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Insta-Everything: Bringing Social Photos To Offline Products

Part of Instagram’s power and allure is giving everyone the feeling they are an artist. That art is increasingly being given the change to be brought offline, as brands and startups tap into young consumers’ desire to show off their social photos beyond the confines of digital.

In the four years it has been around, Instagram has become a force that startups try to replicate, and is influencing the future of advertising. Brands have found that a creative presence on the platform significantly ups their digital engagement with the young consumers who love the app. In Ypulse’s most recent social media tracker survey, 55% of 13-34-year-olds told us they have Instagram profiles. These users are prolific photo-takers, uploading 21.9 billion photos to the community every year—if printed up, the amount posted every 12 hours alone would stack up as high as Mount Everest.

Part of Instagram’s power and allure is the app’s ability to make every user feel like an artist. The image-only, quick-editing functionality provides a sheen of sophistication and has likely played a major role in escalating the photo-taking habits of young consumers. 70% of Millennials, and 78% of female Millennials, told us in a Ypulse biweekly survey that they use the camera on their smartphones frequently, and other studies support that their phone’s camera is their favorite feature. 59% said that camera quality was extremely/very important when purchasing a smartphone.

Their avid mobile photo-taking is already being shown off digitally, but we are beginning to see brands and startups that give them the opportunity to show that artwork off offline as well. Instagram provides a huge “portfolio” of personalized art that smart companies are accessing to let consumers not only print out to keep for good, but to personalize everything from pillows to stickers. This emerging trend is the ultimate in personalization: items that are not only customized to order, but are customized with the artwork they themselves created. Here are three brands, big and small, allowing consumers to show off their social photos beyond the confines of digital: 

Adidas ZX FLUX

In 2013, Nike allowed consumers to create sneakers that matched the colors of a favorite Instagram photo. This year, Adidas has broken new ground in customization with the Adidas Photo Print App, which gives their customers the ability to print their favorite Instagram photos onto the brand’s iconic ZX FLUX trainers. The app was released on iPhone and Android in August, and was announced, appropriately, via video on Adidas’ own Instagram account. To create the custom kicks, users simply download the app, enter their gender, country, and size, then choose or take a photo that they want to be printed on their ZX FLUX. They can then adjust the positioning of the photo on the digital shoe template, preview their creation and order through the app. Of course, they can also share their designs on social media to show off their artistic handiwork. 

NailSnaps

Yes, those are Instagrammed-out nails. NailSnap is a mobile-based startup that turns photos into “one of a kind nail wraps” The brand says their app is for “Anyone who loves nail art and wants to enjoy custom designs without the hassle and mess of trying to paint manicures with tiny brushes,” and that NailSnap allows users to unleash their creativity and show off personalized style as unique as they are. The app was successfully funded on Kickstarter, and released for iOS just today, with Android set to launch later this month. Much like the Adidas customization tool, users simply download the app and choose one of their photos from Instagram, Facebook, or their camera roll to be turned into nail art. One image can be chosen for each nail, or a single image used across all nails as a panorama. The wraps can be ordered through the app for $19, and designs can be shared with the NailSnaps community, where users can browse images for inspiration. 

Instagrahams

Desserts seem to be one of the first categories that creative entrepreneurs thought to personalize with Insta-pics. When we wrote about the continuing rise of DIY design online late last year, we included Boomf, a company prints Instgram photos out on marshmallows, as one example. They aren’t alone in the Insta-sweet world. Online bakery Baking For Good has been cooking up “Insta-grahams,” cookies adorned with Instagram photos, since 2012. The cookies have become a best seller on the site, where visitors can also choose gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan options. Baking For Good partners with non-profit organizations and allows customers to choose a cause to donate to with each order, so they are especially sweet.