Photo Tagging for Fun and Profit

Stephen Yagielowicz

Social media powerhouse Facebook is apparently seeking to leverage crowdsourcing and community building to boost the social appeal of its Instagram photo sharing service; releasing a new feature that may hold appeal for digital media and other online marketers.

According to Instagram (which reportedly serves more than 100 million members), our photos are memories of the people, places and moments that mean the most to us.

According to Instagram our photos are memories of the people, places and moments that mean the most to us.

“We have always sought to give you simple and expressive ways to bring the stories behind your photos to life,” an Instagram rep stated. “Your captions and hash tags capture the ‘what?’ and your Photo Map answers the ‘where?’ but until today we’ve never quite been able to answer the ‘who.’”

As a result, the company has introduced its new Photos of You feature, allowing users to upload photos to Instagram and identify people in them as easily as adding hash tags.

Instagram users will also now see a Photos of You section on their profile page and when another user adds them to a photo, the user will receive a notification and the photo will appear in the Photos of You section.

“And it doesn’t stop at people,” the rep explained. “You can add any account on Instagram, whether it’s your best friend, favorite coffee shop or even that adorable dog you follow,” opening the door to commercial applications falling under the company’s terms and conditions.

Users have control over the images they share and are the only ones able to add notes identifying people in their pictures. The people who are tagged may optionally approve those images before they are made available by easily adjusting their settings “so nothing appears on your profile until you approve it.”

“Say I’m Nike, one of the brands with a large presence on Instagram,” Mike Isaac posed for “Normally, I’m curating my Instagram stream to show off the best products I sell. You follow my Instagram account and see the cool stuff I have for sale. Hurrah.”

“Photos of You, however, essentially gives a brand the ability to crowdsource photos of its products — likely put to use — from the millions of people who are on Instagram and taking pictures all the time,” Isaac added. “Basically, if I’m Nike, I could potentially get tons of free content for my Photos of You tab, all courtesy of the rest of Instagram.”

Swap “Nike” for any adult brand where users might feature themselves alongside the company’s offerings — perhaps a tough pitch for porn products — but harkening to the “Hustler shirt” example in the branding and product placement article also appearing in this issue of XBIZ World, it is easy to find examples that are applicable to our industry.

More information about how Instagram’s photo tagging system works and how to control privacy and visibility settings is available at

As Isaac notes, getting Instagram users to tag a brand appearing in a photo is no easy task and a problem not limited to this platform — but this is where marketing comes in.

While Instagram is not the ideal venue for adult marketers, the concept can be used by savvy operators — take XBIZ Summit’s gamified event process involving user photos with session hostesses uploaded to social media sites for points worth prizes for example; but however you go about it, user generated photo tagging is a great way to drive traffic.