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Why Instagram Is Red Bull’s #1 Social Channel

The last time we looked at Red Bull and their social media performance was three years ago. Instagram was their smallest channel by audience size when compared to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube. They also were least active on the channel as compared to their other social platforms. Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 11.22.12 AMA lot has changed since then. Today, Instagram is Red Bull’s strongest social channel for audience size and growth.

What has not changed is Red Bull’s solid understanding of its audience. What has changed is the state of social media landscape, new media consumption trends, and exciting new features and new platforms.

(Pinterest and Instagram Usage Doubles Since 2012, Growth on Other Platforms is Slower, Google+ is already being dismantled, YouTube has a higher growth on mobile).
(Pinterest and Instagram usage have doubled since 2012, growth on other platforms is slower, Google+ is already being dismantled, and YouTube has higher growth on mobile). Graph Source: Pew Research

2016 Social + Digital Marketing Predictions

We’ve been tracking Red Bull’s Instagram account for the last month to understand which tactics the brand uses to fuel their huge audience growth. How do these strategies help drive engagement and awareness? Here is what we found.

1. Red Bull’s followers are extremely engaged with the brand (Engagement as a % of Followers is over 106%). The brand received over 6M in engagement in the last month with only 65 posts, which adds up to over 95K in Engagement per Post. In our previous studies on the top 100 Interbrand brands, we see average Engagement per Post on Instagram to be just over 31K.Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 1.12.47 PM2. Red Bull has successfully utilized both content types on Instagram, consistently posting both photos and videos for their followers. They understand that their audience favors extreme sports, and videos capture these games in a powerful way; because of this, about 43% of their posts in this data period were videos. Not surprisingly, videos generated almost 40% of the engagement for the brand.Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 11.36.28 AM3. While Red Bull has received higher engagement per post for their photo posts, their videos have received 4X more comments per post than photos. This tells us that their audience is more deeply engaged with Red Bull’s video content, taking time to leave comments (as opposed to just double-tapping).Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 1.15.05 PM

What Is Red Bull Doing on Instagram?

Energetic Content: Instagram users have always responded favorably to well-composed photographs. Red Bull’s photos, especially the ones related to extreme sports, pack so much energy into the frame that it appears as if the subject can’t be held in by the frame’s boundaries. The most engaging post for the data period is a photo of a cyclist riding down a cliff.

Regram Influencers: Red Bull has regrammed photos from the most influential extreme sports photographers, including Christian Pondella. This is a great way to source awesome content and amplify the brand’s Instagram feed.

Use the Right Medium to Capture the Moment: Red Bull uses an awesome mix of photos and videos to capture moments. The post below is a video from their Red Bull Rampage event, made with French free biker Antoine Bizet. It captures his historic double backflip during one of the events and is one of the most engaging posts from this period. A photo probably would not do justice to the moment captured in this video.

Engaging Caption that Inspires a Response: Red Bull’s Instagram captions are very simple and succinct, but at the same time a little edgy, which keeps things interesting. The post below was one of the most commented-on posts in the data period.

Sell Lifestyle:  A majority of Red Bull’s posts do not even feature the drink. Their Instagram feed is representative of the lifestyle a Red Bull drinker is expected to have: energetic, high-adrenaline, adventurous.

Red Bull is the highest-selling energy drink in the U.S., yet they hardly sell the drink on Instagram at all. The brand has managed to convey its value offerings through a very subtle–yet engaging–strategy on the platform.

If you use Instagram Stories in your marketing plan or are itching to try them out, be sure to track the success of your efforts with Simply Measured Social Analytics – Instagram InsightsRequest a demo here.

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Tripti Shrivastava

I'm a Social Media Analyst at Simply Measured. I love food, music, movies, and long walks. Let's talk about social media data!

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