Businesses missing out on opportunities using social network Instagram: study

Businesses are failing to take advantage of the Instagram social network as a marketing platform, according to a study published this month by advertising agency The Works in partnership with the Advanced Analytics Institute at the University of Technology, Sydney.

The first study of Instagram usage in Australia involved a sample of over 3 million Instagram posts across the country.

The research found the typical user of Instagram in Australia lives on the east coast, posts an average of 10 photos per month and they are active on the social network an average of 2.3 times a week.

In the past four weeks, Sydney was the most instagrammed city with 8,015 photos posted there, 3,090 in Melbourne, 1,914 in Brisbane, 1,557 in Perth, 1,313 in Adelaide, 1,309 on the Gold Coast,  850 in Hobart and 784 Darwin.

It’s a growing market, with Instagram recording over 1.08 million users as of April this year and ranking as the fastest growing social media platform in Australia, according to estimates from

But Douglas Nicol, creative partner at The Works, told SmartCompany Australian businesses were missing out on the benefits of Instagram.

“We looked at the brands most hash tagged and actually very few brands are hash tagged by consumers,” Nicol says.

“Some brands have competitions where you take a photograph and have to hash tag it with a brand name, but that doesn’t happen very much.”

Nicol says the number one hashtag in Australia is #instagood at 1.6 million in comparison to #McDonalds which has 6,800.

“It’s a huge opportunity for small business to play quite a big role as it is a platform that hasn’t been taken advantage of,” he says.

Nicol says the way Instagram is typically used provides plenty of opportunities for businesses.

“With Twitter, people use it in the workplace on Monday and Tuesday at 10am, Instagram is different as it is typically used at 8pm on weeknights,” he says.

“Instagram is recording much more of people’s leisure time. You have to remember Instagram is only available on smartphones, so it is a platform that is only used out and about. If you are a small business with involvement in food, retail and entertainment, it’s an opportunity.”


The study also categorised the type of content Australians share on Instagram, with food and drink imagery appearing most commonly, followed by artistic shots and then portrait shots.

“If you have a business that is in food, coffee or wine it is really hot property, as Instagram is the vehicle for food and drink conversations,” Nicol  says.

The full results of the study are available on the Datafication website.


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