Unless you have been living under a rock, you are well aware that Facebook just bought Instagram for a whooping $1 billion. Let’s just say Facebook made a very smart move. This recent acquisition signifies the rise of the two biggest trends of this year: The convergence of mobile and the shift to an image-powered Web.
Instagram is arguably the very first mobile social network. With more than 30 million users, it’s a photo creating/sharing app, which up until last week was only available to iOS users. Now, it’s also available to Android users. What makes Instagram so appealing is that you can take a photo, apply a neat vintage filter, and share it on Instagram and on various other social media sites all within the app in a matter of seconds. Factor in a system of “likes,” comments, and a way to filter/group photos (via hashtags) and you have built the beginning of a social community. Incredibly, this is all done through your smartphone. There’s no need to find USB cords, memory cards and a clunky desktop computer to share photos anymore. All you need is a smartphone with one app and you can share anywhere with anyone over a 3G, 4G or wifi connection.
Besides it being mobile, Instagram is truly addictive because it’s so visually appealing. People generally like to take and look at photos. With more and more content and less and less time throughout the day, people want easier, faster and better ways to consume content. As fellow blogger Adam Vincenzini smartly points out, Facebook buying Instagram signifies the shift to an “image-powered Web.”
The marketers, PRos, journalists, advertisers, and of course, brands that find ways to tell their story in captivating images with short and sweet captions are going to have an enormous advantage. It’s no longer necessary to write a 1,000 word blog post or press release when you can likely tell the same message with a carefully crafted image and caption. Short, sweet and to the point.
Instagram is definitely the biggest indicator of this converging trend of mobile and images. But, this shift to an “image-powered Web” has been emerging gradually over the last couple of years. For instance, the emergence and popularity of Pinterest- which is all about visually compelling images. The creation of Facebook timeline- first for profile pages and most recently with brand pages. The design alone makes it clear what Facebook’s intentions are compelling photos and Sponsored stories (the second one is about Facebook ads, which is another post altogether).
So, what should brands take away from all this?
It’s simple. With the emergence of more and more people owning smartphones and tablets, we are becoming an increasingly mobile society. Your target consumers are likely on the go and multitasking more than ever before. In order to hook them in, it’s got to be mobile-friendly, short, sweet and visually compelling.