Facebook’s announcement yesterday to buy Instagram for $1 billion is as good of an indicator as any of the future of mobile marketing. The deal comes on the heels of a busy week for the photo-sharing mobile app. Last week saw the release of Instagram for Android, and within 12 hours of that release, one million new users were snap happy. An estimated 30 million iPhone users already have the app, and CNET reports these users take and upload more than 5 million photos a day. These photos are displayed in a kind of visual Twitter feed, and Instagram users can link their accounts to Facebook and Twitter for easy sharing. But unlike Pinterest, the other photo-driven social network making serious waves, Instagram’s action is completely mobile; at its current growth rate, it’s poised to be the first formidable mobile-only social network. What Facebook has in store remains to be seen. Still, savvy brands and marketers are using the storytelling tool to engage consumers. Notably, Starbucks and Red Bull have tapped Instagram to share brand information and, in the case of Red Bull, even inspiration. General Electric recently ran a contest to find the company’s next “Instagrapher”. The prize: a trip to Wales to snap shots of an aviation facility. There were nearly 4,000 submissions. Even President Obama has an Instagram account.
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems like photos are fast becoming the easiest way to socially engage. A picture used to be worth a thousand words. Now, it’s worth a thousand mobile followers.
Which begs the question: Is the shift from social media marketing to social mobile marketing coming on faster with the adoption of Instagram? So far, have any brands using Instagram caught your eye? How will you incorporate Instagram into your social routine?