The question must now be asked: what does the acquisition of Instagram by Facebook mean for social media marketing? The recent purchase of the photo app network by social media giant Facebook will certainly increase the ubiquity of Instagram and add even more ‘coolness’ to the Facebook brand, but there are more implications than just that. For the social media world, the acquisition holds the potential for a not-so-subtle sea change in marketing that will likely see the continued fervor of visual media being used on social networking sites. Here are a few other effects we can expect that could have ripples in the social media optimization world:
Expect more branded photo accounts. Instagram has contributed greatly to branded photo accounts in which companies like Red Bull are able to better connect with consumers by sponsoring photo galleries. Expect to see a lot more of this in marketing circles. This will likely include more user generated photo contests like the ones Starbucks has made popular.
Facebook pages are about to become a lot more visual. Businesses looking to drive sales through their Facebook pages will likely be using Instagram now. Whether or not they upload the photos natively or use Instagram to share their photos across multiple platforms, the days of excessive white space on Facebook could be coming to an end. Expect to see a lot more sepia-toned photo images on FB business pages now.
Instagram could contribute to Facebook’s mobile ad business model. Facebook has been pretty open about the weakness of its mobile app to generate ad revenue. With Instagram so firmly embedded in smartphone culture, it stands to reason that the photo app could help Facebook to finally create a robust way to integrate advertising into its mobile offerings. Smartphone users have shown they are not reluctant to delve into new mobile apps.
More photo app networks being bought by social media companies. There’s no reason to think this won’t lead to more photo app networks arising and then being bought by other social networks. Could this also breed a video app social network that would then get bought by YouTube? Only time will tell.
The rise of Pinterest and Instagram in the popular culture of social media signifies a very important trend in the commercial world. Easily shared visual media is beloved right now by both consumers and marketers. With the acquisition of Instagram by Facebook we will now see the merger of the top photo app with the top social network. Social media optimization could be in for a wild ride.