June 21, 2016 08:23
An Instagram boom among young Koreans has caught the beady eye of marketers, who noticed how many are using the instant photo site to share information on fashion, restaurants and holiday spots.
Instagram hashtags direct users to collections of photos with links to popular businesses, and many feel it is more honest than the privileged searches of Google and other engines.
Joo Su-ji (29), a housewife, said, "I was fooled many times by search results that were actually marketing gimmicks and ended up going to lousy restaurants or cafés. But social media information comes from people who actually went there and tends to be more credible."
But marketers are already on to the trend. Instagram now has over 6 million monthly active users in Korea, significantly boosting advertising appeal.
"We're using Instagram as a key brand campaign channel to reach out to young customers who are drawn more to images than words," said Park Sung-young, a PR manager at LG Electronics
But the risk is that advertisers pay off users with a large following to plug their wares, which in turn merely reduces their credibility and creates another worthless advertising platform.
Instagram was bought by Facebook in April 2014 and reached over 400 million subscribers last September, just nine months after hitting the 300-million mark.
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