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Want to make money? Study says Instagram beats Twitter, Facebook in brand engagement

Where can brands get the best results promoting themselves online? Twitter is receiving hype as an advertising tool, but according to a new study, Instagram beats out its competitors as the social media destination most effective at turning digital ‘likes’ into cold, hard cash.

Business analytics firm SumAll looked at brand performance on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, and issued a verdict in no uncertain terms: “On this day, Instagram has been appointed supreme ruler of the social media universe,” the company’s blog proclaims. SumAll looked at data from 6,000 customers and Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 9.32.08 AMdetermined that Instagram gives businesses far superior returns on investments than other social networks. In the U.S., Instagram drove revenue up between 1.5-3 percent, and the photo-sharing app produced even larger gains in the U.K.

While SumAll appears to be the first analytics firm boldly coronating Instagram for its branding superiority, a study by SimplyMeasured highlighted how swiftly brand engagement grew on the photo-sharing site in 2013. SimplyMeasured found a 350-percent increase in brand engagement among ‘top brands’ over the past year. And it appears these brands are engaging with purpose, since active Instagram use bolsters revenue. SimplyMeasured echoes SumAll in its recommendation of Instagram over other platforms. “There’s been less resistance to the addition than other networks have seen, suggesting that users are more comfortable with branded content when it’s visually appealing,” the study notes.

Although SumAll emphasized that Instagram handily bested its competition, it warned of posting too frequently, noting “being too active on a single network can lead to diminishing returns so experiment as much as possible.” In other words, don’t be overzealous.

Instagram privileges images, and people tend to be less grumpy and more interested in ads and promoted content when it looks good, so brands capable of producing attractive images and videos have a good chance of getting positive feedback on the network. Instagram’s current advertising strategy doesn’t disrupt the pleasure of looking at its clean-cut stream of images, so promoted content and media posted by brands appears as a native element of the platform – something parent company Facebook and rival Twitter have struggled to achieve.