By Sophie Taylor
There are more than 15 million registered business accounts on Instagram, providing online stores, independent companies, and online personalities an invaluable place for promotion, but is this threatening retail stores in our high streets?
According to online statistics, Instagram is estimated to have made $1.53 billion in global mobile ad venue last year. Sponsored pictures are amongst the many ways of making money on the site, with reality star Kylie Jenner making up to $400,000 per ad post. However, it’s not just celebrities able to profit from the social media domain; smaller followed business accounts are able to post sponsored ads, from themes of interior design to popular pictures of a pet, there are different ad revenue opportunities for a multitude of pages that make the site more and more business orientated.
My interview with interior blogger Sam, owner of the 20,000 followed Instagram business account @dove_cottage provided me with useful answers to how the site can act as a platform for promotion and pursuing individual ambitions, whilst also expanding the audience blog visits.
“My Instagram focuses on home interiors, I share styling tips for people who are interested in design but maybe have a small budget or are renting their home or first-time buyers. It’s where it all started really, I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I hadn’t started an Instagram account. Being able to connect with people who have got similar interests to me has been totally invaluable, no one would have ever found my blog without it.”
So how does advertising on Instagram affect fashion? Recent years have seen the Instagram of various clothing stores take the site by storm, with teenagers more likely to buy their weekend outfits on their phones rather than visiting stores, meaning huge retailers such as Topshop are facing increasing competition from online shops that offer faster and cheaper products.
The Instagram’s of Missguided and Prettylittlething for example, have gained major popularity amongst teenagers; The growth of Missguided’s business increased more than 60% last year, with their daily stories, posts and ‘shop our Insta’ section that promotes their products to their 2.5 million followers. Marketing techniques such as the #babesofmissguided trend have seen 121,993 posts using the hashtag, as well as Prettylittlething using reality stars instead of professional models to advertise to a younger demographic. Reality stars such as Kourtney Kardashian and the cast of this year’s love island have appeared in collaborations with clothing stores that are dominating Instagram, arguably appealing to teenagers more than Topshop and Zara’s expensive catwalk based clothing.
When I asked Sam about her views on whether social media is becoming the only way to really reach out to people, she replies:
“Yes I do, I think’s it’s becoming the number one way. When I want to buy something I go on to a stores Instagram page and look through their tagged photos to see the products being used in real life which I think can offer me better than the website photos. I think it gives shoppers a much better experience and makes online shopping more enjoyable than shopping in town. Discount codes are always online too and with me having a baby, it just makes it so much more convenient for me.”
As Sam mentions, some clothing store’s Instagram accounts ‘tagged photos’ section includes real consumers pictured wearing the stores purchased clothing. Thus, they give buyers a more realistic depiction of the products considered, with clothing pictured on an array of body types and styled in various ways not pictured on the website. Upcoming clothing stores that are heavily Instagram focused such as In The Style, keep up to date with the digital age with their frequent use of Instagram to advertise in an aesthetically pleasing way, whilst incorporating Instagram stars into their products such as Tammy Hembrow’s range released with the popular clothing retailer. In The Style is yet to have a store on the high street, with purchases made online proving to be enough to create worldwide recognition.
As an increasing amount of consumers buying clothing online and social media becoming a platform to get users onto the websites of their businesses, high street retailers are called to question how they will find new ways to appeal online to their smartphone shoppers. Instagram is taking more of a central role in advertising than ever before.
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