It was announced today that Facebook is purchasing Instagram for a Dr. Evil pinky inducing one billion dollars. On the surface, this probably just means to expect a greater uptick in the amount of “artistic” photos that will flood your social streams. Upon further review, there’s a deeper message in this move by Facebook.

I constantly read and research what works in social media. It’s part of my job description. One thing that always comes up in my reading, as well as personal experience, is that images work. Almost always. Scientists have done studies to show that the eye is most often drawn to images in the Facebook Newsfeed. I’ve also noticed they’re the most likely to be Liked on my own Pages as well as the Pages I visit.

Yes, camera phone technology has greatly improved in recent years. That being said, the camera on my iPhone 3GS is far inferior to that of my younger brother’s iPhone 4. My phone camera takes mediocre pictures at best, even in perfect daylight. A tool like Instagram can hide that. It can hide the flaws in your camera phone images, and put forth a more professional-looking image.

Facebook has no doubt seen the numbers as well. They understand the importance of images on their platform. They felt it was one billion dollars important to bring Instagram into their fold. That’s not exactly walkin’ around money, even for Mark Zuckerberg. If a company like Facebook is taking notice of the importance of images in social marketing, you should as well.