Instagram Advertising

Here we present a post from a Uni student in Advertising. Actually, it’s from my daughter, Samantha, who is very much on the ball. I’ve been working on a post on Social Media since last week and after lunch a few days ago, I suggested she contribute to my blog and has come up with a post in just a few days. Kudos to you, Sam.

Like any industry, advertising has come a long way due to the changing face of technology. With social media and the like, consumers are not bombarded with ads but rather choose to face them. The Instagram star has been slowly rising since its initial launch in 2010. For any person with basic motor skills and a functional index finger, the mobile photo-sharing app is navigated through by sliding your index finger up: with the odd double tap to ‘like’. The beauty of this mindless practice is that consumers don’t realize that they are being advertised to. Users choose to follow Instagram accounts of friends, celebrities and established brands. In all three categories, ads are present.

Any user is able to tag a brand in their photo with the simple use of an ‘@’ symbol. This unspoken quid-pro-quo relationship allows users to pull more likes by linking in an established brand, in turn, brands get further exposure through this generation-y word-of-mouth advertising. For instance, a Saturday night #selfie of a girl getting ready to go out might tag the brand of the dress and the shoes and might even go as far as tagging her nail polish, make up and even the nightclub she was going to. In classic advertising terms, it adopts the affective strategy that encourages the consumer seeks gratification; which with Instagram, can come so simply as from a ‘like’.

As an Instagram user myself, along with 200 million others, I find myself buying products as a result of, for lack of a better term, Instagram advertising. Celebrities are often sent products for free in the hopes they might upload a photo of them with their new little gift. Advertisers don’t need to pay for celebrity endorsements but often receive it anyway in exchange for sending a product sample or freebie. In a world where nothing is free, the Instagram brand thrives more than ever.

As a free app to use and to advertise on, established brands are able to set up accounts and hire unpaid university students or graduate interns to be “managers of social media”. For any Media student or BA with an Advertising major (yours truly), the job is an easy one that Gen-Y’ers are happy to take onboard as experience with an established company in a field they know so much about: social media. With so much to gain and absolutely nothing to lose, why not advertise on Instagram? It is unequivocally the future of advertising and taps into, quite literally, a world of free marketing that consumers and advertisers would be foolish not to engage in.

– Samantha Garcia

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