasingly essential tool, there is also a growing trend towards using (or planning to use) visual content on more traditional platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, there has been an uptake in marketers using visually based platforms such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

Marketers are now looking to create original visuals and videos to engage audiences, and there’s no question that marketers need to think about shifting their content strategy that way.

If you don't want to take my word for it, here are six findings from the report to back this assertion up:

1. Interest in visual marketing rises with experience

One of the data points that quite surprised me was that marketers with longer experience in the industry rate the importance of visual networks, such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram, higher than their less experienced colleagues.

According to the report, marketers with less than 12 months’ experience with social media marketing select Facebook as their No. 1 choice of the platforms they use, followed by Twitter and LinkedIn.

For marketers who have been employing social media marketing for one to two years, Facebook and Twitter remain the top two choices. However, the use of YouTube rises from 37% to 63%, Pinterest rises from 32% to 46%, and Instagram from 15% to 26%.

When you start looking at the platforms used by marketers with more than five years experience, the move towards more visual platforms is even more marked. YouTube is now the fourth most popular platform with 74% of marketers active on it, while Pinterest is used by 66% of marketers and Instagram by 47%.

This suggests that younger marketers initially turn to the more obvious choices like Facebook and Twitter, but over time are discovering value in a wider range of social networks, with a distinct move toward more visually focused platforms.

2. The more time marketers invest in social media, the more they are turning to visual platforms

The following chart shows where two groups of marketers—those who spend less than six hours and those who spend more than 40 hours on social media—focus their time. As you can see, marketers who invest more than 40 hours per week are much more focused on Instagram (46% more), YouTube (38% more), and Pinterest (37% more) than those investing six or fewer hours a week with social media.

You can see the clear shift towards visual platforms, particularly Instagram and Pinterest, with greater time invested on social media.

3. Business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers are more visually focused than their Business-to-Business (B2B) counterparts

The report also found that B2C marketers are more likely to invest time in visual networks, particularly Pinterest and Instagram, than their B2B colleagues, who favor LinkedIn, Google+, and blogging.

4. Marketers want to increase their visual marketing in the future

Looking to the future, the report highlights marketers’ interest in visual channels. It found that 67% of marketers plan on increasing their YouTube marketing, while half of marketers plan to increase their use of Pinterest.

Forty-two percent of marketers plan to increase their use of Instagram (up from 38% in 2013). B2C marketers are significantly more likely (49%) to increase activities than B2B marketers (32%). More than a third of marketers (35%) plan on increasing their use of short-form video services like Vine in marketing, and the report states that, "considering how new short-form video is, this finding is significant."

5. Videos and original visuals are a growth area for marketers

Video is a large area of focus for marketers. Nearly three in four plan on increasing their use of original videos. The use of original visuals like infographics and memes is a key part of most marketers' plans in 2014, with 70% planning on increasing their use of visual images.

6. Marketers want to learn more about creating visual assets

The report asked marketers which forms of content they most want to learn more about. Creating original visual assets took first place as the area marketers most want to learn about (68%), followed by producing original videos (60%).

This correlates with the increased interest in Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram as platforms over recent years, as well as the ongoing trend for moving towards visual posts we have seen within established platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

[Image via Wikipedia]

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  • to Alex - tumblr isn't here because of its quite low engagement level and its general policy. And also there are many applications for instagram that ease the overall management. For example on instagram you can schedule posting time using postso.com, or get rid of unnecessary followings with fast-unfollow.com. As far as i know, there's no such services available for tumblr unfortunately.

  • Levke Ubb

    Thanks for this well written report! I am finding it kind of hard to identifiy the most influential Instagrammer in my niche, anyone who can recommend a good tool? I have been using www.influencerdb.net so far and it has really helped me but I am incredibly thankful for more suggestions!

  • davidenglish014

    Very interesting article. Very beneficial on my side, as I am doing online marketing business. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Another key factor is that for now at least, you can get your message out on Pinterest and Instagram free of charge. Whereas now on Facebook, you have to pay to promote posts. You can post your heart out on Facebook, and even if you have a good following your audience will not see it unless you pay to boost your post. At some point I suppose that Instagram and Pinterest will charge as well, but for now you can build a community without paying anything. Pinterest is also great at providing residual traffic, posts from even a year ago can still provide traffic to your site if it is a quality pin.

  • Thanks for sharing this report and I'm not surprised by the findings. Is Tumblr in trouble, the fact it's not mentioned, speaks volumes?

  • Add to all of your points the fact that both those tools have usually smaller following counts (so content remains higher up) and very little "smart filtering" yet. Thus what's shared has better odds of being seen on-top of all the reasons to put it there in the first place.

  • Ok, I get the fact that more marketers are using social and visual social media avenues, but WHY? Demographics? Or because it's cheaper? Is the ROI any good?

  • The access of every network on the list is so massive that even if the median user of a given site isn't your core customer, there's likely some level of opportunity to be had. That you can engage, maintain visibility and be in a place where it's not just shouting out can have tremendous results in my experience.