You can look at Facebook as this bundle of so many different things, but it turned out that people just like photos more than anything else. Why do people share in the first place? How can this trend be tackled by brands to increase their identity? And most importantly, can this trend impact the purchasing behaviour process of consumers? We will give you an insight into all of the Instagram secrets.
The growth of this phenomenon is proportional to the growth of mobile devices. In fact mobiles are the fastest selling consumer goods of all time (Kalakota; Robinson). Evidence of this growth are reported by Apple. Since launching the iPad in 2010 they have sold 84 million iPads, of these, 44 million were sold between the 2011 holidays and the end of June (Ian Paul, 2012). Mobile devices are also used massively to collect and share pictures and this phenomenon is starting to get interesting for business in the pursuit to build brands. The purchase of Instagram by Facebook for 1 billion dollars draws attention to photo sharing apps and their potential for marketing purposes. Today, there are about 4 billion camera phones globally. Additionally, one on ten camera phones have a camera resolution of 5 megapixels or better. In conclusion there are 400.000.000 million people out there probably engaging in photo sharing activities.
Sure, taking pictures and modifying them with the Instagram app is simply fun. Thanks to photo manipulation tools such as filters and blur, Instagram permits to the masses the option of taking digital photography to a whole new level. However, before, Social Media pictures where snapped to confirm reality and to remember important moments; nowadays, to confirm reality, people must share content and get feedback building an online “reputation”. “Only sharing can give us validation” (Rosenberg, 2012).
Businesses such as Warby Parker, Burberrys, NH hotels have started using Instagram to engage consumer through a new creative medium. The fashion glasses company used Instagram to make their consumers create content. The New York based brand invited the customers to chronicle on Instagram a walk starting from the company’s headquarters in Soho, finishing on the rooftop of the Gansevoort building. This initiative resulted in a superb and absolutely free photo promotion (Stampler, 2012). User Generated Content is any piece of information about a product or a brand produced by customers/users and shared on the web. User Generated Content is believed to be more influential in driving the purchasing decision process of consumers than traditional advertising produced by the firm; this is because consumers trust each others experiences more than brands’ promises. In fact, finding opinions and reviews about products online is very easy; in 2008, a study from the consulting company Deloitte, has demonstrated that almost two third of the consumers in North America reads reviews and product tests on the internet. Moreover, 82% of them admitted that this information has driven the purchase decision.
Photos shared through mobile devices have the same or a higher potential of influencing consumer decision this is because of a simple principle: pictures are more entertaining and engaging content compared to plain text; “A picture is worth a thousand words” (Rosen, 2005). A picture carries emotions which is one of the main drivers in brand recognition. A study by hives (2008) identifies three important elements that a firm must give to its brand to give it “personality” and position itself away from competition. Those factors are: product attributes, corporate associations and imagery. Among the three types of association tested, imagery was found to be the most powerful tool for transmitting brand values and personality.
Instagram marketing campaigns have taken over. Thanks to hastags or # it is possible to regroup pictures shared by different users; new brands can be discovered by navigating through # and possibly appeal an active buyer.