In the last year Instagram has undertook a significant transformation. The popularisation of live video, Snapchat and messaging apps, has driven the social network to change its brand model. In fact, recent innovations from the company have included a Snapchat-like feature (Instagram Stories) and live streaming.
Their latest feature is Galleries. This allows all users to upload up to 10 photos in one post - only previously possible with 4 images through Carousel ads.
The first photo in a gallery appears like any other Instagram post on the main feed. This is with the exception of a small icon in the top right corner. Once clicked on, grey dots appear at the bottom of the photo to inform the viewer they can swipe to see more content.
The mechanics is similar to Stories (with the exception of not disappearing after 24 hours). Yet, will arguably become a more powerful tool in social media marketing.
More Content With Less Clutter
As stated by Fabrizio Perrone, CEO of Influencer platform Buzzoole, “nothing turns followers off more than radio silence from a user, followed by a huge spam of more than three photos or videos in a row”.
Arguably this is the greatest benefit of Instagram Galleries. You now have the ability to categories all content relating to specific events under one image. This allows brands to share more ‘special moments’ without cluttering their profile or their followers’ feeds.
Fashion brands and publications have obviously been quick to embrace this new social tool. Fendi used it to celebrate the release of their Fall collection, and the launch of their new Sweet Dream window installations. Rather than overwhelming people with photos of these events, the brand tightly packaged their content in a way that intrigues their community to discover more.
Retail company Opening Ceremony tapped into Galleries as a way to celebrate their collaboration with Kenzo for the new Music is My Mistress movie. While i-D magazine have been heavy users of Galleries as a way to highlight new stories (including the launch of Chanel’s The Fifth Sense campaign, and the release of Christopher Raeburn’s new collection) in a more dynamic format.
You also wouldn’t be too hard pressed to imagine how Galleries could be used during Fashion Week shows, surprise product drops and influencer marketing campaigns. However, beyond fashion, Galleries can still be utilised as a way to enhance user experiences. For instance, US restaurant chain Eat Chow and beauty brand Urban Decayboth used the feature to share ‘how-to’ content. This tactic could easily be replicated across multiple industries - from technology to FMCG.
As Instagram product manager Yichen Wang said, “[Galleries] was inspired by members of [Instagram’s] community, who have told [them] that there are times they want to share more than just one moment from a memorable experience in their feed”. Yet, while Galleries may be consumer-driven, it is arguably brands who will be most creative in their use of it.
Last year Instagram introduced an algorithm to organise content in users’ feeds, which they say priorities quality-over-quantity.
Shifting away from a chronological format, the new algorithm delivers users content based on their activity habits. The consequence of this is that brands can’t merely post high volumes of photos to continuously reach eyeballs.
Instagram Galleries would appear to be another step in encouraging brands and users to ‘think-before-they-post’. Rather than approaching Instagram with an ad hoc mindset, brands need to be strategic or risk not reaching their target market.
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