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What are the implications of Instagram’s new album feature for marketers?


By Robyn Darbyshire | Junior Content Editor

March 3, 2017 | 4 min read

Instagram’s new album feature, which lets users share up to 10 photos and videos per post, has got people talking. Nobody more so, perhaps, than the marketing community which is already pondering the implications for brands, influencers and users.

Instagram rolled out a feature last week that lets users and advertisers post albums of video and photos

Instagram rolled out a feature last week that lets users and advertisers post albums of video and photos

The feature, much like the photo ad carousel launched back in 2015, enables users to swipe for additional content where they can see the icon.

“This is an exciting opportunity for influencers to share a richer creative experience previously limited to advertisers. For brands working with the Insta-famous, the more progressive among them will use this to their advantage by giving influencers the reins to reimagine the format,” said Matt Linstead, content manager at 360i Europe.

The new feature seems to fit naturally into the platform’s overall user experience. For brands the album feature allows for more organic storytelling, though that doesn’t mean quality should be compromised.

“The brands that use this feature most successfully will be the ones that see it as simply another creative tool in their arsenal,” said Callum McCahon, strategy director at Born Social.

“We shouldn’t approach this as an opportunity to throw content down the throats of users, Instagram is still all about the aesthetic. This feature doesn't turn it into a place to dump all of your content. Rather, think of albums as a tool to create a piece of content that’s more immersive than a standard post. Think about how you can tell a story.”

Instagram suggested the tool could be used for content such as step-by-step recipes, or favourite moments from a particular event.

Another consequence McCahon observed of this new feature is that it effectively kills the need for the Layout app, “Why try and squeeze multiple images into the single square format, when you can upload a series of images within the same post? Overall though, quality over quantity still rings true more than ever.”

The photo-sharing app has made a number of updates in the last few weeks that move to show marketers it is the go-to ad platform at a time when its rival Snapchat has been preparing to float on the stock exchange. Following the introduction of Stories in August last year, the emerging rivalry between the two platforms remains top of mind for some.

“Most of the narrative is based on the battle of Instagram vs Snapchat. By introducing stories, they’ve forced Snapchat into a growth plateau, just before their IPO,” said Bob D’Mello, head of campaigns at Roast. “Instagram are trying to increase dwell time with extended video, stories and now, bigger albums, making them the winners in the battle for the photography apps. Increased dwell time continues the growth of Instagram, helping them cement their position as the leading photo-based app.”

It remains to be seen whether the feature will mean users become accustomed to swiping through content, ultimately making carousel ads more effective.

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