Instagram has surpassed the 80 million-user mark, and marketers can include the service in social media marketing campaigns to drive engagement.

On its official blog, Instagram announced that it has surpassed the 80 million-user mark, and more than 80 billion photos have been shared on the network since its launch in October 2010. This indicates the audience for visual content marketing is growing, which is likely partially due to mobile web access. Earlier this year, Instagram rolled out an Android app, which has further driven its growth due to the mobile operating system’s massive user base within the United States.

Instagram’s success demonstrates the popularity and utility of visual content on the web. For consumers, the service allows simple photo sharing with friends and other social media contacts. However, marketers can also find value with the service by taking images and sharing them as part of social media marketing campaigns.

The value of images and other visuals integrated in social media marketing campaign generally comes in the form of increased engagement and the extension of brand’s identity on the web. Brafton has highlighted several studies demonstrating the lift photos can provide a social presence.

For example, a study from Buddy Media recently found that Twitter marketing efforts that include frequent sharing of images result in twice as much as engagement as campaigns without visual content.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.