Executing successful social media marketing campaigns has become more costly over the years, and for many brands, organic success is harder and harder to find. But that doesn't mean it no longer exists.

As detailed by AdWeek, after noticing that individuals were posting photos of its catalog on Instagram, home decor and furniture retailer Z Gallerie took quick action to capitalize on the trend.

Ultimately, the company was able to increase signups by an impressive 24% in the first weeks of its campaign, boost its Instagram follower count by 10,000 and generate 90,000 comments and likes.

According to Loren Mattia, Z Gallerie's social chief, the retailer's catalog photo campaign generated 12 times more subscriptions through Instagram than Facebook. Why? Because, Mattia believes, Instagram hasn't been fully monetized yet.

"The fact is that Facebook has just become inundated with advertising, and Instagram is just starting to figure out their advertising product," he explained.

Advertisers now spend billions of dollars a year trying to reach consumers on the world's largest social network.

Facebook has met advertiser demand with a slew of ad offerings designed to help them engage with consumers, and thanks in part to its algorithm, which determines what Facebook users see in their feeds, the company has generally made it more difficult for brands to do so organically.

That has increased costs, frustrating some advertisers.

But Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, still offers advertisers organic opportunity. 

The big question: just how long will this opportunity for a free lunch last? 

Facebook, which owns Instagram, is working on ad offerings that are suited to the popular photo sharing app's visual nature, but it's still early days and advertisers don't yet have to contend with an EdgeRank-like algorithm.

This doesn't mean, however, that the free lunch will last forever. Instagram, and other popular apps like Snapchat, may be where Facebook was years ago, but they should fully expect them to get to where Facebook is today and, if Snapchat's latest ad experiment is any indication, perhaps sooner than marketers would like.

Patricio Robles

Published 8 May, 2015 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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