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‘Shot on iPhone’ Takes a Big Step as Apple Joins Instagram

This year, well over 1 trillion digital photos will be taken by users from all over the world. Many of those photos will be captured using an Apple iPhone, which earlier this year celebrated its ten-year anniversary on the market. The iPhone has served a critical role in disrupting a variety of industries, from entertainment, to retail, and of course communication. Still, perhaps the most profound impact of the iPhone has been the proliferation of the mobile camera, allowing users to take and share photos and videos from all facets of their lives without having to invest in bigger photographic equipment and expensive training.

Over the course of several updates to the iPhone hardware, the quality of the camera has become exceptional, so much so that buzzworthy films like 2015’s Tangerine have been shot on the device. Apple, understandably proud of their technology, has promoted a simple advertising message, widely seen on billboards and other offline channels, using the tagline, “Shot on iPhone.” Many of the photos in the original campaign, launched last year, were taken by either professional or budding photographers. Now, however, Apple is doubling down on the effort and featuring a much larger population of creators by launching a new Instagram account, using a neat handle, @apple. This is big news given that the brand was a notable holdout from the visual social platform for so long.

Thus far, the account has included several creators with varying styles, each time using Instagram’s carousel tool to feature a more robust group of users. Additionally, Apple has deployed short-form video to string together work from content creators, both in the standard feed and in posts to Instagram Stories.

At Olapic, we are extremely excited to see Apple expanding their social presence, and telling bigger stories using their exceptionally engaged audiences. After all, our business, and thousands of other businesses devoted to user-generated content, or social commerce, or short-form video, owe a debt of gratitude to Apple for pushing society to a place of mobile ubiquity. Yet, as Apple activates a new set of creators, keeping up with social feeds, there are new considerations the brand must consider, including the expanded need for content moderation. Finding and tapping into high-quality creative content to support billboard campaigns is a hugely innovative idea, but it also is largely a curation exercise for Apple. Expert curators can scour social channels for specific assets from users with professional or near-professional skill sets to feature. As Apple moves to broaden the scope of its campaign, culling through the wealth of available content to identify content worth sharing will be a new challenge.

The brand has a fantastic opportunity here to showcase the capabilities not just of professional creators, but from everyday users, as they tell personal stories through visual content captured on the iPhone. As Apple broadens the audience of featured users, the brand will need to scale permissioning of content, simultaneously protecting the company from rights issues while building loyalty and excitement within its user community.

We work with hundreds of brands to help them solve these challenges and develop more authentic relationships with their customers. Frequently, brands are curating and activating content that focuses on their products. Apple’s Instagram presence represents such a unique use case, because the focus is not on the product, but entirely on the visual capacity of the creator, and the individual stories being told through content. The product is literally behind the camera. We’re looking forward to following Apple’s progress as it takes this next step in the “Shot on iPhone” journey.

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