Last week, Instagram announced plans to open up their advertising platform to all brands, after a successful limited trial provided outstanding results.

With Instagram ad recall rates 2.9x above usual rates for online advertising and engagement rates on promoted photos up to 400% higher than that of organic posts, marketers are likely to adopt Instagram with little hesitation.


As a platform, Instagram overtook Twitter in terms of active users last year, boasting 300 million active users to Twitter’s 284 million, which translates into an impressive 49% of users utilizing it daily against Twitter’s 36%, validating it as an important social network on which brands need to have a presence.

Despite customer service lessons learned on longer established networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, many brands are ignoring customers on Instagram.

Operations, not ownership

While Instagram is unlikely to become the go-to channel for customer service, each marketing update creates a new engagement opportunity and customers are increasingly commenting with their unfiltered frustrations.

From a customer point of view, social ads represent the path of least resistance for complaining. Customers are presented with the ability to send a complaint, at the brand’s cost, right from their own newsfeed.

The popularity of Instagram hasn’t stopped some brands using it as a unidirectional marketing channel. With 66% of consumers willing to switch provider due to poor customer service, this ownership approach is unhelpful to both brand and customer. Departments must work collaboratively to be effective on social.

Currently it’s not uncommon for the exact question asked on both Twitter and Instagram to be responded to on Twitter, but ignored on Instagram.

Brands need Social First vendors

Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram, aptly summarized the vision of Instagram when he commented, “it’s a place where real people share real moments.”

As consumers become increasingly mobile, brands can expect a significant increase in the number of actionable comments posted to Instagram as their customers share both positive and negative moments.

For brands that are serious about providing customer service on social media, it’s important to work with a vendor that supports maturing channels such as Instagram, often as a result of their certified relationships with social networks.