A few days ago Business Insider came out with an article called, "The 15 Most Influential Instagram Users Advertisers Are Dying To Work With." For me, this article couldn't have come at a better time. As an avid Instagram user, it got me thinking. First of all, let me just put it out there. I LOVE Instagram. In fact, it's my favorite social network to use from a personal standpoint. But this article got my marketing brain working. Specifically, how much is an Instagram photo worth? Does it depend on how many followers that one person has? How many likes their photos receive? Or does it depend on how "good" the photo is.
The answer is not yet clear, and it goes both ways depending on how you look at it. The value also lies in how you are going to use the photo.
Why Use Instagram Photos
1. The variety and sheer number of photos is mind blowing. Instagram reports 100M monthly active users with 40M photos being uploaded per day. Furthermore, there are 8500 likes per second and 1000 comments per second. Now, I'd say that's an active community! An active community is always a plus. That is a lot of options for your campaign.
You might be thinking how does one sort through all the rubbish and find quality and relevant photos. One word. Hashtags. Hashtags on Instagram are completely and easily searchable. You can search through your Instagram device. Or you can use an external service like statigr.am.
I did a search for #Dobby, the house elf from Harry Potter and 40,000 photos came up. #Foodporn yields 148,000 photos.
Note to Instagram Users: If you want your photos to be found use hashtags. It's also a great way to build a community around your photos and gain new followers.
2. The cross promotional value of using an Instagram photo is huge. People who share are a unique crowd. They share for a reason. In my opinion, we share because we want to be heard, seen or known. With the rise of social media people are looking for their 15 minutes of fame and it is becoming a lot easier to get it. Taking this one step further, American technologist, professional speaker,and Internet commentator,David Weinberger says, "On the Web, everyone will be famous to fifteen people".
In Layman's terms people will want to share where their photo is shared. In the right hands this can be great word of mouth traffic to your product or site. A win for you. And a win for them.
So, how much is it worth? That's up to you to define. If your goal is getting new users/customers it can come down to how influential that Instagram photographer is. If your goal is to source great photos that are unique it can come down how much you are willing to pay for a photo. The photographer might put a price on it, but he or she just might be willing to take the 15 minutes of fame and carry on. We'll let the free market
Have you ever used Instagram photos in any of your campaigns or projects? If so, I loved to hear about it. Please leave a comment below.