Jumping off on my last post that answered why people take so many photos, I wanted to continue to delve into what photos and the rise of Instagram mean for the modern business. Photos are now more important than ever for how we present ourselves to the world. Consequentially, our “digital” personas and our “in-person” selves sometimes clash. Which “self” do we lead with? Which one should marketers cater to?

I’ve found that one way to gauge this is through the following question.

7% of people care most about looking good in photos

It’s no surprise that the majority of people still care most about looking good in person. However, there are 7% of people who care most about looking good in photos, and another 37% that care about both equally. Though that number is somewhat lower than I would have anticipated, it is still relatively high.

As we would expect, those who care most about looking good in photos are more likely to be younger, and to spend more time on social media.

Those who care about both equally are more likely to be women, and are more likely to tell others about their favorite products. They are more likely to favor locally-owned businesses, and to follow health and fitness trends. Maybe this is due to the rising trend of Instagram accounts for fitness.

What This Means for Companies

Facebook bought Instagram for $1 Billion, and Credit Suisse estimates that Instagram will be a $5.7 Billion business by 2017. As evidenced by this incredible financial success, we might expect that the percentage of people who care most about looking good in photos will continue to rise. With that change, what else might?

Health and fitness companies advertise their products to people who want to look better in real life, but will they have to cater instead to those who want to look better in photos? Cosmetic companies may have to change their products to enhance looks in photos over “a night out.” Some already have.

The popularity of photography apps like Instagram, and others that provide further enhancement of facial and body features, such as Facetune and SkinnyCamera, may continue to rise. In fact, Facetune, an app which evens out skin tone, whitens teeth, and erases blemishes, has already been the #1 App on iTunes, and continues to reign at the top of the charts. Additionally, articles that provide tips on how to look better in photos have become increasingly common.

Simply put, people may be leading with their “digital” selves more than ever before. Consequentially, businesses may have to meet this new persona in different ways, and cater to different preferences than they’ve had to in the past.