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A picture’s (still) worth a 1,000 words


Big news shook the ‘socialverse’ recently, with Instagram overtaking Twitter in user numbers. The stats are staggering, with Instagram gaining a massive 100 million followers in the run up to leapfrogging it’s more established competitor.

Instagram is not just bringing in the numbers however; while Twitter has classically been seen as the ultimate channel for celebs connecting with fans, the recent creation of accounts by global mega-stars like David Beckham shows Twitter’s pre-eminence in this field may also be challenged.

The rise of Instagram is a testament to the strength of image. While well delivered words can deliver a powerful message, as shown by Winston Churchill’s infamous ‘we will fight them’ speech, images are unrivalled in their ability to influence opinion in a heartbeat. The recent photograph of Syrian child Aylan Kurdi transformed public opinion through sheer tragedy, while images such as Neil Armstrong walking on the moon can inspire for generations. Given our appetite for images, it is little wonder the tide is turning in Instagram’s favour.

The marketing and advertising industries have long appreciated the power images possess in shaping popular opinion, and the biggest brands are synonymous with the images they have created in the past. The ‘Marlboro Man’ is a prime example of this, with the cigarette manufacturer framing itself as a rugged and independent brand in the public consciousness.

Instagram has become a huge channel for marketers in its own right, with its revenue from ads expected to reach $2.7bn by 2017. While the platform is still young, given its popularity it’s only a matter of time until it sees some truly mind-blowing campaigns. Whilst our previous blogs have hailed video as the marketing medium of the future, the strength of imagery has not been assigned to the past.

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