Sharing the things you love, care about, passions and hobbies is an age-old community building pastime. Since the use of mobile phones has been integrated into daily life, sharing these interests has migrated into every corner of our digital worlds. The phone wallpaper however is something much more personal than our social media profiles. It isn’t shared throughout the internet and is only noticed among those who we spend time with: friends, family and colleagues etc.
There is a growing trend that brands are creating, sharing and allowing users to download or screenshot wallpapers for their phone backgrounds and lock screens. Why? Because sharing your interests and recommending things to the people you’re closest to carries a lot of weight, and brands want in on the action. Every person has the ability to influence those around them, and branded wallpapers are a way for businesses to get in front of new people. Wallpapers are typically shared on Instagram using stories posts and stories highlights, because it gives the viewer the opportunity to screenshot the full image straight to their photos.
Let’s check out how these 5 successful brands are sharing wallpapers on Instagram…
Ford has created full force, product-based wallpapers, showcasing the Mustang in a variety of different models, colours and environments for fans of the vehicle to enjoy. These designs really do have a wow factor about them. They are high quality images, celebrating a signature product in the ford family.
Although the product is bold, the company branding is very discreetly placed at the bottom of the image. This is because wallpapers are about the consumer - not about the company. People want to share things they love, their interests and their passions on their phone background. By displaying one of these backgrounds on their phone, what does it say about the person? It states that they like the vehicle, sure… but it also suggests that they appreciate the image itself and the attributes it suggests: quality, performance, beauty, power, bold aesthetics and interesting artwork.
The smoothie company Innocent are similarly bold, but in a very different way. Innocent have been sharing wallpapers of smoothie ingredients laid out in an aesthetically pleasing way.
The first difference to point out is that the product is not being specifically shouted about and the branding is almost unnoticeably tucked away in the bottom right-hand corner of the images. This approach means the pop of colour is the first thing you notice, and you have to hunt around to find out what it’s about and which brand it is associated with. However, these backgrounds do have a professional standard wow factor. They are bold and they showcase well-thought-out creativity. They’re the kind of backgrounds that people notice. When a friend asks you where you got it from and the brand is shared via word of mouth, this can hold more weight as it is a customer shouting about a brand instead of the company shouting about itself.
Netflix US has taken a very different approach to sharing wallpapers. With the three wallpapers below, Netflix is mixing up styles to suit the particular program it is promoting and altering the approach to cater for the target audience.
The first wallpaper example is promoting the Netflix show ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’. It contains a quote in a variety of fonts followed by the show name.
The second example is promoting the third season of the Netflix show ‘Stranger Things’. The image includes a beloved character of the show, a tagline, the show name, the company name and the release date. This is more in line with a traditional promotional poster, similar to that which you might see on a bus stop when a film is being released.
The third example feels more in line with a magazine or a bedroom wall poster. The high quality image doesn't contain any branding. This approach relies on the viewer knowing the characters and enjoying the show already, or engaging with the image before searching through Netflix to find out what the show is. It requires more information if you are seeing the characters for the first time, which sets it up for word of mouth marketing.
Netflix US shows us that heavy, subtle or a lack of branding can all work well and have their place in content marketing. The focus of each wallpaper differs significantly, with each approach shaped to suit the target audience and the action Netflix US wants the audience to take. Does Netflix want you to share your new favourite show with your friends? Does it want you to be eagerly anticipating a new season of an already established show? Does it want to share the quality and credibility of the company? These are questions that establish the imagery.
Taco Bell takes a varied and flexible approach to wallpapers, sharing stylised images in the brand's colour scheme. The business objectives appear to include sharing the brand, creating brand awareness and increasing customer loyalty.
Taco Bell caters for the viewers’ wants by opting for a range of wallpapers with different levels of branding. The first wallpaper features the business logo, business name and stylised catering elements relevant to the fast food chain. The second example features subtle branding; the logo is small and isn’t the focal point of the image. The final example is bold and humorous to appeal to a different kind of audience member. However, even with the varying approaches, each image looks like it belongs to the same company. The image styles and colour scheme fits within a theme.
In vast contrast, NFL use wallpapers to achieve several objectives in one swoop. The wallpapers act as promotion and information sharing posters, featuring upcoming events to remind viewers of these events once the wallpapers are displayed on their phones.
Notice how each wallpaper has the same layout; only the players, colour schemes and information changes. This has made it simple for NFL to share high quality images filled with information, without having to create vastly different content. This is an effective use of time and resources. Viewers can choose their favourite teams and team players so that they can keep up to date with the NFL upcoming events.
What To Consider When Making Your Own Wallpapers
If you want to share your brand through wallpapers via Instagram stories, consider the following:
- Quality Content - Your content shows off your company. Share quality content to get quality custom.
- Wow Factor - What bold ideas can you bring to the table?
- Branding - How much branding do you need to include? Remember that a wallpaper is about the viewer’s interests, so that should be the focus.
- What Does The Wallpaper Say About The Consumer - Which attributes do you think your target audience would like to embody?
- Sharing Information, Humour, Releases Or Events - Consider tackling multiple objectives at once by adding more value to your wallpapers.
- Catering For Different People - If you have the time and resources to share multiple wallpapers, play around with different levels of branding, information and designs. Perhaps even ask your audience which were their favourite designs for additional insight.
Check out Harley Davidson’s introduction of ‘Wallpaper Wednesday’. This allows the audience to look forward to new high quality designs and gives them a chance to regularly update their phone wallpaper.
Inspired to create and share wallpapers to your Instagram stories? Keep an eye on the performance of your stories posts including best time to post, completion rate, impressions, reach rate, full view rate and top stories by using the Instagram analytics tool Minter.io. We hope you enjoy making your own quality backgrounds to share with your audience.