Digital marketing is all about working with information.

You have to analyze conversion rates and to look for the most effective content. The same goes for social media marketing, as well.

However, when it comes to social media, there is too much data. That’s why you should take data into account when planning your Instagram marketing campaign.

According to statistics, people make 95 million new posts on Instagram every day. It would be really difficult to keep track of all of this information if we didn’t have such technologies as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Using AI for data analysis, businesses can get countless actionable insights into human behavior, which is a reason why Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said that this social media platform is going to turn into a big data company in the future.

Moreover, Instagram has certain advantages over other social media. The thing is that there are many people on Instagram who don’t use other platforms, like Facebook or Twitter.

Therefore, Instagram allows you to study unique demographics, optimizing your marketing strategies for specific categories of users. In addition, Instagram users are more engaged with brands.

Every day, about 200 million Instagram users visit business profiles, and as much as 80% of users follow at least one business on this platform. Thus, Instagram users like messages from brands more than users of other social media platforms.

The Impact of AI on Social Media

Accurate insights thanks to more data

The analysis of Instagram and other social media offers numerous benefits for marketing. However, big data is beneficial only when you actually use the information about all of the interactions.

All the interactions between users and the platform are unstructured and absolutely spontaneous. They are very complex and variable. Sorting, analyzing, and categorizing this information is a laborious and time-consuming task. In addition, the processing is virtually impossible without a certain degree of automation. Machine learning allows for working with any amount of data, analyzing billions of posts.

Analysis of images

Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat are platforms focused on visual content.

Although analyzing textual content has long been a common task for automated solutions, image recognition is much more challenging. Identifying the content of images has only become possible thanks to deep learning. Now, social media platforms can analyze images, detecting different objects, faces, logos, etc.


Identifying important content

Artificial intelligence is capable of detecting posts that are especially valuable. For example, it can analyze content and determine whether the word “orange” was used when referring to a fruit or phone company.

Posts about the company will be categorized as important, while other posts will be considered noise. Machine learning enables computers to recognize common patterns in the textual content, understanding specific nuances and the context. Therefore, AI-based solutions can provide the most relevant search results.

Understanding consumers

Automated analysis of the user-generated content is challenging because people can use sarcasm, various synonyms, and phrases with more than one meaning.

Previously, computers were unable to identify the real context and tone of a message, but machine learning has enabled developers to create more complex solutions, which actually understand the true meaning of posts. Such solutions allow companies to analyze sentiment accurately, while also saving time and making the process less costly.


Being able to recognize patterns, artificial intelligence can work with any language, which is especially important for big companies that sell their products or services in different countries. Therefore, companies can keep track of all the consumers’ feedback and are no longer limited to the audience from a certain area. This feature of artificial intelligence also helps to create content in different languages, with no need to hire translators.

Analysis of trends

Detecting patterns, artificial intelligence allows businesses to sort posts into a predefined set of categories. Moreover, machine learning is also capable of detecting emerging topics and trends which don’t fit into these predefined parameters.

Algorithms just identify common structures and select posts that have a lot in common. This method is called unsupervised machine learning, and it can analyze trends objectively, regardless of your expectations.

Instagram, AI, and Big Data

The success of social media marketing to a large extent depends on influencers. Influencers have a great ability to promote any products to their loyal followers. According to research, every dollar invested in influencer marketing brings businesses $6.50 in return.

However, finding the right influencers for your brand may turn out to be a tricky task. This is a reason why researchers from the University of British Columbia conducted a study where they considered the use of AI for finding the most profitable partnerships.


Small brands often don’t have enough resources to find the right influencers, and it turns out that machine learning can help them. The researchers created an AI-driven tool for content analysis, capable of targeting brands and analyzing media, hashtags, and captions.

Working with Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, this tool analyzed images from different categories using Google’s TensorFlow and selected appropriate tags. Every tag also had a numerical value that reflected how frequent it was used in a certain profile. After this, data from a target brand and influencer was processed by a model that suggested possible matches.

The program has worked with two competing brands: Giordano’s Pizza and Domino’s Pizza. Several influencers have been recommended for both brands but in a different order, taking into account the nuances of the content.

Another research by Cornell University was focused on patterns in clothing. Analyzing Instagram photos, the researchers collected massive amounts of data that illustrated emerging trends and changes in fashion. They managed to track different items, styles, and colors, as well as seasonal dynamics.

The researchers have also been able to say what trends are stronger in a particular region. Obviously, such information can be extremely useful for clothing brands that can make decisions and create new products based not on estimations but on real historical data that reflects preferences of a certain audience.

How Instagram Uses Big Data and AI in 2019

Target advertising

The data collected from Instagram is valuable because it provides numerous useful insights for businesses. Instagram monitors search preferences and engagement of its users, selling advertising to companies that are interested in a particular type of audience.

This way, companies can reach users who are interested in a certain marketing message. Given that Instagram belongs to Facebook, which also has an impressive audience of 1.8 billion people, there is a lot of material for analysis. Businesses can get perfectly targeted advertising based on who people follow, what they share, and what they like. Targeting is one of the main advantages of artificial intelligence in social media marketing, as well as in email marketing.

Fighting spam

Instagram also uses AI to filter spam. The platform is capable of detecting fake messages and removing them from accounts.

Currently, this system works with nine languages, including English, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic. Detecting spam becomes possible thanks to DeepText, the AI-based algorithm that reads the text and understands its context. The same algorithm is used by Facebook, as well.


Search and the explore page

AI-driven search tools easily analyze millions of posts, suggesting the content you will be interested in. The platform analyzes trending information and tags, allowing users to quickly find relevant posts about certain places, activities, and topics.

Researching culture and human behavior

Instagram aims to make its users feel like a part of a worldwide community. Therefore, this company needs to understand how people behave in different parts of the world. Obviously, such a task implies working with a lot of data, and that’s where AI comes in handy. Complex research that would take decades now can be conducted at high speeds.

Improving user experience

The success of every social media platform depends on how easily users can find content that looks interesting to them. Instagram needs to generate interest in order to be valuable. However, the more content users upload, the wider the list of the available options, and the more difficult it may be to find something interesting in this abundance of information.

Instagram’s previous algorithm displayed posts in a feed in a reverse chronological order, which is a simple but not really effective approach. Today, the AI-driven algorithm selects the most likable content, offering every user posts that they will most likely appreciate.

This would never be possible without machine learning. The algorithm learns and improves all the time, selecting the most relevant and valuable posts for everyone. The old algorithm also made users miss up to 50% of their friends’ posts, while the new one delivers 90% of such content.

Fighting bullying and offensive content

Cyberbullying is a very serious problem. Every sixth teenager becomes a victim of cyberbullying. According to statistics, 42% of bullying cases happen on Instagram so the company decided to address this problem.

Last year, Instagram introduced its offensive comment filter. This filter also understands what groups of users are at risk of discrimination. If the algorithm detects patterns in offensive comments or repeated replies, the company receives notifications, being able to take the necessary actions.

However, artificial intelligence is able to do much more than that. For example, the latest advancements in machine learning enabled Instagram filters to find bullying in photos. This algorithm is much more complex than the previous one, and it’s still in the development process.

Nevertheless, it takes user protection to a new level, not only improving user experience but also changing users’ lives for the better.

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Descriptions for visually impaired

Even though image recognition is still a developing technology, it’s nevertheless promising. Not only can it help victims of cyberbullying, but it can also make Instagram more accessible for everyone, including people with visual impairments.

Given the overwhelming popularity of social media and its importance in our lives, many people with visual disabilities report feeling “excluded” and “frustrated.” In its statement, the company noticed that its new technology can make the platform more accessible for 285 million users.

Artificial intelligence recognizes and analyzes photos, automatically generating descriptions. Now visually impaired users can use screen readers to browse profiles, the feed, and the explore section. The Alt Text algorithm recognizes objects and lists them.

When posting photos, users can also turn on the “Alt Text” feature in the “Advanced Settings” menu to get more control over these descriptions, adding their own text.


As you can see, artificial intelligence and machine learning become a very important part of social media marketing.

Not only do AI solutions provide insights into consumers’ preferences and behavior, but they also change social media, introducing new standards of user experience. AI-driven solutions can analyze both textual content and images, selecting the most important and relevant posts while fighting spam and offensive content.

Tasks that used to be impossible just a few years ago become simple and no longer require companies to hire hundreds of employees who would work with massive amounts of data using basic automated solutions.

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms. It has a unique audience which includes people who don’t use other platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Given that Instagram users actively engage with brands, this platform offers numerous benefits for social media marketers, being a source of valuable data. Companies can make decisions based on real preferences of their consumers, detecting emerging trends, and quickly reacting to the users’ feedback.

In the nearest future, artificial intelligence will help brands find the right influencers who can deliver their message to the right audience.

Instagram is a platform with many facets. Supporting different types of content, it can provide businesses with lots of data and help them find users who are interested in a particular product or service.

The new AI-driven algorithm provides a personalized experience for every user, making social media marketing more effective than ever. Moreover, artificial intelligence makes Instagram better by tackling such important problems as cyberbullying and making the platform more accessible for users of all kinds, including people with visual impairments.

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Ester Brierley

Ester Brierley, virtual assistant and content creator at College Writers. Ester Brierley is a QA Engineer in software outsourcing company, but considering a career change. Also, she had found herself as a virtual assistant and a seasoned content creator for College Writers. Follow her on Twitter.