The Takeover: Instagram and Advertising

Hey digital mavens! Over time past couple of years we’ve watched with amazement as Instagram has grown to a global community with millions and millions of people who take photos and share these rare moments through Instagram.

I don’t know if you have noticed how certain brands we love have Instagram pages that are so flawlessly done. These advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos from many of your friends. I in particular follow Starbucks :

ImageJust a glimse at their Instagram and your intrigue by their clever way of marketing the brand of Starbucks. I am always saying “Wow” how did they think of that photo or video. Starbucks is one of the brands that are marketing masters through Instagram, with 2.5 million followers Starbucks is a brand that knows how to market well on Instagram. The key of creating a creating such a postive look to a brand through social media is to connect emotionally with your audience.

On Instagram their are other companies who have took avadgtave of marketing on Instargram in the last couple of years. Since “Instagram – which was bought by Facebook for $1billion in 2012 – introduced ads to its US audience in November. In a blog post, Instagram said advertisers had positive results which “in some cases [were] well above the ad industry’s average for performance”. The app said it had over 200 million users worldwide.” BBC News This proves that marketing on a social app is something most brands should do. Getting closer to the consumer and creating an emotional connect through their brand is the best way gain exposure.

What I really love about Starbucks being on Instagram is that the vast majority of the images on Starbucks’ are fan submitted images of from locations around the globe. The company encourages its followers to post their own Starbucks photos, along with a campaign-focused hashtag to connect the visual content back to its brand. People can add comments and likes and build a whole conversation around the looks the fans have created. I have yet to have my personal photos of Starbucks posted on their page, but one day I know I’ll make it. ImageBut even if I don’t, I enjoy how such a brand can flawlessly connect with its consumer and build its momentum through such a digital driven world.  Oh man how I love the branding of Starbucks. Comment below digital mavens and share your insights below! 


Gittleson, Kim. Instagram expands ads to the UK, Canada, and Australia. June 2014

I always feel like, somebody’s watching ME!

2008 saw the release of one of Marvel’s lower list characters, but one who has recently risen to the top and become really well known by the world. The, now, A-list character is called Iron Man. In the first movie there is a scene where Tony Stark, the creator of the Iron Man suit, is testing out his new suit by attacking a terrorist organization called The Ten Rings. He uses a HUD (heads up display) to target the terrorists and then eliminate them with his weaponry without harming their hostages. For the scene in question, see below (starts at 0:16):



While we are probably not near Tony Stark’s technology yet, the invention of Google Glass has put us a step closer. What’s worrying is how Google Glass will be used. Ethics is a huge concern for anyone and has come into question with the varying plethora of electronics that we use daily. The smartphone is the leader of anti-privacy since they can capture sound, video, pictures, use geo-location, instant upload, instant access to social media, and more.

Google glass has taken this a step further since you no longer have to pull your phone out, unlock the screen, open the app, and use it. The wearer always has the functions ready to go at a moment’s notice and in the blink of an eye, literally.

There is now an app (short for application) which is called NameTag. It’s real-time facial recognition software. It “can detect a face using Google Glass camera, send it wireless to a server, compare it to millions of records, and in seconds return a match complete with a name, additional photos and social media profiles” (Boone, 2014).

What does this mean for us all? Even partial anonymity in public could become a thing of the past. Over “two million entries have already been uploaded to” (Boone, 2014). To put that in perspective, Chicago has about 2.7 million people living in the city. This is just the beginning for this app.

For anyone who wanted to stalk someone, it may have just gotten easier. The worst part about this is you may have already been added to the database without even knowing. The app’s creators claim that it’s not about invading privacy (Boone, 2014). Good news though! You can opt out. All it takes is signing up with the app, when it goes live, and then opting out (Boone, 2014). Yeah, sounds a little more involved and invasive to me as well.

In a world where we are all concerned about the NSA, anonymity, and having some sort of privacy, our options are quickly becoming limited. There are some potentially good things that come with use of the app such as the transparency of criminal records for those who are skeptical of everyone around us or even using it to find out more about that cute girl or guy at the bar you’re afraid to approach because you don’t know what to talk about. The effects remain to be seen, but it’s easier to see more negative than positive aspects.

Curious about how it works in action while in beta?




Boone, J. (2014, February 04). Just when you thought google glass couldn’t get creepier: New app allows strangers to id you just by looking at you. E Online, Retrieved from


FacialNetwork. (Producer) (2014). Nametag – google glass facial recognition beta app demo [Web]. Retrieved from


Marvel Studios. (Producer), & The Movie Geek, (Editor) (2013). Iron man’s first fight (hd) [Web]. Retrieved from



I stopped using Facebook about a year to a year and a half ago. I can’t say that I really miss it, but I do know plenty of people that still love to use it. Before I left, and before I was even an advertising/public relations major, I noticed that whenever I typed something into my status update that the advertisements on the side would change. I found this interesting and would constantly type in random things just to see what the ad would change to.


Those who use Facebook tend to primarily use it to keep in touch with family or friends, so most of us don’t think of it as an advertising company. Well, it’s safe to say that they are just that, a mobile advertising company. Much of the success comes from News Feed advertising and their mobile app install advertising business (Lynley, 2014). With Facebook’s user base constantly growing, the data they pluck from their users will ultimately add to their ad revenue growth.


One of the genius parts of Facebook’s advertising strategy is the previously mentioned mobile app install advertising business. How this works is that Facebook puts an ad up with the mobile app install button and a brief description of what the app does and then app makers pay Facebook an average amount of $2.50 to $3.00 for every user that downloads their app (Lynley, 2013). While other sites do something similar for cheaper, Facebook is pretty much the king because of their reach and user base.



Under 4,000 app developers have used this service, but it has resulted in over 25 million downloads which accounts for 30% of Facebook’s overall advertising revenue (Lynley, 2013). Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg said, “We’re excited about the mobile app install ads, it’s a small but growing category” (Lynley, 2014).


What is interesting about the way Facebook has gone about generating revenue through advertisements online is that many other online businesses are struggling to make money with ads due to the popularity of ad blockers, which I admittedly use, or ease of ignoring the ads. For instance, if I’m listening to Slacker Radio and an ad comes on for my free service, I either ignore it by concentrating on something else or I turn down the sound for 30 seconds or so (which is a popular length for advertisements).


The idea of allowing app makers to pay you to put an ad on your site which leads to downloads for them is an interesting idea. We all use smart phones and we all use apps so while we may ignore the intrusive banners or commercials, seeing a cool app is more likely to get someone to click on that advertisement. This is something for all of to keep in the back our minds when going into an advertising field since Facebook seems to be onto something here!




Lynley, M. (2013, June 19). Inside the surprisingly non-evil ad system saving facebook’s business. BuzzFeed Business, Retrieved from


Lynley, M. (2014, January 29). Facebook is now a very profitable mobile advertising company. BuzzFeed Business, Retrieved from