Displaying Instagram photos
July 04, 2016 | Shares:

5 Most Significant Instagram Benefits for Businesses

Believe it or not, there was a time when phones didn’t double as cameras and when “selfies” (and selfie sticks!) weren’t a thing.

Of course, we’ve come a far way from then.

Today, most of our social interactions are infused with visuals – snapping a quick photo to text to a friend, posing at a bar for a selfie, or killing a few minutes scanning through newsfeeds filled with photos and videos.

The impact of the rise of visual content on social networks is most apparent on Instagram.

As a result, many brands are scrambling to understand how to best use Instagram benefits.

Instagram’s rise has been astronomical – and understandably so.

We’re visual creatures, which is why content like photos, videos, and gifs have such great engagement rates.

And Instagram is so huge because building a social network that connects people solely through visual elements is a powerful way to capture – and sustain – our attention.

Brands and marketers have raced to capitalize on the immense growth of the social platform and many are successfully learning how to sell on Instagram.

But the brands that excel in mastering social commerce trends like this know something that brands who flop don’t:

Instagram photos convert. And you’re not getting the full benefit of Instagram because you don’t know the real secret to using these photos for marketing.

To build an Instagram marketing strategy, you need to understand why these graphics are so valuable and how to create the right images for Instagram.

You need to take full advantage of the power of Instagram photos, using them in marketing materials across channels.

Why instagram photos outperform generic brand photos

The Benefits of Using Instagram Photos in Marketing

Later, we’ll examine just why Instagram images are so powerful and the reasons they convert better than generic photos.

But first, let’s learn how Instagram photos can benefit word of mouth marketing and strategies for using these pictures in marketing channels.

1. Connect with customers across multiple channels:

Using Instagram on your site allows you to connect with customers across multiple channels and increase cross-channel engagement.

For example, let’s say you display photos from your Instagram account on your website. When a customer is browsing on your site, they may not follow you already on Instagram.

But when they see a gallery of Instagram photos, they can click though to see your account, start following you, and re-connect with you later.

Take a look at how Josie Maran Cosmetics uses a dedicated gallery of Instagram photos on their website to lead people to their Instagram.

Using Instagram pics in an on site gallery example

Or, alternately, a follower browsing on Instagram may have never been to your website before. By setting up a Shoppable Instagram, followers can easily reach the Instagram shop version of your Instagram account, and click through to product pages.


Using Instagram photos allows you the opportunity to connect with customers where they are, while also taking advantage of the far higher Instagram engagement rate.

2. Re-use marketing materials: Work smarter, not harder

We’re all crunched for time, but using Instagram photos in your eCommerce marketing plan allows you to work smarter, not harder.

You already need a social marketing strategy, so why not repurpose those photos across channels and leverage them as marketing images on your site or in ads on Instagram?

This saves you the trouble of needing to create more content.

3. Attract engaged traffic: Build a community that comes back time and time again

Another benefit of using Instagram pictures is that traffic that comes from these photos is super-engaged.

Instagram drives more engaged traffic than any other social channel. Research shows that when comparing time on site from various social channels, Instagram beats out other sites like Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Reddit, and more.

Instagram drives engaged traffic

Instagram content drives more engaged traffic than other visual social content from YouTube or Pinterest.

Additionally, Instagram helps you engage with your audience on the social platform, increasing the chance that you can bring customers back for repeat purchases.

If someone buys from you and then follows you on Instagram, they’re likely to see your brand on a regular basis and purchase from you again.

And return customers are more valuable, accounting for nearly 33.3% of the overall money spent in eCommerce and spending nearly 3x more than regular shoppers.

Customer loyalty data ecommerce stats


4. Boost your marketing with UGC: Use photos from customers

If you don’t already have solid user-generated content marketing strategies to increase sales, it’s time to jump on board. It’s the single most effective way to grow relevant traffic and sales.

Instagram has the potential for user-generated content built in.

Instagram photos are, by nature, user-generated content.

On Instagram, customers are constantly creating and sharing images of their own.

With their permission, you can use their images for your own marketing.

Below is an example of how Everlast uses customers’ Instagram photos in marketing to promote engagement among their community, build up their eCommerce branding on Instagram and off, and improve their visual marketing on site.

How Everlast uses Instagram photos in marketing

On their homepage, Everlast emphasizes the active lifestyle they want to associate with their brand by showcasing customer photos taken when customers use their products in the gym.

They collect the UGC Instagram photos by asking customers to hashtag photos with their brand name.

This means not only do you get free content, you also feature your customers (which makes them feel like a part of your brand), you also encourage future engagement by having customers submit photos on Instagram to you.

Plus, without tons of additional effort, you build up your brand’s presence on Instagram by attracting attention when customers’ followers see them hashtagging you in their photos.

5. Don’t market blindly: Know how content will perform ahead of time

You never want to invest already tight Instagram resources in content that won’t perform well. Luckily, on Instagram, you already have feedback about how your audience will react to content before you take up valuable real estate on your website or shell out money for Instagram ads.

Before choosing content for your Instagram UGC campaigns, you can measure the results of how it was received on Instagram.

This allows you to choose the photos that customers liked most on Instagram and then display them on your site, rather than guessing which product photos will perform best.

Benefits of using instagram pics in business marketing

Why Instagram Converts

Instagram photos convert better than product photos or generic advertising photos because of the combination of very basic psychological principles.

First, let’s take a look at the difference between a generic photo and an Instagram photo. Below, find 2 examples of photos from clothing brand Gap.

In the first, a classic brand ad:


And in this example, an Instagram photo:

Gap Instagram photo

Which photo do you think drives more sales and builds more trust in customers?

The Instagram photo! Why?

Instagram Photos Make Us Happy

Instagram pictures tend to be aspirational, meaning that they show us a peek into a life we’d like to lead.

People Instagram the best moments of their life: the most beautifully arranged meals, the perfect beach sunset, the awesome road trip up the California coast.

At the most basic level, Instagram pics convert because they’re aesthetically pleasing. Photos from Instagram are special – saying something has been “Instagrammed” means something.

People don’t just upload any random selfie to Instagram, they make sure that the photo is well arranged, with good lighting, and of course, the perfect filter.

In summary, on Instagram, there’s really well-made, visually aesthetic photos that show us things we wish we had and lives we wish we led.

But advertisements are also well-made and meant to make us want the items in them by putting them in the context of an enviable lifestyle.

So why do Instagram photos convert better?

Instagram Photos Build Trust

Oftentimes, Instagram photos are created by customers and curated by brands. These customer-created Instagram pics convert because they build customer trust in potential shoppers’ online shopping experience.

In general, content from past buyers influences shoppers’ purchase decisions. But the combined effect of visual content outweighs text alone.

Although potential buyers love reading reviews, research shows that visual content — like photos and videos — is extremely influential when it comes to purchasing decisions.

Content influences purchase decisions

Not only that, but customers want to see photos and videos specifically from past customers.

When compared with brand photos, shoppers vote for using customer photos to help them make purchasing decisions.

Customer photos and Instagram photos convert

Examples of Brands That Benefit from Instagram Photos

Want to understand how successful brands leverage Instagram photos on their website?

The most popular ways brands display Instagram photos on site is in a dedicated gallery, on their homepage, or on product pages.

The reason brands choose to use Instagram photos on site is because they add variety, with dynamic content that’s constantly changing.

Also, Instagram photos are much more authentic and lively than generic photos – they display a real peek into the life of the brand, instead of static product photos.

Gentleman Jon Shave Company Adds a Personal Touch On Site

Gentleman Jon Shave Company pulls photos from their Instagram account and showcases them on their homepage.

As we mentioned above, Instagram photos are powerful because they’re aesthetically pleasing. Gent Jon chooses photos for his Instagram that align with his old-time, nostalgic branding.

Below, see how Gentleman Jon Shave Company showcases photos from the @GentJonShave Instagram to add a more personal touch to the site:

Gentleman Jon's dedicated Instagram gallery


Braithwait Gets Customers Involved By Showcasing Their Photos On Site

Braithwait also collects customer photos and combines these with photos from their Instagram to show in a dedicated gallery on site.

This is a perfect example of how you can connect multiple channels through Instagram photos, as Braithwait includes a button to go straight to their Instagram to see the photos.

Braithwait curates Instagram photos from customers on site

Pura Vida Shows Off Customer Photos On Product Pages

Pura Vida is one brand that does a fabulous job of showing off customer photos across their site. One awesome example of how they use Instagram photos is on their product pages, where they display a gallery of photos of customers using the product.

It’s a super effective way to show a product in real life examples and instill trust in potential customers.

Pura Vida uses Instagram photos on site to increase conversions

Instagram Marketing Strategies that Drive More Engagement

A lot of brands want to know how to sell on Instagram, and what are some of the most important Instagram marketing tips for businesses.

But they focus on the wrong questions: They want to know how to sell on Instagram, how to promote products on Instagram, or how to increase sales on Instagram.

The truth is, you’ll never succeed at selling on the platform if you don’t understand how to create and curate the right kind of photos.

Figuring out visual commerce on Instagram requires understanding the type of images that work on the platform.

Instagram is so successful because Instagram pics aren’t like other photos – and in order to market successfully on the platform, you need to know how to create the right pictures for Instagram.

So, what is the “right” kind of Instagram photo?

Well, there’s not a single answer.

You can take cues from these visual storytelling images to learn how to better create photos that communicate the message you want to portray, but ultimately, finding the right images for your consumer engagement strategy depends entirely on your audience.

And you may be surprised – sometimes, what you think will do well on Instagram will have completely opposite results.

It’s important to move quickly and change photos based on customer feedback.

Instagram marketing success depends on creating the right type of photos

Conclusion: Using Instagram Pics in Marketing

There you have it – the top ways to sell more effectively on Instagram and off by using the power of Instagram photos to your advantage in all marketing materials.

A few of the top takeaways…

Recap: The 5 Key Instagram Benefits

  1. Instagram photos convert better than other types of visual content because they signal similarity, authenticity, and, of course, they’re pretty!
  2. Instagram pics also convert because customers trust photos from previous customers more than branded images.
  3. Today, buying cycles are more complicated, so it’s not always easy to put a dollar price on the ROI value of Instagram benefits- but there’s no doubt that using Instagram has a positive effect on improving conversion rate and engagement.
  4. Instagram photos can be used in marketing materials, on site, on product pages, in dedicated website galleries – and more!
  5. Using Instagram photos allows you to repurpose valuable content, integrate user-generated content, connect channels, and much more!

Aimee Millwood
Aimee Millwood, Director of Content at Yotpo
Aimee loves hummus and hates misplaced commas.

@aimeemillwood – Follow me

  • Great information. It’s so interesting what people engage with and don’t on Instagram. Professional photos that I have taken tend to get less engagement than candid phone pics. As much as we might want to make pretty feeds… people crave authenticity.

    • Aimee from Yotpo

      Authenticity is seriously the name of the game these days!

  • Great insights for businesses looking to up their social media game using Instagram! It will be interesting to see how business accounts really help businesses when it fully rolls out.

    • Aimee from Yotpo

      Kristi!! Thank you so much for sharing this on Inbound.org and GrowthHackers – I’m happy you enjoyed the post and that so many others found it useful. Take care!

  • Eren Mckay

    I had no idea that traffic driven from Instagram stays on the site longer than other social media platforms. That’s really interesting data and I wonder why this happens.
    It’s understandable why traffic coming from YouTube stays longer since the visitor has already created a rapport through the video.
    I completely agree that the more places that a business is connected to their audience, the more chances of them growing the know, like and trust factor with them. Great tips!

    • Aimee from Yotpo

      The data also shows Instagram ads can have much better ROI when they use customer photos instead of branded photos – also interesting!

  • Visual content always engages and converts more.
    I love Instagram and I think it’s a wonderful social media channel for branding and building a targeted audience.
    Those are excellent tips, thanks for the share!

    • Aimee from Yotpo

      Thanks Erik!

  • Because of Instagram’s lack of clickable media in organic posts, many are skeptical about using it to drive sales. There are some well-formulated rebuttals to that sentiment in here. Nice work, Aimee!

    • Aimee from Yotpo

      Thanks Ben! I’ve found brands who really “get” Instagram know the power goes beyond driving direct traffic – there’s tons of innovative ways to leverage the power of Instagram on site and to drive more engagement and sales.

  • Amazing share. Brought out all the ingredients needed! 🙂

    Yes, as the age old saying goes, a pic or an image can speak a thousand words indeed!
    In this fast growing technology world people do not have enough time to go thru a lengthy article instead a well captured image with a few little content can tell it all!

    In the business arena too this will apply and wherein Instagram can play a wonderful role in reaching a vast majority of people. Thanks for the shared tips.

    May you have a wonderful day
    I am here today via Inbound org wherein this informative piece is curated by Kristi Hines and I up voted and posted a feedback too.
    Thanks Kristi
    ~ Phil

    • Aimee from Yotpo

      Thanks Phil! And thanks Kristi for sharing =D

  • I’m curious what tools brands are using to curate customer images from Instagram. I’m sure they will have to be selective about what they allow to appear on their own accounts and sites.

    • Aimee from Yotpo

      User-generated content is awesome but it’s super important to monitor it and curate it smartly, or you risk tarnishing your brand’s reputation or creating inconsistent branding.

      Yotpo just released a Social Curation tool for Instagram, I’m excited to see the impact it has on businesses and eComm stores.

      • I think that is going to get harder and harder as what people consider acceptable diverges so substantially. Even if mainstream media has decided profanity is perfectly fine that does NOT mean the rest of us have gone along with that.

  • I love this! It is about time that Instagram gets some “credit” in the business world and this article covers that topic, along with a solid platform for the “why” aspect of the use of Instagram in business. Reading this article carefully stirs up those actionable steps, as well! Great job, Aimee and team!

    • Aimee from Yotpo

      Thanks Deborah!! Glad you enjoyed it =D

  • I found this post exceptionally interesting. I recently wrote a post about Facebook Messenger as an ecommerce conversation tool; it’s fascinating to see how social media is evolving into powerful business tools. I also think that most of us totally miss the mark as far as images in general go – images on our blogs, social media posts, etc. Thanks for a value-add post I am positive I will reference back to as a resource.

    • Aimee from Yotpo

      Thanks Claire! Glad you enjoyed it. I’m really happy to hear I added value to the conversation! It’s a fascinating topic to me, especially having grown up around social media but now watching the emergence of new platforms like Instagram and their impact on business.

  • ivanpw

    I’m Instagram’s late adopter. Just started early this year for 4 of my blogs and those are slowly growing in term of followers and engagement. I can’t translate that into traffic figures, but I definitely feel that my Instagram posts boost my blogs’ branding really well.

    Many of the commenters are returning, which mean they are returning to see what’s new with my pages. A good start for a great brand relationship, I conclude.

    I’m looking forward to more great things from the Insta!

    • Aimee from Yotpo

      I was also a late adopter of Instagram, and to be honest I’m not sure I’ve mastered it yet. I have also found though that even a small amount of effort on Instagram pays off big time. It’s all about creating strong branding through great images and most importantly paying attention to what your audience wants to see. Hashtags for your brand and then curating those images are a great way to achieve that.

      Good luck with it!

  • Thanks everyone know about this but everyone don’t know how to use insta at full affiance

  • When I first signed up to Instagram, I really worked to get my first 30 followers. Even my best photos were getting only a few likes, and I wasn’t getting any comments on my photos. That’s when I decided it was time to get popular on Instagram and now I have almost 100,000 followers.

No account? Sign Up

Interested in Yotpo?

Schedule a call with one of our marketing consultants to learn more.

Let's make the most
of our time

More info helps us prepare the best
and most personalized call for you.

Thank you.
We'll be in touch ASAP.
In the meantime, enjoy these: