Instagram was designed to capture moments and memories through photos, but it’s also captured the attention of the advertising industry and could be changing the focus of marketing as we know it. The highly visual photo-sharing app has made it a popular platform for advertising and ushered in an age of Snapshot Marketing. But it’s not only the layout of Instagram that’s remaking marketing—now the tastes of the youthful Millennials who take most of these snapshots seem to be shaping the style of the actual ads. Clearly, Millennials and their Instagram images are inspiring modern marketing. MediaPost.com exposed more on how the platform is changing the look of advertising.
According to industry research, the most successful visual platform campaigns feature native ads that reflect the look of the site’s content. And advertising campaigns containing Instagram photos received three times the click-through rate as ads filled with stock or studio photos. Instagram even advises brands to use glossy, high-quality photos that seem similar to snaps from regular users. In fact, past campaigns that featured phony-looking photos were poorly embraced by the young consumers who appreciate authenticity on the platform.
As a result, the natural style of these Instagram images and Millennials’ desire for more genuine, organic brand content is driving the direction of the advertising industry. It’s shifting away from the staged, stylized ads of the past and toward more real, relatable images. This is leading many advertising agencies to build a network of photographers who specialize in these natural images, or even create entire divisions just for Instagram campaigns.
And some Millennial-focused brands are avoiding any risk of staged ads by simply using user-generated content. Coca-Cola is assembling 219,000 photos found on social media into a 3,015-square-meter flag for its Happiness Flag campaign. The beverage brand has also created a TV commercial comprised of user-generated content. And Miller Lite is tapping Twitter to develop its very first user-generated TV spot. It appears that these realistic images are truly changing the face of digital, TV, and print ad promotions.
“Customer photos are the most authentic, compelling and abundant brand assets available today,” said Jose de Cabo from visual commerce platform Olapic, which integrates user-generated social media images into brand sites. He explained that these photos are the critical link to connecting brands with consumers in a more meaningful way today.
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