Five ways #Instagram has changed digital advertising

1. Bridged the gap between professionals and hobby artists

One of Instagram's initial concept ideas was to give users the ability to apply Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid image filters to their digital photographs. The unique aesthetic and ease of use attracted many users to capture moments worth sharing. Instagram revolutionized the way an average phone user took photographs and made brought a professional quality retro effect to the digital mobile phone cameras. This movement of glamorizing user's photographs rapidly increased the quality as well as quantity of personal photographs shared in web.

In terms of digital advertising Instagram commercialized personal production and eased the capturing and sharing of personal works.

Suddenly anyone was able to produce, like, and advertise enhanced photographs.
— Valev Laube

Previously a niche old-fashioned photographic look became commercial allowing amateurs take photos that looked like take by a hipster photographer. These aesthetics and filters provided by Instagram became choices available to anyone rather than being unique results of a specific photographic production or camera.

2. Tagging, metadata and hashtags finally make sense

Five years ago everybody was already familiar with tagging, metadata and using hashtags to widen their scope of reach. There was not much new or surprising about Instagram and Instagram's way of using hashtags, yet again, it just made more sense. Why? Because words and photos became highly distinguishable, Instagram put more emphasis on visual presentation and less text. The shift in priority and focus changed the way people used captions and encouraged photo tagging.

The decision that any word-based comment was going to be placed in the bottom of the image was a conscious move to show that text is just a secondary figure in the whole Instagram experience.
— Valev Laube

Hashtags finally were not disturbing the user from experiencing and reading the content because the form of content has changed from text to images.

After a few years, Instagram introduced multiple additions to its filtering and exploring algorithms. Finding anything of your interest became easier than ever and after a while Instagram even learned what your interests are and suggested you new pictures to check out. All of this happened thanks to the good old hashtags. Hashtags that a user is able to click on and see more related posts.

In terms of digital marketing this gave anyone a chance to be an equal contestant in the game, nobody had control over anybody's use of hashtags and everyone was able to create their own. Anyway was able to start a movement and nobody stopped you from adding #Instagram or even hashtag #Gucci to the caption of your picture. This took the good old Twitter's tagging a step forward and definitely helped users discover more by not being distracted by the annoying symbol - #.

3. Almost like Twitter, yet more engaging

We all remember Twitter, many of us still find it taking a good part of your daily life, yet again the golden times of Twitter tend become to an end. Mobile apps and websites like Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, and many others have adopted Twitters idea of timeline sharing. The idea of documenting your current moment was also a big ground basis for Instagram, but the way Instagram incorporated commenting, hashtagging, and exploring new content was phenomenal. If Twitter used hashtags, favorites and replies to link together multiple short individual posts, then Instagram kept it a little more old-fashioned way yet again, not forgetting that for the widest reach and engagement there has to be a mechanism for actively linking together various posts but not confusing which post replies or corresponds to the old.

In case of digital advertising the comment functioned gave space for discussion, conversation and feedback while it also allowed other users to link their comments to various hashtags. Your comment became a link for Instagram to understand what sort of photos you are interested in and then therefore suggest you better advertisements and photos.

4. Live in the moment and share every moment

Like previously mentioned Instagram similar to Twitter has a timeline based presentation of content and relies on the notion that anything should and can be shared at any point and right now. The more users share, the more flow the system gets therefore the bigger network gets between users and photos. In the past the amount of followers would indicate also your internet influence and reach, Instagram started with the same model while constantly introducing ways to link new people to new content. This rapid photo sharing made marketers realize that a single marketing campaign or pictorial presentation isn't good enough anymore, but the product has to be shared and constantly endorsed by its users.

This rapid photo sharing made marketers realize that a single marketing campaign or pictorial presentation isn’t good enough anymore, but the product has to be shared and constantly endorsed by its users.
— Valev Laube

Interactive, repetitive, continuously and constantly reinforced advertising became a video part of the Instagram experience.

5. Advertisements speak to you

Finally, one of the last things that Instagram did to its every user was making every advertisement or story speak to you. No matter if it was a paid advertisement by BMW or a celebrity selfie. It made us realize that digital advertising doesn't have to be always so clear-cut and obvious and it made us experiment with more delicate ways of showing our work. 

An average user, without noticing, was suddenly advertising themselves while a paid advertisement got braided into our lives.
— Valev Laube