For most marketers, photo-sharing can help build brand awareness and encourage consumers to interact with the company. LIPTON Brisk iced tea partnered with mobile photo-sharing app Instagram for a campaign prior to the 2011 South By Southwest (SXSW) Conferences and Festivals. Fans were encouraged to take pictures through Instagram and tag them with #briskpic to be entered in a photo contest. The winning photos were included on a limited-edition can of the drink during SXSW.

Meanwhile, there are also companies working to move photo-sharing beyond that—into profits and sales. Pixazza is a startup that inserts in-image ads into regular photos. A layer on top of the picture provides information so users can mouse over an item in the picture to learn more about it, visit a corresponding website or even purchase the item. As of March, more than 70 million unique visitors see the company’s in-image ads each month.

No matter how marketers are leveraging photo-sharing, either for brand awareness or for more measurable sales results, they should understand how their customers are participating in the trend.

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