Instagram launches web profiles, marketers bring cheese, Facebook goes where?

Instagram launches web profiles… shocker right? Many saw this announcement was coming and felt it was long overdue. The design is obviously influenced by their parent Facebook, with a timeline-esque rotating collage of pics for the cover image.

Overall it’s easy on the eyes as it should be, but there’s huge implications for brand marketers, Facebook, and ultimately the Instagram community. Let’s take a peak.

Procrastinators paradise – step aside Facebook

What made Facebook so popular at the outset were the photos. One could creep on scandalous photos from anyone’s profile safely and anonymously. Facebook became the ultimate time-waster for procrastinating students and workers alike.

As time spent on Facebook declines, crowds are favoring more photo-driven sharing sites like Tumblr (20 billion monthly pageviews), Pinterest, and obviously Instagram. Instagram web-profiles gives everyone immediate access to wider audiences. People will favour Instagram’s photo-rich layout over Facebook’s ad-driven, event-invite laden shit-show.

This is an interesting situation for Facebook. They own Instagram, so any success Instagram gains on the web is great, but at what cost? Facebook’s no longer the go-to for perusing images. I see this eventually diverting web traffic away from Facebook.

Enter the marketers

Shifting gears from the exclusivity of mobile-only opens up a broader demographic of users, it also completely lifts the mirage of privacy which instagrammers previously (may have) assumed.

Short-term spikes in followers, likes, and comments may please some, but expect an incoming flood of marketers treating instagram as their new shiny object. I’ve already seen several cases of people sharing photos of brand profiles for physical rewards – similar to people whoring out their personal Facebook updates for a free coffee.

Web-based Instagram profiles gives marketers a landing page to direct traffic to online. This is a powerful game-changer for brands. It also hints at the continued expansion of instagram for brands, with fan pages coming down the pipe.

Cool and the gang

Instagram was the ‘cool kids’ micro social network where anyone could slap filters on photos, share them with friends, and call themselves photographers. This is merely another step in the evolution of Instagram. Any shred of mystery and exclusivity is soon to diminish.

This is not to say Instagram made a poor decision. The web profiles have a beautiful design and overall UI. Sharing pictures is the ultimate medium of self-expression… Instagram found the secret sauce for doing it efficiently.

Facebook’s popularity was built on images because they tell stories. Instagram already does a much better job on mobile than Facebook… will it do the same on web?

Do you prefer Instagram to Facebook on web yet? Are you a fan of where Instagram is going?