Instagram adds Brand Tagging
Just in case people had been running out of things to photograph with the wildly popular Instagram, the social media site/app recently added the capability for its users to tag brands. Because most brands have their own accounts, not only can individuals tag the brand accounts, but brands can tag photos of individuals and decide to share them with all their subscribers. More details of the new feature can be read in the following Adweek article: New Instagram Feature Allows Users to Tag Brands.
This new development is an important step in recent steps by Instagram to monetize the app, since the insertion of actual ads have been shown to significantly deter users from the service. Though the article leaves unclear how the new brand-tagging feature will directly translate into revenues, it is easy to imagine a scenario where brand pages could purchase space within a users picture feed to show pictures in which the brand has been tagged.
I believe that this new feature will be widely accepted by the Instagram crowd. People are increasingly coming to incorporate brands as a part of how they present themselves to the world, using the brand image or prestige to reflect upon themselves. Tagging a brand in a picture sends a clearer signal from the individual to his or her followers of identification with the brand than would simply featuring the brand within the picture itself. Conversely, people can use the feature as a means of criticizing a brand, which can be garnered as valuable feedback, if the brand can effectively chronicle the photos and their connotations.