When interior designer Christina Higham found her first client via Instagram, she knew she was onto something. Higham, the owner San Francisco-based Sun Soul Style, cut her professional teeth in tech as a marketing and PR executive for a mobile advertising startup called Fetch. That experience keyed her into the potential of a platform like Instagram as a business tool, but it wasn’t until years later that she saw what the app could do for her own pursuits.
The customer in question was looking at a sconce on West Elm’s website. It was the sort innocuous clicking around that we all do on home furnishing sites, imagining how that coffee table from CB2 or that funky chair from Ikea would look in that vacant spot in the living room. Interior design is a nearly $10 billion business, and advertiser spending on Instagram is set to hit nearly $7B, up from $3.64B in 2017. Design companies also know they have a captive audience, and have concentrated on growing their follower counts as a play for direct advertising. West Elm has 1.8M followers, Ikea has 1.7M, Crate and Barrel 1.3M. They all know social media is another lever to pull when it comes to transforming browsers into buyers, and they’re doing what they can to ratchet up those conversion numbers.