Due to Instagram's popularity among the younger population, the social media site has become a primary source for companies to advertise their products. One way to showcase a product is to buy ad space, which comes up as a "sponsored" post while users scroll through their feeds. Brands with Instagram accounts with more than 100,000 followers have grown by 163 percent in two years, according to the social media agency Our Social Times.
Another cheap advertising strategy is to send products to people with a large number of Instagram followers and ask them to take photos holding or using the products. Our Social Times indicated that 40 percent of people respond better to visual information rather than text.
Helene Grauer is a former model who was signed under Aston Models LA. She said she was often sent products that were, under further research, harmful to her health or simply did not work.
One of the products that many celebrities or Instagram-famous people advertise is FitTea 28-Day Detox, a tea made with organic herbs that claims to help lose weight. Some major celebrities who have endorsed a form of detox teas on their social media accounts include Kylie Jenner, Hilary Duff and Nicki Minaj. Racked has reported the presence of senna in these teas, an FDA-approved plant found in many laxatives.
While some products do have more controversy surrounding their support on Instagram, others — such as clothing companies — have used the site as an easy and effective way to reach consumers. Frankie's Bikinis was founded in 2012 by Francesca Aiello, who started out by making custom bikinis for her friends. She soon began posting her bikinis on Instagram and the account now has 590,000 followers. The bikinis have also been sold by numerous retailers.
In November, Instagram announced that it will be working with 41 tech partners to improve and expand its advertising business. On a larger scale, the company hopes to partner with 100 vendors. This is a process that Facebook successfully took on years ago.
Credit Suisse analysts estimate that Instagram will be $5.3 billion business by 2017.