Has your publication tried using Instagram to connect with younger readers? Here’s why this is a strategy worth trying out.
Advertisers want younger audiences, and news publishers are working hard to deliver.
For decades, the most valuable age demographic for advertisers has been the 18-to-34 year old group. Consumers in this cohort are big spenders, and they’re not set in their ways, so they are usually open to trying new products and brands.
Social media has done a great job of capturing the attention of this younger demographic, but digital news publishers still have a ways to go. The average age of an adult who goes online is 43, and the median age of a person who reads online news is 41. Readers who use mobile devices to consume news are slightly younger, with a median age of 38, but that’s still outside of the most valuable demographic among online advertisers.
In an effort to hook younger audiences, and also grow their subscribers, digital news publishers are using social media platforms like Instagram.
Sixty-three percent of Instagram users are between the ages of 18 and 34 years old — the desirable demographic advertisers are courting — and users are opening Instagram on their phones an incredible 35x per day. Those data points are making the photo and video sharing service one of the key platforms for publishers working on digital growth.
According to the 2020 Digital News Report from Reuters, the use of Instagram for news consumption has doubled across all age groups in the past two years. Instagram is now set to overtake Twitter in popularity as a news source, leading more publishers to want to use Instagram to connect with younger readers.
Instagram Strategies for Publishers
Digital news publishers are taking Instagram seriously as a platform for news consumption and a tool for finding younger readers. Publications like The Economist, which has a robust Instagram strategy, post an average of 50 times each week.
The Economist has also developed sequences for posting Instagram Stories. Each Sunday, The Economist posts a “Weekend Reads” with images of six of the best articles from the week and links to each of those articles.
The Instagram strategy developed by The Economist is one that focuses on a combination of traffic and advertising revenue. Links to the publication’s articles drive traffic to its website, but The Economist also generates revenue by placing ads in the middle of each Stories “sequence.” Those ads, which appear as full-page vertical stills or videos, have swipe up links that followers can click on to learn more or visit the advertiser’s website.
Smaller digital publishers can learn a lot from the Instagram strategy being pioneered by The Economist. Not only should publishers start posting their most popular articles on Instagram Stories, but they can also use Instagram as a sales tool when working with existing advertisers. Local business advertisers will pay a premium to reach new audiences, and Instagram gives publishers a way to do just that.
In order to find success with this strategy, publishers will need to start tracking their social media metrics and keeping a close eye on follower growth. Advertisers will want to know how many people will see their ads and how much engagement they can expect.
Another strategy that publishers who are using Instagram to connect with younger readers are trying out is to post screenshots and shareable quote cards, which followers in their teens and twenties are likely to share with their friends online. When The Guardian shared a set of quote cards from an article about people who’ve decided to live childfree, the publisher racked up 14,000 shares and reached 1.6 million accounts.
Generating Revenue with Instagram
Social media platforms, like Instagram and others, provide publishers with dozens of opportunities for revenue generation. Publishers can also leverage their success by using Instagram to connect with younger readers who then become paying subscribers in the future.
Here are four ways that publishers can use Instagram to connect with younger readers and generate income through the platform.
- Encourage Instagram followers to sign up for email newsletters.
- Link to popular articles as a way to increase website traffic.
- Use Stories to acquire the next generation of readers.
- Promote existing advertisers in sponsored Stories.
To learn more about all the latest publishing strategies, contact Web Publisher PRO.