Mr. Systrom acknowledged that Instagram users might have misinterpreted the company’s updated terms as saying it would sell their photos without providing compensation. He then went on to blame the antiquated language of legal documents for users’ misunderstanding stating that “the language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question.” With these new developments, the question still remains, will Instagram users maintain their accounts after the January 16 deadline or has the damage already been done?
Instagram, an online photo-sharing and social networking service, was created and launched by Kevin Systrom and Cheyenne Foster in October 2010. The Instagram app, available for the iPhone and Android devices only, allows its users to take a picture, apply a digital filter to it, and share it on a variety of social networking services. It quickly became the most popular way to share photos from mobile phones and was named Apple’s App of the Year in 2011 buy instagram likes.
Initially Instagram was created to generate income via ads, however attempts to monetize a free service like Facebook and Twitter are always tricky to maneuver. In April 2012, Social Media giant Facebook made an offer to purchase Instagram (with its 13 employees) for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock. Since this acquisition there have been several changes made to Instagram in an effort to generate more ad sales from the free service.
What does this mean for Mobile Marketing?
Instagram as a social network allows you to provide photo updates instead of real-time text updates. The more reach Instagram has, the more appealing and relevant it will seem to brands as a place in which to interact directly with their target audiences. Brands are always seeking ways in which to connect social media and mobile, however Instagram seems to be heading in another direction with its recent roll out of Web profile pages for users that shows all of a user’s photos. Users are able to log-in to their accounts from the site but cannot upload or search for photos. Which leaves the photo-sharing and uploading aspect of the service still very much mobile.
What makes Instagram work on mobile is context with real-time content. It appeals to most users because it feels more intimate than other social media sites. However as Instagram grows and becomes a bigger player in social media, the challenge is for brands to be a part of the conversation without bombarding users with overwhelming ads and useless content.
Companies can use Instagram to give their customers an intimate view of the inner workings of their business. An Instagram-focused mobile campaign can give your customers a better idea of who you are. The more your viewers like and know you, the more likely they will be to buy from you. Instagram can also be used to show off your products or services.
The recent melee which ensued from Instagram’s Policy and Terms of Service changes can teach us all a very important lesson. When it comes to your ownership rights and privacy settings on free social media networks it is always important to read and be aware of what you’ve signed on to, both as a consumer and a business using social media as a means of mobile marketing.