Why Instagram is becoming the dominant social network

I am regular on Mitch Joel’s blog and when he says a a video is “must-watch,” I listen to the man.

I haven’t posted an external video on this blog in years, but I think this content is definitely grow-worthy because it forces you to look at our online world through a new dataset, a new lens, that is quite thought-provoking and perhaps even disturbing.

The speaker in the video, Scott Galloway has a think tank called L2 and is also a marketing professor at NYU Stern. In this fast-paced talk he uses his research to make predictions on who is winning and losing in everything from social media and retail to brands and world economies.

In particular, I loved his insights on:

  • Data declaring that Pinterest has been “blown off the road” and Instagram is emerging as the most dominant social platform on the planet.
  • Why Tumblr is a clear “loser” (worst investment in the past 10 years?) and Twitter is taking too long to become a visual platform.
  • China’s first world brand.
  • An unexpected prediction about Apple and evidence that shows it is poised to be a “luxury brand.”
  • Detailed views of an emerging Amazon strategy that is poised to shake the online world … but not necessarily disrupt brick and mortar stores.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. There is lots of mind-blowing stuff here and I would love to hear your take on it in the comment section!

If you don’t see the video at the top of this post, click here to see Digital Winners and Losers video.

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  • Great speaker and some interesting insights into winners and losers in social media. I’ll make a note to check in a years time how accurate he was. I think more interesting is the second half of the talk where he goes into social issues and growing inequality in developed economies – moral issues aside, this is going to have a huge economic impact as wealth is increasingly concentrated in tiny elite and the rest struggle to pay for basics. I suspect growing pressure to remedy this inequality will drive political debates and elections for the next 2 decades.

  • Wasn’t that amazing data? I liked the way he was able to tease some eye-popping conclusions from the numbers. In any event, it appears the Facebook acquisition of Instagram was a genius move!

  • yes, and Yahoo!’s acquisition of Tumblr perhaps not such a good idea.

  • Wow, amazing data and fascinating (sometimes scary) predictions.

  • One view anyway!

  • Kind of mind-numbing

  • AlisaMeredith

    Interesting data, especially on the comparison of Pinterest with Instagram. The thing is, for marketing, Instagram is fairly limited. You cannot link from an image directly to a product or even a piece of content. So, while Instagram may be hot and good for branding, it’s harder to use for generating traffic, leads, and sales.

    That said, I’m off to do some more research on how best to make it work. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this video, Mark!

  • Hudson Hornick

    While this is good data, I feel like this is losing the forest for the trees a bit. Though you may see fluctuations of social media usage (and that ever-loosely-defined “engagement,”) it’s important to remember that the market is becoming an increasingly segmented space. People (and businesses) are finally coming around to the idea that social media is for them, and now they have more options to choose from.

    Years ago, people jumped aboard Facebook and you saw brands, no matter the product or service, try and sell there because of Facebook’s massive numbers list. Now you have Twitter becoming a great B2B communication space and less of a chatter-box; Instagram and Pinterest for visuals (photographers/exercise buffs/dietitians); LinkedIn for business networking, and so on.

    The market is maturing, and that’s a better thing for end users.

  • Thanks for the perceptive comment Alisa

  • Well said Hudson

  • I am reticent to hang my hat on ANY one network since the ground seems to be shifting beneath our feet, but I am working with a client targeting college and older high school kids and Instagram is where it’s at for them.

  • Alright, I’ll join Instagram already. Sheesh. 🙂

  • Sounds like a plan Amy.

  • Welcome to 2012 buddy : )

  • Marcela De Vivo

    I love instagram, and can totally see the power of it…but I can’t figure out how to make it work for B2B or non-visual businesses? Many of the companies I work with just don’t create visual assets and don’t have a product/service that works on such a visual platform.

  • Thanks for sharing Mark.

    It is great they started this data set. I do see these patterns, but also agree with others that data doesn’t tell the entire story. Especially niche audiences.

    To say Instagram is overtaking Pintertest may be true overall, but as a marketer I practice segmentation. Looking at user demographics if I am targeting middle age women, I will focus my efforts on Pinterst especially if I am a food or home & garden brand. If my target market is teenagers, I would focus on Instagram where my fashion product may play well.

    To Ailsa, I add links to Instagram all the time in my comments, but I understand it is not the same as Pinterest’s direct link in the photo.

  • MarcWinitz

    Marcela, building off of Hudson’s comments below, the social channel really matters based on the audience you are trying to connect with in B2B. You may end up outperforming on LinkedIn while leveraging visual marketing assets. Those assets don’t have to be “pretty pictures” that one would see on Instagram or Pinterest. They can be infographics or event relevant imagery (like a well created and visually interesting graph) that links back to some text discussing a B2B product or service (could be a blog post, for example). In all of my testing in B2B, this concept is working well on LinkedIn. The big takeaway for that part of Scott’s talk is that human are consumers of visual information. As B2B marketers we just need to find ways to “visualize” uninteresting information.

  • I think there are a lot of questions here but I recently had my eyes opened. Young people are using Instagram almost like text messaging. They are even sharing things like recipes (pics of what they made and then directions in the comments). So I think a lot of interesting things are emerging from this!

  • Good summary Marc.

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  • it’s what all the kids are using for sure. Funny, by oldest son is all about Facebook, but my youngest (he’s 14) spends most of his social media time on Instagram, Vine and YouTube. But Instagram is King for him and all his friends. Now if I had a product I was marketing to the kids 14 and up, there’s no question where I would be 😉 He told me Twitter and G+ were for old people, and he’s not quite sure what LinkedIn is .. 😉

    I think it’s all brilliant because they are not spending time wasting time. They’re consuming some very creative content and it encourages them to be more creative. All good in my book.

  • I’m an Instagram junkie and have seen it blown up over the last year. It’s been exciting and I’ve seen many friends partner with multiple brands increasing their business opportunities and exposure.

    I just came back from a few trips in Italy that are restricted to influential instagramers to help expose regions and cities that may be overlooked when compared to Tuscany. Next Instagram based trip is next month for Berlin’s EU instawalk.

    This is just the beginning, since I am now starting to see many companies FINALLY jump on, some of which were created based on their Instagram accounts.

  • lalitha

    Hi Nice Post ,
    Really nice post. Especially I liked the thing about Pillar article, thank you for sharing .

  • Insightful and interesting

  • lalitha

    Amazing post… I really like these Blog , Thank you for sharing .

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  • Greatly enjoyed the video, Mark. Thanks for curating it. Surprised that Instagram was blowing past Pinterest so convincingly.

  • rhonda hurwitz

    Thanks for posting, so glad I watched this. What does the transition to a more image based internet mean for bloggers and content marketers, I wonder? Will there be a place for written blogs in 24 months?

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