From my agency experience, Instagram tends not to be one of the “go-to” channels for marketing and advertising efforts. Sure, it’s in the toolbox, but it certainly isn’t as heavily utilized as it should be.

minion collage
Minions on their way to the Villian-Con. Marketers could get attendees to showcase their adventures.

Why? As a Millennial, I can say my Instagram App icon is starting to burn a hole on my iPhone screen. So why aren’t marketers jumping on this?

Some say that the platform is too targeted to Millennials and not picking up quickly enough with older generations. But we cannot ignore the fact that Millennials will be running the economy sooner rather than later. We need to adapt to what speaks to them now. They will invest in those who invest in them. This is not an instant gains strategy, it’s a long-term one.

Looking for a shorter-term return? Instagram is a source (one of many) for Millennials on what’s hot. I can almost guarantee that individuals would escalate information they saw on Instagram to a decision maker within their company. For instance, have you seen the latest promotion by Vessel via Ellen DeGeneres’s Instagram? Half of my agency downloaded the new platform because I forwarded Ellen’s Instagram post. How’s that for an ROI and brand awareness?

Instagram recently released two new features for advertisers to take advantage of: Carousel ads and Layout. Carousel ads allow advertisers to post more than one picture to tell a story – but only to those who are interested. Opposite of the “swipe right” on Tinder, if you like what you see on Instagram, you can now “swipe left” to see more. It puts control back in consumers’ hands – they don’t feel forced to sit through a 30-second video bumper ad. If they are actively seeking out more of your story and engaging, then that is quite an accomplishment by your marketing and advertising team.

Layout is a collage-creating feature. Collages on Instagram previously had to be created by another app, saved down to camera roll and then uploaded. This new feature eliminates the need for a third-party app. And what speaks louder than a photo? More photos.

Consumers are becoming more and more attached to brands that provide something beyond a product. They want to feel an authentic connection to their brands. Ad placements tend to be very transaction-oriented and consumers know this. Photos, on the other hand, can leave a much deeper impression. We can use our imaginations to create a story around the photo – making it feel like ours, creating a feeling of connectedness. And doesn’t every marketer want to create a true organic connection to their brand?

Instagram is currently only allowing a handful of brands to roll-out the initiative and monitor response. As long as the sponsored images seem genuine and are inspiring to viewers, I think this platform will continue to grow for advertisers. Instagram alone isn’t going to make or break your brand, but it’s definitely a marketing channel to more deeply strategize around.

Still not sold? How about this, research firm L2 recently stated that “Humans have been reading words for hundreds of years. On the other hand, we have been reading visuals for thousands of years and we absorb visuals 50x faster than words.” Yes, you read correctly, 50x faster. I’m not sure I need more of a reason for dusting off Instagram.

Based off an article written by Suzanne Mason, Instagram gains serious attention from marketers, advertisers.