Instagram’s content is about to become a lot more visible.
The photo and video sharing Web site flipped the switch on new functionality Wednesday that allows its 130 million monthly users to embed content on additional channels. So a picture or video posted on Instagram might now show up on company Web sites, fashion blogs and any other outlets where HTML is embeddable.
This story first appeared in the July 11, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
According to the company, the ability to embed photos and video has been among the most-requested features by users. Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook for about $1 billion last year, introduced video on June 20 and saw 5 million uploads in the first 24 hours.
When visiting Instagram on a desktop or laptop Web browser, users will see a new share button beside the photo (or video), below the comments button. Pressing the share button will produce an embed code that users can copy and paste wherever they wish to publish it.
“Fashion brands have found a home on Instagram from the beginning,” said Emily White, director of business operations at Instagram. “The industry is already using Instagram’s medium of beautiful images and videos as a way to share their latest creations, trends, and showcase the lifestyle associated with their products in a way that is immediate, visual and authentic.” She noted that with embedded videos, fashion brands can now include those images and videos on their Web sites, blog and anywhere else HTML is embeddable.
Victoria’s Secret, Topshop, Nike, Forever 21, Nasty Gal, Burberry and Marc Jacobs are just a handful of brands in the fashion world that have cultivated large Instagram followings. A video by Victoria’s Secret, which has 2.17 million followers, garnered more than 70,000 likes in less than three weeks. And Burberry — with a presence on Instagram since January 2011 and more than 858,000 followers — was among the first to use the video tool.
In addition, by helping designers and brands give consumers an insider look, Instagram is proving to be a powerful platform to showcase new product.
Organizations industrywide, including bloggers — some with more than a million Instagram followers — can now embed videos and photos in real time. Like Twitter became ubiquitous by helping users share short snippets of text, Instagram is transforming into a tool to quickly disseminate visual content across a variety of channels. The move could help expand the platform’s already vast (and highly engaged) audience.
“As far as the actual social media goes, we in the industry as a whole have to make a turn towards using more user-generated images,” said Marc Jacobs director of e-commerce, social media and special items buying Reese Pozgay. “There is something refreshing about seeing someone who is not a size zero, who looks like you do wearing an outfit. You get a feel for what actual styling is.”
Pozgay maintains that the brand has been “pulling” social media into its world and Web site for some time, and it will continue to do so. “Shoppable social media” is a leading trend in the space, and although F-commerce failed to live up to expectations, he thinks Instagram is on its way there by opening its application programming interface. Currently, Marc Jacobs’ Instagram account at marcjacobsintl has 771,000 followers, and a video posted July 4 has 16,700 likes.
According to Nasty Gal ceo and founder Sophia Amoruso, “Video on Instagram has enabled Nasty Gal to engage our followers in an even deeper conversation around the image of our brand. From showing clothing in a different way to highlighting our company culture to the creative process and people behind a photo shoot — the video feature gives audiences an intimate look into the world of Nasty Gal and the stories as they are happening.”
Rebecca Minkoff chief executive officer Uri Minkoff said Instagram is rapidly creating a democratic medium that will allow consumers to create content for the brand they’re interacting with, and in turn become evangelists that aid retailers in moving more product.
“It can be the rise of a new type of a blogger: the Instagram blogger,” Minkoff said. “People with great photography skills can all of a sudden proliferate their images. It’s a new sense of branding for consumers. And for brands, whether they take their own photos or use consumers’ photos — it can help sell product.”
He also noted that branded portals might pop up to house images from fans. This could help drive a peer-to-peer relationship when it comes to influencing purchase decisions — something Minkoff notes was once strictly fueled by celebrity (and more recently, style blogger) culture. “I hope at some point that Instagram will include embeddable links for sales,” Minkoff said. “And if they want to take a cut, let them take a cut. From that regard, if you can do that — you will have these images, and then [consumers] can go back and buy it.”
More than 16 billion photos have been shared on Instagram, and the platform garners 1 billion likes, or double taps, every single day. Forty-five million photos are posted on Instagram per day, and likes and comments occur at a rate of 8,900 and 1,000 per second, respectively.