Albums Backlash Doesn't Slow Instagram Down


Right after they released it, we wrote a post on Instagram's newest sharing feature, which lets users post up to 10 photos as an album in one fell swoop. Before this update, users were limited to one photo per post... now, if you've got something (or something[s]) you want to share a bit faster, and all at once—well, no fear. Instagram Albums has got your back. The new feature though, as with almost every single other feature released by Instagram in the past year and a half, has gotten some backlash—which should be no surprise. Does this mean Instagram is going to remove the feature? We’ll take a guess that the answer to that is: probably not. As with most of the other new features that received initial backlash. Users eventually got over it. If they REALLY, really didn’t like it then maybe they stopped using the app. However, last time we checked, the number of users on Instagram seemingly continues to grow.

Here’s the deal. First, we’re going to discuss the backlash Instagram has received over Albums. Then, we’re going to shine some light on why popular social platforms borrow ideas from each other, and why we shouldn’t get so upset by it (it’s not just Instagram…Facebook, Snapchat, the list goes on). And finally, we’re going to discuss why instead of worrying about that backlash, your business should be thinking of how it can leverage the use of Albums because, from one point of view, it might’ve solved some problems.

The Scoop

Late last month, most everyone gained access to albums. All it took was updating one’s app and voila. However, very few people, upon hearing of the update, even chose to make the switch. Why? Well, the backlash was almost immediate, and users didn’t want their Instagram experience being tainted by yet another update. So what were people saying? One: that Instagram is becoming a mirror of Facebook (it is owned by Facebook, after all, but we understand people’s dissatisfaction)—but perhaps more important is the fact that this app is not Facebook, and that’s part of the reason why users choose Instagram in the first place, no? 

A few months prior to the introduction of albums, Instagram made another clever change to the app. They switched up its algorithm such that only heavily viewed photos would come up in a user’s stream—you’d have to scroll for an eternity to get to those photos your friend posts… you know, the one that only garners, say, five or ten likes. The addition of photo albums has given Instagram a new way to encourage users to spend more time on the app without actually increasing the number of posts they see at any given time. In much the same way that people generally detested the aforementioned change that encouraged eternity-scrolling, the inclusion of albums stands to boost engagement metrics significantly. In that respect, we definitely understand the reason for this update. However, as aforementioned, some people aren’t optimistic about the change. Mashable recently wrote a post that said “ [Albums] flies in the face of Instagram's inherent curation… allowing users to share up to 10 photos in a single post. Overlooking that there are literally hundreds of services that already do that — most notably its own parent, Facebook — Instagram had clearly lost touch with what its users actually want.”

Keeping Up to Date With Social

In the bigger scheme of things, however, major social platforms know they have to stay relevant. Instagram is no stranger to being inspired by other platforms’ ideas. Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom, in an interview with TechCrunch, brings up an interesting perspective to this whole phenomenon of seeing similar features on different platforms,

“When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront. This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.

Facebook invented feed, LinkedIn took on feed, Twitter took on feed, Instagram took on feed, and they all feel very different now and they serve very different purposes. But no one looks down at someone for adopting something that is so obviously great for presenting a certain type of information.

Innovation happens in the Valley, and people invent formats, and that’s great. And then what you see is those formats proliferate. So @ usernames were invented on Twitter. Hashtags were invented on Twitter. Instagram has those. Filtered photos were not invented on Instagram.

And I think what you see is that every company looks around and adopts the best of the best formats or state-of-the-art technology. Snapchat adopted face filters that existed elsewhere first, right? And slideshows existed in other places, too. Flipagram was doing it for a while. So I think that’s the interesting part of the Valley. You can’t just recreate another product. But you can say ‘what’s really awesome about a format? And does it apply to our network?’…” 

He makes a solid point or at least a point for everyone who is questioning or complaining about these similar features can genuinely think on. In fact, his point could actually be applied to a lot of different businesses and start-ups in general. And isn’t social media and business intertwined now? 

In that same post by Mashable, they go on to explain some “unwritten rules” of Instagram—rules about mass posting photos of say, a cruise, or a single museum visit. Those rules are still unwritten, and we’d say still apply even with the new update. They’re right, people who get crazy with albums and post 10 mediocre photos in a row that all look the same are most likely going to lose followers and remain being followed by 20 close friends and family members—and hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. But here’s the thing: whether they have albums to do that or not, it won’t matter… they’re going to post those 10 photos either in a row as single photos or in an Album. Hey, at least if they’re in an Album that’s less scrolling if we’re not interested. The truth is, even though Albums might remind us of Facebook and seeing all those albums of photos we don’t care to see from family members or high school friends, Instagram still isn’t Facebook, and the unwritten rules will still find a way to adapt and let Instagram remain very much itself. 

What Does All This Mean For Insta Users Today? 

Once people have come to terms with why these popular social sites keep taking ideas from each other and adapting them to their own platforms, only then will they start truly seeing how they might be able to use them wisely and create some leverage. Quality photos are still going to be king, and aesthetic will remain hugely important. We might even say it’ll be more important than before, because not only are you managing the aesthetic of your overall feed, keeping the same aesthetic to each Album you post will be important as well. You’re also going to want to make sure you’re not overdoing it. Just because you can upload 10 photos doesn’t mean you HAVE to upload all 10 photos (see paragraph above). Here are a couple examples of how Albums can become useful:

Example 1: You’ve just unveiled a new clothing item and want to post a photo of it, it could be more beneficial to post 3-4 photos of it in an album from different angles so potential buyers can see what it looks like from multiple angles and how it fits.

Example 2: You did attend a special event, or make a special day trip. If you have a couple photos that tell a story or capture a moment more fully, tell that story by making sure the photos will be seen together as a whole.

Let us know what you think about Instagram’s seemingly constant modifications (for better or for worse, as they say). And be sure to let us know how you’re using the platform these days, or if you’re using albums! We’re listening.

Beginner's Guide to Inbound Marketing

Can-Do Ideas is a Digital Marketing agency specializing in Inbound Marketing and Inbound Sales. We are located in New York City and Connecticut.

TOPICS: Inbound Marketing, Social Media

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