A Simply Measured study reveals Instagram's business use increased 9% from last quarter.

While Instagram has held off on promised ad integration so far, businesses are using the social network for promotion. Last year, we discussed branding strategies for companies on the photo sharing social network. Most of the top-followed users on Instagram are brands—aside from the expertly marketed celebrity users, Victoria's Secret is the most popular company with over 1.5 million followers.

Simply Measured released a study yesterday revealing that more of the "top 100 companies" they looked at are using Instagram to reach customers. Since the last study in November, Instagram branding for top companies increased 9% to 59% overall.

The study also showed that companies are becoming more active on Instagram.

In addition to being more prevalent on Instagram, businesses are posting more often and gaining more followers. It's common practice for brands to snatch up all official usernames for social media, but in order to gain a following, they must be active and engage their fans. The number of companies who post one or more photos a week jumped 7% from November. Overall, the brands analyzed for the Simple Measured study saw an increase of 1.6 million followers over the last quarter. 

The study also revealed that cross-platform sharing from Instagram has decreased for Facebook rival Twitter. Instagram disabled photo support on Twitter in December. Since then, all photos posted to Twitter from Instagram open in a new window instead of within the feed—adding an inconvenience that many companies did not want to burden their followers with. Twitter sharing from Instagram dropped 17% as a result; meanwhile, sharing to Facebook increased 30%.