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Photo courtesy of AdWeek.com

The digital marketing world is constantly changing and marketers are always looking for “the next big thing.” First marketers were fired up about Facebook, then they were in a tizzy for Twitter, but now it looks like they are most interested in Instagram.

Currently, 32 percent of U.S. companies with 100 employees or more are using Instagram for marketing. That percentage is projected to more than double by 2017 to an estimated 71 percent of companies using Instagram as a marketing tool.  
 
The popular photo-sharing site has only allowed advertising for two years and it wasn’t until this spring that they allowed their ads to be clickable (which is the whole point of an ad, right?). In addition to making the placements clickable, ads with carousel images are also available, allowing brands to showcase up to four beautiful photos, rather than just one.  
 
As the ad placements continue to evolve, so does the targeting ability thanks to Instagram’s parent company Facebook. Instagram ads have the ability to target users by leveraging the enormous amount of data provided through Facebook. One thing we’ve learned in the digital marketing world is that good data normally comes with a price tag. The average cost-per-thousand (CPM) is around $6.70, which is higher than other social media ad placements, however, users are two and a half times more likely to click on an Instagram ad than ads on other social media platforms, making it all worth while.
 
As Instagram begins to rise, Twitter is striving to stay competitive. In spite of the recent Twitter cutbacks, the micro-blogging site has stepped up with different features for their ad products, including Conversion Lift, which allows brands to measure the effectiveness of their Promoted Tweets. Though the company is working hard, Twitter still hasn’t managed to make a successful profit, and according to eMarketer, in just two short years Instagram may be more popular with marketers than Twitter. And if marketers fly away from the platform, it could eventually mean bye, bye, birdie.