Is Instagram ‘the art gallery of the future’?

As new research shows that consumers view photo-sharing platform Instagram as “the most inspiring and beautiful social network”, Rob Newlan, director of Instagram’s Creative Shop, says the brands that “invest time” in understanding their role on the platform will be the ones that win.

A new study conducted by Instagram alongside research agency Sparkler shows that compared to four other social networks, respondents found that the photo-sharing platform was “the most inspiring and beautiful social network for brands to share creative campaigns”.

Over a fifth of the 5,000 people surveyed across the UK, France and Germany also said they view the platform as “the art gallery of the future”, with a quarter agreeing that the platform “helps them discover things they’d otherwise never consider”.

Rob Newlan, director of Instagram’s Creative Shop for EMEA, told Marketing Week: “This research helps us understand the platform more, but it also allows us to talk with brands and work with agencies.”

He adds that the findings show that there is a high bar for creative expectations on the platform, particularly for brands.

“When you’re coming to Instagram, the work you’re doing needs to be both additive to and aware of the environment,” he says.

“It’s not just about trying to copy the type of work that’s on the platform – it’s about ensuring the environment grows and evolves and brands need to play a creative role.”

He cites Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Air France as examples of brands using the platform effectively by using the likes of Coke’s iconic bottle, origami and short form video to bring advertisements to life.

“We also have fantastic examples from unexpected brands such as General Electric or some coming out of the financial services,” he adds. “The brands who are using it properly are the ones who are investing time into the role they play.”

Although the new study may have been commissioned for the platform’s own benefit, it is not the first to suggest brands should consider Instagram – and its over 300 million users – as part of their marketing mix.

In March, Instagram released results for brand performance on its platform first the first time, claiming it can produce a double-digit uplift for brands in metrics such as brand recall and purchase intent.

It also said UK Instagram campaign performance has produced three times higher levels of ad recall against the Nielson Online Ads average.

Meanwhile, in December 2014, a Socialbakers report highlighted that brands gain nearly 50 times more engagement on Instagram than Twitter, with Instagram showing higher average profile interactions.

Meanwhile, after launching advertising in the UK, Canada, Germany, Brazil and Australia last year, in March Instagram announced the introduction of ‘carousel ads’, allowing brands to link images to a website of their choice, opening up the option for consumers to purchase directly from the platform.