How Instagram Is Changing The Way We Shop

If Facebook was "a place for friends," Instagram would be "a place for food porn, cat photos, and nail art." But, is the day not too far off where everyone's favorite photo-sharing app will be a place for people to peddle their wares? Truth be told, it looks like that day has already arrived. Exhibit A: CoverGirl chose to debut its latest commercial for its collaboration with Katy Perry on its Instagram before it hits the more traditional airwaves in May.
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It's not the ad itself that has us intrigued — Katy models her gorgeous-looking face makeup, lip gloss, and mascara, and #hastags abound — but it's the question it raises: Is this the future of advertising? In the so-called "information age," where we likely spend more time choosing a photo filter than we do watching TV, it would make a lot of sense. Companies would simply be choosing to target their consumers where they are, and we're mainly on our phones.
But, it goes a step further than that. Instagram is even changing the way we shop — and it's not just about the ads. According to The Cut, style bloggers and independent shops will host flash sales on their Instagram accounts. They'll take a snap of the product, put it on their feed, let it be known that the item is for sale, and have their followers shop in the comments — kind of like eBay on speed.
One store in Brooklyn has individuals call the shop before their first Insta-purchase so the retailer can take down their credit card and shipping information. When the shop posts a product to its Instagram, the customer just needs to comment "ring me" with their last name, and the product shows up on their doorstep a few days later. There is even an app, appropriately named "Shopsy," that allows users to link the products in their Instagrams to online retailers, so followers can click to buy. So, instead of just advertising its products, CoverGirl could theoretically link its customers to their favorite items with just a swipe of their finger. Pretty brilliant, huh?
While this may all seem like guerrilla marketing at its finest (and, to be fair, it kind of is), I'm pretty on board with it. Unlike the advertisements that are splayed across our subway cars and ever present in our TV-binge-watching sessions, we can choose who to follow and who to unfollow on our social-media platforms. Sick of the CoverGirl advertisements? Simply unfollow them, and they're whisked away from your feed.
But, on the flip side, if you want to hear more about your favorite brand's happenings, it's all there and all available for you. It's opt-in advertising, which is the least aggressive form of advertising we've seen in a while. It may seem counterintuitive, but the less intrusive our ads are, the more likely we are to pay attention to them. And, if they're filtered in Valencia? That's just icing on the cake.
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