Over the last few years, claims that Instagram is dying have increased steadily and people say that it's not really worth being on the platform anymore, or is it? In this blog post, you will learn whether you should keep marketing your business on Instagram or abandon the sinking ship in 2023.
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Instagram's glorious past: 2012-2018
Let's start by looking at Instagram's glorious past when it was a super popular, upcoming app that everyone wanted to be on and that was thriving. I'm talking about the time period of 6 years between 2012 and 2018 - those were the years when everyone was on Instagram and also really enjoyed being on Instagram. Back in those days, everyone on Instagram was new to the content creation game. Sure, we had Facebook (and other platforms) before that but we didn't create content in the same way as we did on Instagram.
People who started out as content creators in that era were just regular people. They were not professional video editors and they didn't have the tools that we have now to create content. This meant that you couldn't differentiate so much between professional content creators and the average person posting about their life online which then in turn meant that everyone was able to get a slice of the pie. It was also much easier back then to grow your account because new people came to the platform every day and since they weren't following anyone yet, they started to look for people who had similar interests or that were posting content that they enjoyed. In 2023, Instagram is very saturated and everyone already has an account on there, so people are not necessarily actively looking for new people to follow as much as they were in the early days.
Today it is increasingly hard to grow an audience and to get some decent organic reach on Instagram and you could think that Instagram is, in fact, dying. And with that assumption you would be right: the pre-2018 Instagram is definitely dying or well, is already dead. But Instagram altogether?
The question is: was it ever sustainable or even realistic to think that an app would always stay the same? Do we want an app to stay the same over more than 13 years?
To be honest with you, I prefer the 2023 Instagram because it allows us to express ourselves in so many different forms of content & helps us to really show our customers what our products/services are all about.
At the same time, Instagram is also still growing in users quarter after quarter and that, to me, is a clear sign that the platform is not dying. If you want to define “dying” as “your organic reach has decreased”, then it is dying but in terms of growth and business opportunity, it is not.
TikTok as an alternative?
Since TikTok has become increasingly popular over the last few years and especially since the first lockdown in 2020, would it be smart to pivot to that platform? Sure, TikTok is incredibly popular now, BUT, Instagram is still more popular, at least at this point in time.
Instagram still has 2 billion people that use the app at least once a month which makes it the fourth most popular app. Only Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp have more users and TikTok is at #5 right now. Every single day, 500 million people watch and use stories. That, to me, doesn't really sound like the app is dying or people are not really using it anymore.
But isn't Instagram aging up?
Not really, at least it's not something that we see in the data.
70% of Instagram users are still under 35 years old and actually, younger generations like Gen Z also still prefer Instagram to any other social media platform (yes, even TikTok).
There is also a huge overlap between the two apps. While a lot of people think of TikTok as the next replacement or an alternative to Instagram, it's actually just an addition. 99% of TikTok users say that they are also using other social media platforms, 83% are also using Instagram. This means that people have not replaced Instagram, they have just added a new platform to their daily rotation.
Instagram is still a powerful platform:
Last but not least, my favorite argument for why Instagram is not dying is that, for me, and many of my clients, Instagram is still the most profitable platform. In 2023, it still drives 90% of my sales.
Instagram is still a really great tool to build relationships and to help your customers to get to know & trust you before they purchase. TikTok, on the other hand, is really great at helping you get discovered by people. If you use the two platforms in your marketing mix together, you'll see an increase in reach/growth as well as conversions.
Final verdict: is Instagram dying - yes or no?
Yes AND No.
YES, because the pre-2018 Instagram is certainly dying.
NO, because the 2023 Instagram is still growing and is still a vital part of your social media marketing mix. I will still be using Instagram and also recommend it to my clients. It's just a matter of adapting your strategy and making content that works with this stage of Instagram.