A few days ago Business Insider came out with an article called, “The 15 Most Influential Instagram Users Advertisers Are Dying To Work With.” For me, this article couldn’t have come at a better time. As an avid Instagram user, it got me thinking. First of all, let me just put it out there. I LOVE Instagram. In fact, it’s my favorite social network to use from a personal standpoint. But this article got my marketing brain working. Specifically, how much is an Instagram photo worth? Does it depend on how many followers that one person has? How many likes their photos receive? Or does it depend on how “good” the photo is.

The answer is not yet clear, and it goes both ways depending on how you look at it. The value also lies in how you are going to use the photo.

Why Use Instagram Photos

The Value Of An Instagram Photo

1. The variety and sheer number of photos is mind blowing. Instagram reports 100M monthly active users with 40M photos being uploaded per day. Furthermore, there are 8500 likes per second and 1000 comments per second. Now, I’d say that’s an active community! An active community is always a plus. That is a lot of options for your campaign.

You might be thinking how does one sort through all the rubbish and find quality and relevant photos. One word. Hashtags. Hashtags on Instagram are completely and easily searchable.You can search through your Instagram device. Or you can use an external service like statigr.am.

I did a search for #Dobby, the house elf from Harry Potter and 40,000 photos came up. #Foodporn yields 148,000 photos.

Note to Instagram Users: If you want your photos to be found use hashtags. It’s also a great way to build a community around your photos and gain new followers.


2. The cross promotional value of using an Instagram photo is huge. People who share are a unique crowd. They share for a reason. In my opinion, we share because we want to be heard, seen or known. With the rise of social media people are looking for their 15 minutes of fame and it is becoming a lot easier to get it. Taking this one step further, American technologist, professional speaker,and Internet commentator,David Weinberger says, “On the Web, everyone will be famous to fifteen people”.

In Layman’s terms people will want to share where their photo is shared. In the right hands this can be great word of mouth traffic to your product or site.A win for you. And a win for them.

So, how much is it worth? That’s up to you to define. If your goal is getting new users/customers it can come down to how influential that Instagram photographer is. If your goal is to source great photos that are unique it can come down how much you are willing to pay for a photo. The photographer might put a price on it, but he or she just might be willing to take the 15 minutes of fame and carry on. We’ll let the free market

Have you ever used Instagram photos in any of your campaigns or projects? If so, I loved to hear about it. Please leave a comment below.

About the Author

Stephanie Frasco started helping businesses get results with social networks before Twitter even existed! Stephanie has worked directly with high profile clients like Oprah, Atlantic Records, Dashlane, The International Culinary Center, & many more. She specializes in helping business owners and marketers find massive ROI by developing targeted social campaigns focused on *engagement strategies* that work!

  1. I use Instragram in my client’s social campaigns often. We use it to

    1) Create new, great looking content “from the brand”

    2) as a tool for user generated content curation

    3) as a way to reach out and engage influencers and brand fans alike.

    We use Instagram as a way to feed beautiful content into other social channels, especially Facebook. I’m also looking at using Instragram content in traditional campaigns, in particular print ads based on user generated content.

    With so many users creating mountains of wonderful, positive content every day, brand marketers have to be crazy not to embrace it!

    Thanks for your article Stephanie.

  2. Thanks for your comment Ryan! You are absolutely correct, ignoring Instagram is a huge mistake. I am excited to hear you are thinking about using Instagram content in traditional campaigns. I love the idea of meshing old and new. Keep me posted on how it turns out.

  3. As a fitness expert, nutritionist and spokesmodel, your articles are invaluable! Thank you so much! It’s amazing to me how I’ve been busting my butt since the early 2000’s to build a brand for myself via facebook, then facebook fan pages, then youtube and twitter, then pinterest and now instagram, and out of all of my social networks, my instagram following has grown the fastest. With IG, the possibility for brands to co-promote, do business, and engage with fans and future customers on a personal and fun level is simply mind blowing! I’m excited to see what comes of it all and what new media becomes ‘essential’ next! In the meantime, #SnapHappy and #CauseFitness! 🙂 @causefitness (twitter) and @rachelizabethm (IG)

  4. I run a feed called @dogsofinstagram with nearly 240,000 followers. The feed is curated entirely from user generated content through email submissions. The premise is simple: Email a pic of your dog for a chance to be featured, follow the account and enjoy a daily dose of doggie cuteness. We’ve done collaborations with various brands/accounts in the past and have found huge success in driving engagement (likes, comments, etc), followers, as well as brand-specific user submitted content. Our success can be attributed to authenticity in highly curated superior cuteness. We believe that Instagram is a great tool for brands to market their product/service in a way that people want to be marketed to.

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