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That Lot's Tiny Trends: It's time to go portrait on Instagram

By Kate Allen | Social producer

That Lot


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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May 5, 2017 | 4 min read

The square has long been a defining feature of Instagram’s style but if you want to stand out in the feed, it’s time to embrace the portrait post.

Portrait Instagram

It's time to go portrait on Instagram

Instagram introduced the ability to post landscape and portrait photos way back in 2015 but not everyone has cottoned on to just how great portrait posts can be. The quality of content on Instagram is now so high, it takes a really great photo to stop someone in their scroll; this is where Instagram’s portrait format comes into its own.

Square V Portrait

When you post a portrait photo on Instagram it fills up the whole screen. This means that when scrolling, the user sees more of your image for longer. That’s more time to catch the user’s attention, to immerse them in your photo and to get them to double tap. Landscape images barely have time register  –  the user’s eye is scanning the screen, always searching for the next image, waiting for that spark of visual joy.

Portrait posts are becoming more and more popular with Instagram’s savvy food photographers, stylists and designers.

Look how it compares to a standard square post:

Portrait Instagram

The square post is simply less visually impressive and your eye is drawn away from the image to the caption. Copy can and does add another dimension to your post, but let’s be honest, Instagram has never been about witty prose like Twitter or sharing links like Facebook. It is about powerful visual content that delights the viewer. Posting portrait provides a much greater window to delight the user in.

It’s interesting to note that many brands are posting landscape adverts to Instagram, videos that were clearly shot for TV or with Facebook in mind. These videos appear tiny on Instagram and you have to wonder how effective they are at capturing the viewer’s attention, especially when they contain text. It’s worth repeating that old golden rule of social  –  always optimise your content for the platform it’s on.

Landscape video is made for TV and YouTube

Ask yourself  – how much more effective would the above video be at capturing your attention if it’d been shot or edited into a vertical video? As Instagram continues to push its Stories platform –  a full screen experience, and Facebook adds more Snapchat-like features to its messenger platform, it’s clear we’re moving to a much more immersive content experience, one that brands should be taking advantage of now, before it becomes the new normal.

Don’t miss this tiny trend – it’s clear that if you want to stand out on Instagram, the square just doesn’t compare! It’s time to go portrait.

That Lot is a social content company that has worked with The Apprentice and Nandos and collaborated with The Drum Network to produce Create Britain.

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