The way that consumers interact with social media and the Internet in general has shifted from a text-based world (read: what Facebook updates used to look like) to a more immersive experience. Users now are watching videos on their phone, sharing emojis to convey words, using gifs to communicate emotion, and turning to visual platforms such as Pinterest for their trusted advice and inspiration. The implication for brands is that in many verticals, especially in visually-focused ones, such as fashion, travel / tourism, arts and crafts, it is crucial to have a presence so that users turn to you for visual inspiration.
Social media platforms, search engines, mobile apps, and other digital properties are making it more of a native experience for users to make purchases right where they are consuming visual content. Pinterest, Instagram and apps have jumped on board the advertising train and consumers are welcoming it. Audiences want to be inspired, and as a whole they no longer reject the idea of brands promoting content or products, so long as it is relevant, personalized to them, and helpful. By keeping those just-mentioned attributes in mind, brands can work WITH users to provide a seamless buying experience where the user views the brand as helpful, and not obtrusive.
The time is now for brands to step into the advertising space in social media, apps, search, and other mediums that provide a great user / buyer experience to a highly targeted audience, since the age has come when users seek out promoted content nearly just as much as non-promoted content to answer their questions, make buying decisions, and connect with their favorite brands.
Also, a word of advice is to get in now. Do not wait to jump into this saturated space since loyalty grows over time and it will only become harder and harder to break into the space and make a name or following for yourself.