Instagram: Perfect For Marketing Travel Destinations

A recent Instagram announcement that it was introducing advertising in the UK will bring major opportunities for travel marketers, says media analytics firm Think Digital.

The hugely popular social networking site will begin rolling out UK adverts soon, following the US where advertising was introduced in November 2013 - allowing still photos (not yet videos), which people can choose to like, comment on or hide from their feed.

The move by the photo-sharing app comes after Facebook successfully turned its books around partly thanks to mobile advertising, and is now reporting good profitability.

Sites such as these have a massive cultural impact, as we know. Billions of people worldwide share photos via social networking sites and according to The Guardian, Instagram currently has more than 200 million active users who have posted more than 20 billion photographs.

Now that British brands will also be able to make themselves more visible to Instagram users through advertising, savvy destinations must take this opportunity to tap into such a rich source of revenue.

For travel-related businesses and destinations especially, Instagram is something of a match made in heaven. With the site being used mainly to share photos, it's the perfect platform for the travel industry to advertise its wares.

Some travel companies have already spotted Instagram's potential and have been using the site to garner interest in destinations via video and photographs. Now that advertising has been thrown into the mix, the potential for businesses to make the most of the social media platform has increased exponentially.

Various reports and examples of anecdotal evidence have already shown how effective social media is at reaching travellers. Leveraged properly, sites like Instagram can create the community feel that marketers aspire to; the two-way nature of communication encourages people to really invest in a destination or travel-related business.

As Instagram's global head of business and brand development James Quarles told The Guardian: "We are giving brands an opportunity to sponsor their posts and deliver them to a much wider audience."

Instagram is pitching itself as a "premium brand environment" comparable to magazines - Quarles described advertising consumption through the site as similar to flipping through the pages of a favourite magazine.

The website is starting the campaign slowly; like the US, it has run a "house ad" here in Britain prior to the first ads' appearance, showing an example of what an ad on Instagram will look like.

But as advertising on Instagram takes off, digital marketers must keep an eye on its progress to spot the wealth of opportunities it will offer to travel companies and destinations.