Instagram is proving to have a significant impact on its users’ retail decisions, with 30% buying items having seen them on the app – but are performance marketers yet to realise the potential at hand?

With Christmas just four weeks away, a survey of 1,000 UK consumers by digital agency Greenlight revealed that 41% use the photo-sharing app to ‘drop hints’ on presents, while 57% use it to draw inspiration for gift ideas.

Despite this, a separate survey of 100 senior marketers by the agency shows that just 40% have Instagram present in their marketing strategy.

That came despite the launch of the platform’s advertising API in August, which allowed marketers to begin automating the delivery of ads to the app’s 300 million monthly users.

A changing picture?

While adoption is currently slow, the use of the app among marketers could be set to pick up next year, with over half of advertising pros planning to make use of it in 2016.

The inclination was with a view to improving brand awareness (50%), brand storytelling (30%) and driving loyalty (30%).

IG’s advertising service, on the other hand, was of interest to just 29%, suggesting that the service is still some way off being considered an ad-serving platform to target and promote content, akin to its owner in fellow social networking site Facebook.

Snaps create clicks

Greenlight’s findings may come as surprising given that 400 million people use Instagram every month, more than Twitter, but advertisers and publishers are finding plenty of ways of making the most out of the audience in front of them.

One of the more commonly recognised options is the affiliate link. Companies like RewardStyle allow influential fashion bloggers to tag a link to its product range, and receive a percentage for every sale made.  

Greenlight’s study also found that almost one in five (18%) of marketers are looking to ride on the popularity of the Instagram ‘celebrity’ next year with influencer engagement programmes, while user-generated photos or video piqued the interest of almost one in ten (8%).