Instagram and Armenian Media: A Hidden Love Story

Samvel Martirosyan

Media researcher

Instagram is one of the world’s top visited social networking sites (SNSs) today. Journalists and news outlets often use it as a professional platform.

Based on the nature of SNSs, news outlets don’t get direct traffic from Instagram. But in terms of branding for both the news outlet and the journalist, Instagram is one of the best platforms.

Instagram can be considered a very influential SNS in Armenia. There are no exact statistics regarding the SNS, resulting in only a rough idea of the number of users.

According to Similarweb, Instagram is in 26th place in terms of number of visits from Armenia — and this refers to visits only from desktop computers and laptops. Not included are visits from mobile devices, which comprise the majority of visits, since the SNS is based completely on its app. 

We can get an idea of how active Instagram is in Armenia from the number of followers of celebrity accounts (of course, we must consider that some of the followers are not in Armenia, though they are “Armenian Internet” consumers). 

Let me cite a few examples. Sirusho has 68,600 followers; Nazeni Hovhannisyan, 35,400; Sofie Mkheyan, 10,000; Kamo Tovmasyan, 8,600. These figures are comparable to the number of followers of these  celebrities’ Facebook pages.

Also on Instagram are local TV hosts who have just as large a number of followers. But when we examine accounts managed by news outlets, there’s the impression that the news media sector is practically absent on this social networking site. 

Many news outlets don’t use Instagram at all. And the use of the majority of users raises questions. 

For example, Armenia’s Public TV, it seems has an account, which has about 100 followers, which is quite passive. But since the TV station’s official website doesn’t have a link to this account (though there are links to its Facebook and Twitter accounts), it’s impossible to know for sure if this is an official account or not. 

The account bearing the name of Shant TV has the same problem, while Civilnet’s account has been frozen since 2013 — it hasn’t been updated in two years. The same ambiguity applies in the case of other local TV stations. It’s possible that they have Instagram accounts, but we don’t know since there are no links on their websites.   

In the case of news websites, there’s the impression that very few pay serious attention to Instagram. The majority don’t have a presence on the SNS at all, while those that do, don’t use its full potential. For example, Armenpress (202 followers) has a very interesting account, which, unfortunately, hasn’t been updated in a year.

One of the most successful Armenian accounts is Bravo.am, which, compared to the others, has a huge number of followers (more than 2,000). 

Theoretically, photo agencies should have the best accounts. For example, Photolure has 520 followers and is able to harness Instagram’s potential. Panarmenian Photo (320 followers) rarely updates its page. Recently, it was uploading only a few photos per month.

Thus, in Instagram, Armenia is ahead largely in terms of glossy media, while in terms of the press, one can find more journalists than news outlets on Instagram.

Samvel Martirosyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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