How Instagram has become the new marketplace for start-ups

From toys to plants, start-ups and medium-sized brands are selling everything on Instagram to cash in on the growing user base of the medium

e4m by Shreshtha Verma
Published: Sep 18, 2019 8:49 AM  | 4 min read

Instagram is increasingly becoming a new marketplace for start-ups and medium-sized businesses. Initially, the photo-sharing app was just seen as a place for beauty and fashion brands, but it no longer seems to be the niche market. It is emerging as a marketplace for everyday commodities too. From toys to plants, start-ups and medium-sized brands are selling everything on Instagram to cash in on the growing user base of the medium.

Experts believe that being a less cluttered platform, Instagram is emerging as a good marketplace for all types of brands.

Ashavaree Das, Chair and Professor at the Applied Media Division at the Higher Colleges of Technology, Dubai, explains how Instagram has emerged as a powerful social media marketing tool over the years. "With engagement rates being 15 times that of Facebook and 20 times that of Twitter, Instagram allows for the visual expression of a brand that has excellent potential for conversions," highlights Das.

According to her, Instagram is a good medium for brands because it allows them to find new customers and keep existing customers happy. Features such as Stories can encourage the purchase or other desired action because of immersive and motivational layouts.
Additionally, local brands can utilize Instagram for maximum impact. In March this year, Instagram rolled out local business pages as a way to give a business a presence on the platform, she describes.

Instagram is a rapidly growing and one of the most loved social networking platforms, as it allows its users as well as the brands to showcase what they're all about via a visual story. While marketing on Instagram is a phenomenon started by high-end fashion or fitness brands, today, from education to toys and plants, all sorts of brands are investing on Instagram.

Arman Ahmed, Co-Founder & CEO of EdYoda, an ed-tech platform, tells exchange4media that they spend 65 per cent of their overall annual budget to market themselves on Instagram. In return, their 60 per cent of customers come from Instagram.
"As an emerging brand with a limited budget spends, Instagram is the primary social media channel we are using. We also rely on influencer marketing for brand awareness,” tells Ahmed.

Similarly, 9Stacks, a gaming brand that allows its user to play poker anytime anywhere, spend 15 per cent of their total budget on Instagram. Sakshi Misra, Assistant Manager- Communications, 9stacks, says 25 per cent of their users come from Instagram.

When asked about the key reasons to choose Instagram, Misra says today Instagram is one of the most influential and strong mediums to grab the users.

"We invest in digital content creation and have on-boarded social media influencers to reach our target audience. Instagram is one of the best mediums that helps us to achieve our target," explains Misra.

"In the past, we have done campaigns on Instagram with popular digital faces such as Amol Parashar, Rohan Shah, Bhavini and Gopal Dutt. As a result, we were able to reach and engage with more than 5 million people. Apart from this, we also generate content in-house and run a lot of contests on Instagram to engage our followers. Using topical hashtags has also helped us gain visibility across social media platforms. Compared to other brands in our industry, our engagement rate on Instagram is very high, between 60 and 70 per cent," explains Misra.

Vivek Goyal, CEO & Co-founder of Playshifu, an educational toy brand, also sees Instagram as a medium with huge potential. However, as a start-up, presently only 10 per cent of their budget is allocated to the platform. But in return, they get 12 per cent of customers from Instagram.

Goyal reveals that they're planning to spend more on marketing themselves on Instagram.

The numbers shared by brands exhibit that they're earning almost double of what they are spending on Instagram. And this probably explains why these brands love Instagram.

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