Forget traditional Christmas lists since customers are getting more visual than ever.

Forget traditional Christmas lists since customers are getting more visual than ever.

Out with the old and in with the new… Research suggests that nearly 41% of Instagram users have used the social media tool to drop hints to friends and family about what they want for Christmas.

Marketers are missing a trick. A separate survey showed out of 100 senior UK marketers  that 60% aren’t using Instagram as a marketing channel and only 14% run a branded Instagram account.

But while they may be missing out this year, the research suggests that marketers are planning to be more on the ball next year with more than half (53%) planning to make use of the channel in 2016 to broaden their marketing presence. The research showed that nearly a third (29%) planned to use Instagram’s recently launched advertising services whilst just under a quarter (23%) said that they were planning a branded account to target consumers.

The main reason for embracing the channel was for brand awareness for half of respondents and for brand storytelling for 30%. Driving sales and loyalty was the priority for 30% of respondents in the survey.

Many priorities differ somewhat to those of consumers where the top reasons for consumers following Instagram brand accounts was for offers and discounts. Using the channel for inspiration for new purchases was the main reason for 39% of respondents and to monitor brand news and announcements for 37% of consumers studied.

49% of customers said that they valued useful or informative content, whilst 37% said that they wanted to see brands sharing authentic or user-generated images. Respondents also valued two-way interaction through the channel with 35% valuing brands interacting with their followers and a further 15% liking to see brands reposing or sharing other users’ photos and videos.

“The sharable nature of this social media platform makes it the perfect channel to understand what people are looking at, what they are liking, and what they may want as a gift’. All the more reason for marketers to jump on board this new platform to advertise there new and existing products.