A Facebook property since April 2012, Instagram has emerged as one of the premier interactive storytelling channels online, challenging the dominance of established social-media sites by proving the power of photo sharing in today’s modern mobile world. By providing brands a platform to share messages through compelling visuals, Instagram hopes to attract users by presenting attention-grabbing content.
As a key influencer in terms of consumer behavior, Instagram serves more than 150 million account holders on a daily basis. Identifying these users and offering compensation to post about a particular brand will be a commonplace activity in the next 12 months. According to Nitogram, 17 major brands have exceeded more than 1 million followers each.
Instagram is embracing the art of storytelling by allowing brands an opportunity to market their products and services. As businesses and organizations strive to cut through the clutter, social-media success is predicated upon more than traditional content like text and outbound links. With social-media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat putting greater emphasis on image sharing, it’s quite obvious that the future will depend on these visual assets. For example: On Twitter, photos are now appearing directly in the user’s newsfeed.
In examining the qualitative metrics of these campaigns, the user reach has been quite impressive for initial ads from Ben & Jerry’s (9.8 million users, 8 days) and Levi’s (7.4 million users, 9 days). As new advertisements continue to grow and develop in 2014, sponsored posts will become an increasingly vital marketing tool for companies.
Storytelling helps to develop stronger connections with audience members who may be on the verge of making a purchasing decision. However, Instagram must proceed with caution. Users expressed outrage when the company adjusted their terms of services to indicate that user content may eventually be turned into advertisements. For Instagram, the challenges of brand marketing integration are sure to be their top story of 2014.