Research into European Instagram users has found that the app has built a considerable reputation as a discovery platform, with 25 per cent of users saying that the photo-sharing app enables them to discover content they'd otherwise never consider.
The study, carried out by qualitative and quantitative research firm Sparkler, covered consumers in the UK, France and Germany, and compared Instagram to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest.
40 per cent of young people surveyed describe Instagram as 'friendly', while over half agreed that the app stimulated their imagination or allowed them to explore new perspectives and ideas.
According to the research, Instagram is associated with themes of beauty, art and creativity, and over a fifth of the app's users consider it "the art gallery of the future".
"Instagram is a means for framing consumers' lives in an increasingly visual world," said a spokesperson for Sparkler. "It is unique in that it manages to place an unfailingly positive, but not unrealistic filter on people's perceptions: a platform perfectly suited for driving consumers' aspirations, while rooting them in a very real community of shared values and inspiration.
"For brands, Instagram provides a hugely influential lens. It is a frame for sharing emotionally resonant and highly motivating content with a highly engaged community. The challenge facing advertisers is to play by its rules and values, to speak with consumers on their terms, and to participate in the global inspiration exchange Instagram has established."