Is your iPhone’s memory clogged with apps like Instasize and Whitagram for creating landscape and portrait snaps? Forget them. Instagram has changed the rules – in addition to square posts, you can now share images and videos in both portrait and landscape.
Instagram launched in October 2010 and has since risen to become the second most popular social networking site (beaten only by its owner, Facebook). Instagram knew there were problems with the square-only format, “friends get cut out of group shots, the subject of your video feels cramped and you can’t capture the Golden Gate Bridge from end to end.” #moderndayproblems
However, the frustrating and restrictive format never hindered the app’s popularity, it just meant users looked to third party apps before uploading to Instagram. If anything, the square was a creative challenge – especially for brands. Rather than one image spammed across all social media accounts, the brand was forced to create unique content that would only work on Instagram.
Brands took on the challenge to accommodate the square – fashion photographers were told to ”shoot for the square”, iPhone’s camera has a ‘square setting’ and Facebook profile pictures could ‘crop to square’. When a company like Apple is acknowledging the power of a platform by adjusting its products, it must be a pretty big deal.
So why has Instagram changed it? Instagram’s entire brand was built on and created around the square format. Square pictures on Instagram are Twitter’s 140 characters, Snapchat’s 10 seconds, Facebook’s….. Er. Whatever Facebook’s ‘thing’ is. It’s like imagining the McDonalds’ M being blue.
Instagram realises that its been asking brands to work with one arm tied behind their backs. Vogue can now show a full magazine cover, for example. As Instagram itself helpfully notes: “The visual story you’re trying to tell should always come first.” Quite. For advertising too, the change on one hand will be a fantastic opportunity for full-sized images and videos. On the other, it could cause laziness.
So while brands revel in the new-found freedom, the change has left everyone else feeling a bit deflated. Instagram’s quirk and stand-out feature no longer exists. It’s now just another app people can use to quickly and easily upload a photo of their dinner.
What to know more about how to show your business’ ‘best side’ on different platforms? Contact 24 fingers today.