2017: The Year Growing on Instagram Was Everything

RebelMouse can help you grow Instagram followers + drive growth on all social platforms. Let's create contagious media together!

What started as a simple, social photo-sharing app has turned into a daily staple in the lives of 400 million people. Instagram continues to shatter new benchmarks and establish its dominance in the age of social with no signs of slowing down.

Instagram's success hasn't gone unnoticed. Influencers, advertisers, and brands are going all in, capitalizing on all the eyeballs using the platform as yet another means of monetization. Publishers are piling into Instagram video, too. 2017 is certainly the year businesses take notice of Instagram.


After its launch in 2010 as an easy one-stop shop to edit and share your personal pictures with your social network, it wasn't long before the world was decorated with a myriad of vintage + beautiful #filters. The platform was named "iPhone App of the Year" by the end of 2011.

Facebook acquired the platform in 2012 and only furthered its popularity. Instagram has since added more features to its arsenal: videos, additional filters, ad options, and the recent addition of "stories." It's officially a force to be reckoned with, taking down other seemingly promising apps in its path.

So let's look at the whys and the hows around using it to grow your Instagram followers.

Instagram Is Big — Really Big

It's a Proven Moneymaker

  • By March 2017, the platform reached 1 million monthly advertisers.
  • It is expected to generate about $1.5 billion in mobile ad sales this year, and $5 billion in 2018.
  • Instagram influencers are charging up to $100,000 for a sponsored post.
  • There are various types of ads for monetization purposes: photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, stories ads with robust targeting options.

You Can Monetize with a Small, Dedicated Team

The beauty of Instagram lies in its simplicity. You don't need a huge team to execute a successful strategy on this social platform. When it sold for a billion dollars, Instagram itself had only 13 dedicated employees.

It's a platform where any publisher — big or small — can make huge waves in terms of brand awareness, and that means money, too. Take a look at ATTN:. The media company has nearly 100K Instagram followers. Their small team of five, dedicated solely to Instagram, has brought in an entirely new revenue stream from the platform — seeing growth in followers, interaction rate, and sponsorship. When done right, Instagram's a no-brainer to add to your marketing strategy. It's an easy way to gain influencers and eyeballs with a small(ish) team.

Companies Are Investing More in Instagram

While Snapchat is busy clinging on to relevance, we're seeing brands slowly begin to invest more in Instagram. Instagram has doubled its user growth in the past two years, just recently adding 100 million users in only four months. Much can be credited to the addition of the Snapchat-inspired feature called Instagram Stories, which has fueled growth + retention. At this point, nearly 100 million more people use Instagram Stories than Snapchat.

Instagram has officially hit 700 million monthly users.Source: TechCrunch

Aperol Spritz is a prime example of the ease with which you can garner Instagram success. The brand has increased how much it's been posting on its own Instagram, using both ads and organic content emphasizing their product with pretty photos and GIFs. As a result, its organic social engagement has increased 300% since January, driven by people tagging friends in comments. They've capitalized on a campaign called the "Aperol Brunch Society," which asks people to upload Instagram videos explaining why they should be the "chief brunch officer." As if we needed another reason to love brunch?

A beautiful example of the power of striking images.Source: Digiday

Engagement on Facebook tripled, sales increased by 45%, and everyone was happy. The question is: How do you leverage Instagram to do the same for your brand?

How to "Do" Instagram

It's important to not lose sight of the initial purpose of the platform: Share striking images. Once you've got that part down, ensure that your photos are relevant + branded. If you check out our Instagram at RebelMouse, you'll see tons of bright, beautiful images with insightful quotes that reflect our culture. We follow a simple strategy that can get you going in the right direction.

  1. Find beautiful images by searching hashtags on Instagram. When you find an image you like, take note of the original artist so you can credit the source back to them when you post. (Hint: Most Instagram users <3 photo cred.)
  2. Download apps. We're constantly experimenting with new photo editing and video apps like Snapseed + WeVideo. It's an easy, low-cost way to make your images look beautiful and professionally done, and, ultimately, shareable. There are always new apps to try every week, so don't just settle on one.
  3. Use the images you've found, and overlay them with a quotation and/or logo that reflects your brand.
  4. When you're ready to post, make sure to tag all relevant accounts. This means influencers, like-minded pages, and any potential sharing partners you can find. We have proprietary technology that fuels influencer search capabilities within RebelMouse.

Using RebelMouse, you can search for relevant Instagram accounts as you create content.

It's really as easy as that. You'll be amazed at the number of accounts that start finding your content + engaging with your brand. Instagram is fast, and it's easy. You don't need Adobe products or an entire team of designers to create beautiful, shareable content. And that's the beauty of it.

But remember: To really capitalize on the capabilities of the platform, you have to actually socialize. Interact, like, comment, and — the big one — follow. Here are some tips to help you find relevant influencers and gain new Instagram followers:

  • Search relevant hashtags. We are a social CMS, so we search for hashtags that relate to us. #social #smm #media #newmedia #uxdesign
  • Find influencers. If you're familiar with prominent figures in your industry, find them and follow them. Search for accounts they follow, and continue to find as many people to reach out to as possible.
  • Don't be afraid to follow many people. We aim for 200 a day here at RebelMouse. But follow strategically.
  • Direct message. Don't be shy — send a message. After all, who doesn't like to hear a friendly "hello"? Just be human. You'll start to see engagement and mentions of you increase.

RebelMouse Can Help Grow Instagram Followers

If you can't seem to move the needle on Instagram, we are more than just a CMS. We are also a creative agency with expertise in creating contagious media. With lean, multifunctional teams, we can help drive growth on Instagram and other social platforms.

Why RebelMouse Is the Best Content Marketing Platform

RebelMouse is a unique platform and company. The company was founded on the vision that media companies would need an always-modern solution to thrive in the new connected internet, and that brands would have to behave like new media companies and use the same platforms.

Keep reading... Show less

Why Premium Creative Agencies and CTOs Choose to Develop on RebelMouse vs. WordPress and Drupal

The Intersection of Design and Development: Where Your Clients Thrive

We started RebelMouse seven years ago knowing that there was a fundamental design flaw in the world of traditional CMSs: Every instance, on every platform, had to be updated independently. It's similar to an era when users had to manage their own Microsoft Exchange Server for email. The costs of managing, maintaining, and iterating on a CMS to keep it awesome and world class is typically a $10 million-a-year endeavor. But even then, these cost-prohibitive CMSs are still behind the times.

Keep reading... Show less

Native Multivariate Testing at Scale With RebelMouse

What Differentiates Our Approach

There are many popular tools that allow you to perform experiments and A/B tests on your users — primarily Google Chrome Experiments and Optimizely. But all of these solutions are JavaScript additions to your web page that sidestep the problem of old, outdated, and clumsy CMSs. These solutions work by calling on a third-party JavaScript library that rewrites a page after it's rendered. This approach adds extra page weight and creates strange user experiences due to having to wait for everything to load and be rewritten on the fly.

At RebelMouse, we've solved this in a very elegant way. At the core level of our platform, we can natively render different layouts and track the exact differences in performance when comparing a test to your other layouts.

Keep reading... Show less

Modern E-Commerce: Blur the Line Between Content and Design

Create Modular + Reusable Design Patterns on RebelMouse

Content saturation is an industry-wide problem, and the e-commerce space is no exception given that it's filled with big brands, small Etsy stores, and everyone in between all fighting for similar audiences. The best way to fight this symptom is to understand your audience and provide them with what they want.

Keep reading... Show less

Instagram-style E-commerce Features on RebelMouse

Revolutionizing E-commerce on RebelMouse

Whether you're a brand with a blog or a media company with a site, driving purchasing behavior and building an audience that uses your content to find things they love to buy is vital. We're very proud to have built out the same functionality that everyone is now used to on Instagram, with layovers on images that lead to products with attribution.

Keep reading... Show less

Building Premium Communities and User Journeys on RebelMouse

RebelMouse is much more than just a replacement for a traditional CMS. Our platform is a tremendous community-building experience. Today's social ecosystem has given us a seemingly limitless number of premium creators who understand how to create gorgeous and relevant content that drives the growth of their own audiences. These creators and influencers are either experts in certain topics, or heavily engaged in targeted content that drives their interests. They're not only consuming the content they're passionate about, but they're contributing to the conversation, too. The new role of the editor is not just to cover the most important topics and people around their expertise, but also to invite those preferred influencers into their community and get them to participate in creating premium content.

Keep reading... Show less

Dynamic Voting: Grow Traffic and Engagement Organically

Help your audience find its voice.

Creating quality content is no longer on marketers alone. We live in a universe of creators who are willing to not only consume content that resonates, but play a role in the creation, promotion, and conversations surrounding it.

Since the start of RebelMouse, we've been on a journey to create dynamic media that is easier for content creators to curate and amplify on social. It's why we've built an online engagement platform centered around the power of communities that thrive naturally in the digital ecosystem.

Keep reading... Show less

How to Monetize Your Website in Today’s Publishing Environment

In order to define distributive publishing, we have to ask the following question: If you have quality content, but nobody sees it, does it even exist? The answer is no, because your content needs to be supported in a way that lets it move seamlessly across all channels, especially site, search, and social. But let's take this question a step further: If you can't monetize your content to generate the support it needs, how do you create quality content in the first place?

Keep reading... Show less

How to Monetize Your Site on RebelMouse

Leverage Our Platform to Sell Digital Ads That Overperform

For years now, digital publishers have experienced a collective push to diversify their revenue streams. As online readership becomes more complex, publishers cannot rely on a one-trick monetization method to secure success.

The COVID-19 crisis in 2020 was an even bigger wake-up call for publishers to create a dynamic revenue plan. The timing of the pandemic aligned with the new reality of a cookie-less world, which has completely reprioritized user experience and what it means to build audience loyalty. This means in 2021, publishers need a solid first-party data strategy and a modern revenue plan that can withstand more months of uncertainty to come.

Let's find the right revenue plan for your site. Here are just a handful of ways our next-generation publishing platform supports multiple monetization methods at once.

Keep reading... Show less

How Site Performance Shifted in 2020: RebelMouse Page Speed Updates

Google updated how it measures page performance during the pandemic. Here's how our product changed, too.

2020 was a year that shook every industry to its core. As workforces and workflows everywhere shifted, the digital publishing space was left to pick up the pieces of what it means to create content in a pandemic-filled world.

At RebelMouse, we examined the impact of COVID-19 on marketing strategies. You can read more about our findings here. However, as we round out a turbulent year, some publishers think 2020 will be a positive turning point for the industry overall. More people at home and being online has increased the need for quality content more than ever. Audiences are paying attention to where and how they consume content, and advertisers are taking notice of this pattern change, too.

Because of this, content deliverability is what will define what makes a successful publisher in 2020 and beyond. Audiences will only tolerate quality content, and they will only consume it on a site that provides a next-level site experience.

Keep reading... Show less

Google’s Page Experience Signals for Search Rankings Launches in May 2021

Your site's page performance will dictate its search viability

In May 2020, Google let the world know that its Core Web Vitals would become the new benchmarks for measuring a site's performance in its search results. Six months later, Google announced that its page experience signals will officially roll out and begin impacting search rankings in May 2021.

The page experience signals include Google's Core Web Vitals and existing search signals. Together, these will determine a website's page experience and overall site performance.

Keep reading... Show less

Supreme Storytelling: indy100 Conversation's Top 20 Stories so Far

The Independent is prioritizing free thought and wants to amplify the voices that the mainstream media misses. That's why the U.K. media powerhouse launched indy100 Conversations. The new site, powered by RebelMouse, brings together creators from all around the globe to write about what's on their mind. From COVID-19 to racial injustice, the storytelling on indy100 Conversations has been anything but dry.

Here's indy100 Conversation's top 20 stories so far. Click here to join the conversation.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter