Instagram: Developing UX or cashing in?

It’s no surprise to anyone that the power of social media is only increasing – with Instagram users alone posting in excess of 80 million photos per day, brands and businesses are becoming ever more creative with their campaigns and reaping the benefits as a result. But is the social media giants desire to capitalise and advertise making it that bit harder?

In the wake of Instagram’s recent developments, which of course caused an outcry of paranoia from their 400 million + users – could all of the hard work brands have put in targeting their audiences, gaining followers and increasing interaction be ruined? And potentially all because Instagram has finally followed in their big brothers and sisters footsteps and sold out for bigger bucks under the guise of UX developments.


The real question is – will Instagram go down that same well-trodden route resulting in our news feed clogged with ads for yet another clothing line and magical teas that make people skinny? Well apparently not straight away anyway – they released a statement claiming that the changes won’t be immediate and the dreaded algorithm that may change Instagram as we know it is indeed not imminent. As consumers we still want that element of control over the sort of content we actually want to view – take for example the reaction to Twitter’s algorithm changes; resulting in the top trending hashtag #RIPTwitter – need I say more?

Cue 5000 different ‘creative’ ways of celebrities and insta addicts asking their followers to ‘Turn on their notifications’ popping up on our activity feeds – surely it’s not necessary to receive a notification each time someone posts their latest selfie or bowl of cereal? It would seem that with the proposed changes to the algorithms – insta users shouldn’t be too hasty in changing those preferences!

On the bright-side Instagram has now added the feature that lets you switch between two accounts and view the date you last posted – so for the time being its business as usual. On that note with brands, business’ and celebrities alike using the social platform in ever more innovative and creative ways to achieve their business goals – take a look at a few campaigns that caught our eye;

LaVieOnBoard – Eurostar –  @LaVieOnBoard

In a bid to launch their fleet of brand-spanking new trains and move away from posting image after image of stationary trains, Eurostar tapped into Instagram’s mainly mobile user market. Using over 200 animated images to offer passengers a preview of the train’s new features, users had to turn their mobile devices horizontally to view the creative storyboard. Check out the video here;

Expedia #ThrowMeBack @expedia

Jumping on the success of one of Instagram’s most successful hashtags #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) Expedia took it to the next level. To grow their Instagram followers and ultimately promote summer travel, they launched the #ThrowMeBack campaign. Each Thursday people who tagged their holiday posts with the hashtag #ThrowMeBack were entered into a draw to be whisked back to their favourite holiday spots featured in the photo.


With over 5 million impressions, 300K engagements and increasing their Instagram following by 96% we reckon that’s a pretty successful campaign!

Toms #WithoutShoes @toms

Now a classic example of the power of social media, its ability to increase awareness and also how the simplest campaigns can often be the most effective. Toms launched its ‘one day without shoes’ campaign – simply post a picture of your bare feet with the hashtag #WithoutShoes and Toms will donate a pair of shoes to less fortunate children. A powerful campaign that saw nearly 300,000 children receive new shoes in 2015 – let’s hit that 1,000,000 pair target in 2016!

Jack Roberts

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