Blogging Out Loud

Connecting You with the Latest Marketing Tips and Trends.

Back Talk: Is Instagram the Mobile Tipping Point?

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?

Please feel free to comment below, or join the conversation on Vertical Marketing Network’s Facebook page.

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About JJ Nelson

Freelance blogger for Vertical Marketing Network; food writer; bartender.

8 comments on “Back Talk: Is Instagram the Mobile Tipping Point?

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  5. Mark S
    April 11, 2012

    I don’t think it’s so much a turning point for mobile social networks as it is for integrated online/mobile platforms – I wouldn’t be shocked to see an online Instagram product pop up, perhaps offering additional editing capabilities.

    This is exciting for Facebook for a number of reasons: Access to a brilliant tech team – hopefully making improvements to the mobile functionality of the Facebook Photo uploader, and of course…

    THE ACQUISITION OF 30 MILLION CONSUMERS! And the data that comes with them (some of whom may *gasp* not even have a Facebook profile)… that could include location data, interest data (based on the tagging of photos) and the age/gender info users populate their profiles with upon sign-up.

    In short, it means the Facebook platform can become smarter and faster – ingrained even further into people’s lives – and that’s exciting for marketeers.

    I’ll be interested to see how brands continue to adopt Instagram as a means of engaging consumers – some of my favourite campaigns thus far are those mash-ups with other social media platforms:

    Brisk – Using Instagram and Twitter as a means of users submitting photos to be printed on a limited run of cans at SXSW.

    Moby – Used Instagram on tour to take pictures of things that gelled with the concept of his album – Destroyed. These were displayed via Polymaps and users were encouraged to add their own photos using the #Destroyed hashtag.


  6. Jeff
    April 10, 2012

    “Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”
    “A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

    Lots of running going on, not sure where we’re headed, but we’re making excellent time!


  7. Tiffany
    April 10, 2012

    I follow Sole Society, a shoe brand, on Facebook and they use Instagram heavily to promote their shoes. Because their shoes vary in color and shape, it’s always fun to see how they come out with the instagram app.

    Like Alice mentioned, celebrities are using instagram a lot. With the link to their Facebook and Twitter accounts, everyday users are able to see celebrity instagram photos and mirror their own photos similarly. It will be interesting to see how Facebook uses their resources to combine the app wiith their media.


  8. Alice
    April 10, 2012

    Personally, I caught onto Instagram as soon as I got my iphone 2 years ago. It was a fun and easy way to transform my pictures without having to do it via Photoshop. Plus, I liked that there weren’t any ads or gimmicks. It was pure and simple. However, with Facebooks acquitision of Instagram, I feel like some of their followers will convert to other similar programs since Facebook will be implementing ads into the program to make up for their cost of $1 billion. We’ll see how it’ll play out in the next few months.

    I’ve also noticed that Instagram is heavily used in the celebrity realm. Like you mentioned, a lot of people link it to their facebook/twitter accounts so their friends can see whats going on. I’ve even seen blogs that tell you which celebrities you should follow on Instagram. It’s pretty crazy that it has evolved into a form of social media instead of its original use of converting your photos into something special

    I’d like to see where Instagram will take us in the next year or two. I guess we’ll all stay tuned.


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