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Instagram Tests NFTs. But Is It Missing the Point?

Instagram started testing NFTs this week. The social giant invited a set of creators to share digital collectibles they’ve created or bought. But the opportunity for businesses lies not in NFT collectibles but in utility. Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute explains how NFTs might turn into a new way to exchange information and access with your audience.

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Aired: May 13, 2022

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Hello everybody, Robert Rose here with the news. It’s what’s new and what’s important in the world of Content Marketing. It’s the news you need to lead in the practice of content marketing and content strategy.

And for the best in best practices – you can always go to

The news item this week is all about Instagram.

Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced that the social media network will start testing NFTs with select creators in the United States.

Mosseri noted in his Instagram post announcement that the company is testing digital collectibles with a handful of U.S. creators and collectors who will be able to share NFTs on Instagram. There will be no fees associated with posting or sharing digital collectibles at this point. He also said the platform is starting very small so that they can learn from the community and see if Web3 technology will be interesting to those who create art.

Translated from PR speak: “We have no idea if this is going to go well.”

Instagram’s announcement says that it will empower some of the platform’s notable creators with the ability to share an NFT instead of just a picture or video. The NFT would theoretically be a collectible – an image or video ­– the creator could sell (kind of like a limited number of “prints” of a particular piece of digital art). The announcement also mentioned support for third-party wallets, including Rainbow, MetaMask, and Trust Wallet, with Coinbase, Dapper, and Phantom coming soon.

As an aside: I can’t get over how listing Web3 Wallets always sounds like naming off superheroes in some kind of Justice League. But, moving on.

One of the things that struck me was the mix of the initial set of creators chosen by Instagram. It certainly represents interesting artists – with about half of the chosen set describing themselves as such. But there are also a fair number of celebrities chosen, such as the ubiquitous Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee), Jaden Smith, and others. There’s also the creative outlet from a clothing brand as well as some other notables who are already deep into NFTs.

Clearly, Instagram is casting a wide net to see how any of this might take off or not.

Our take: Instagram use has been on the rise for content marketers looking to engage audiences. In our B2B content marketing research, we find that 56% of marketers are using Instagram – and it ranks above YouTube and Twitter in terms of effectiveness. It’s only behind LinkedIn and Facebook in terms of producing the best results.

If this test spreads to a wider set of Instagram users, there may be an opportunity for content marketers to create direct calls to action that haven’t been available on Instagram before. The key to any NFT isn’t in the image – it’s the utility contained in the image.

Put another way: Registrations to webinars, access to events, or even subscriptions could be contained as part of the transaction of an NFT. This is almost certainly how someone like GaryVee will use Instagram and NFTs – as a distribution for his brand of NFTs almost none of which are about the art, but about the access he provides to services, events, and himself.

This Instagram play may provide a way to get direct access to consumers that want that communication without the classic exchange of things like email addresses. As data becomes more precious and content marketing becomes more sophisticated, the music is changing beneath our feet. And Instagram may be setting the stage for a new dance.

That’s three minutes of the news you need to lead in content marketing. I’m Robert Rose. Remember, it’s your story. Tell it well.

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