Advertising on visual platforms is being touted as the future of marketing. Marketers are increasingly shifting their strategies to visual platforms, and the era of Snapshot Marketing is beginning. But the look and feel of the content on these platforms are also beginning to seep outside of social, and Millennials and Instagram-style imagery are changing the way that advertising looks. 


In a roundup of the platforms testing the waters of Snapshot Marketing, Ypulse included the keys to creating successful visual campaigns on visual platforms. The consistent message? Brands should be fitting in to the content that is already being put out by consumers.

The Instagram Handbook for Brands, which gives tips on the “secrets of captivating imagery,” advises using high-quality images that also appear as if a regular user could have created them. Those that are too “staged,” are not as embraced by young consumers who are looking for a feeling of continuous authenticity on the platform. In other words, too polished comes off as inauthentic.

There is a growing feeling that Instagram-style images also work off the platform, and Millennials’ taste for images and videos that feel more “real” is beginning to change the way that all advertising might look in the future. Social media agency Laundry Service says that Instagram photos are more effective in advertising than stock images and studio shots.

In tests, “Instagram-style” images received click-through rates as high as 8%, compared to just 2.35% using “regular photos.” Stock and studio shot images in advertising just didn’t work as well as the “non-glossy pictures shot outside of a studio” that resemble Instagram images. 

The results make sense when considering Millennials’ preferences for authentic and “organic” content from brands as well as their attraction to imperfection. In response to their tests, Laundry Service has started an entire Instagram division, building a network of Instagram photographers that will shoot photos and videos for advertisers.

Adweek recently took note of a number of marketers that are foregoing staged ads altogether in favor of using user-generated content. Coca-Cola’s World Cup ads took digital content offline. Their Happiness Flag campaign launched a 3,015-square-meter flag covered in 219,000 photos collected on social media. Miller Lite is currently creating their first-ever user-generated commercial via Twitter. The spot will air in August, and be comprised mainly of fan-submitted videos. In May, Coca-Cola released their own user-generated spot.

The evidence is mounting that there is a real place for unpolished ad content, and television, print, and digital are all feeling the effects of social media style images.

Question: How can you leverage Snapshot Marketing to build your business or brand?

About The Author: MaryLeigh Bliss is a Trends Editor in Chief and Strategic Consultant. She manages Ypulse's daily newsletter, online content, and social media voices, acting as a culture and youth insights expert. Her role also involves shaping Ypulse’s syndicated offerings, and consulting on research to identify actionable insights and layer generational and youth knowledge over data findings.

MaryLeigh has worked with a range of brands including Facebook, Hampton, Bravo, HBO, Target, Best Buy, and Gap, and has been quoted as an industry expert by such brands and publications as Sephora, Microsoft XBox, NPR Marketplace, and The New York Times. She has appeared as a Millennial insights authority on Bloomberg News, and been a speaker at many off-sites and conferences, including CMJ, ProMaxBDA, and Applied Brilliance. MaryLeigh's interest in youth culture originated from her love of YA literature and pop culture anthropology, and she is excited to be continuing her passion for decoding and demystifying Millennials at Ypulse.

This article originally appeared on and has been republished with permission.


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