Instagram undergoes a makeover – are brands taking advantage of the changes?
Instagram has always stuck with a set format: the square. In August, however, the social giant announced it would be shaking things up – thinking outside the square – by offering portrait and landscape options for photo and video uploads.
Why the change?
In a post on the official Instagram blog, the company revealed that one in five uploads through the app didn't fit in the traditional square shape – meaning people get cut out of photos and images, or videos appear cramped.
What does this mean for businesses?
The new update gives all users more flexibility, but the biggest change relates to videos. Not normally filmed in a square format, taking footage used on TV, websites or YouTube usually can't be used on Instagram, or simply looks wrong when uploaded. That will change now, meaning money spent on video production can go a little further, with videos properly displayed on Instagram.
How do you apply the new formats?
While anything you take through the app will remain in the square shape, if you upload from another source you'll be able to keep the original format. When sharing a photo or video through the Instagram app, you simply need to tap the 'format' option and then select the orientation of your choice. In follower feeds, the images and videos will show in the chosen view, while profile grids will keep the square design by cropping the centre of an upload.
What else is new?
Videos and images have always had separate filters. The new update means these filters are merged, with all kinds available on both types of upload. Filters can also be intensified on videos – something that wasn't previously possible.
Instagram has grown remarkably in the course of a year, with the site more than doubling its Australian user base from July 2014 to 2015, up from two million to five million active users. With its seamless connection to Facebook, it is fast becoming one of the most effective social media tools for businesses.
Do you consider Instagram an important social media platform for your business?