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Agency bits: Why don’t things spread on Instagram?

Beyoncé recently surprised us by announcing her new record was immediately available for download. She did this on Instagram. Buuuuuuuuuut that probably wasn’t where you found out about it.

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Though Instagram has more users than Twitter and Tumblr, you often discover Instagram posts outside of Instagram, on Twitter and Tumblr.

Why isn’t Instagram its own distribution?

  • instagram doesn’t have regram (no built-in reshare social gesture like retweet/reblog/repin )
  • child comments on instagram are second-class citizens, and especially unsharable ( 1) they don’t have their own URL, 2) they cannot be reshared with built-in social gesture like “retweet/reblog/repin,” same handicap as top-level posts)

People have developed workarounds for this, like tagging their friends in comments of photos they want to pass on. But that can’t quite overcome the structure of IG’s network design, in terms of discovering stuff you don’t directly follow.

On Twitter + Tumblr, it’s different. You bump into stuff you don’t explicitly follow all the time. Twitter and Tumblr each have native reshare gestures (retweet and reblog). And any “reply” post is as equally shareable as an original post. Replies are not a secondary post-type. (On Twitter, an @-reply is a full tweet that anybody can favorite, retweet, bookmark, or reply to. On Tumblr, the most common reply format is a reblog, which gets its own URL, ability to be reblogged itself, and Liked.)

This lack of native resharing on Instagram is why you found out about Beyoncé’s new album on Twitter/Tumblr, not Instagram. That’s why you saw more #selfieolympics excellence via Twitter (even when pictures were hosted by Instagram). It’s why we find creative videos like The girl who’s never been on a nice date, via a Tumblr reblog, even though it was first hosted on Instagram.)

I’ll stop short of saying Instagram must add regram. (There are costs and benefits to these decisions.) But it’s why things don’t spread there.

I’m sure somebody who’s studied lotsa network science knows the technical terms for these behaviors, but this post is mostly for other agency people. I have a similar conversation over and over about social gestures on Instagram: posts can feel like a “dead end” in terms of social gestures. (Not in terms of other good stuff. Instagram is great, etc. We love Instagram, etc.)

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Instagram’s initial native ad format

The new Instagram ad format is exactly the same as user posts. They’re not stickier/more persistent in feed, or differently sized or highlighted. True “native.”

There’s also a subtle icon signaling the post is sponsored, not unlike Tumblr’s ads.

Instagram + Tumblr native ads, side-by-side, for comparison:

(For reference, Twitter and Facebook native ads use combination of muted text, and salient color.)

instagram-business:

A few weeks ago, we shared our plans to introduce advertising on Instagram. Today, we want to provide a few more details about exactly what ads on Instagram will look like.

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If you’re in the United States, you’ll see the sample ad above sometime in the coming week. This is a one-time ad from the Instagram team that’s meant to give you a sense for the look and feel of the ads you will see.

You’ll know a photo or video is an advertisement when you see the “Sponsored” label where the time stamp normally would be. Tap the label to learn more about how advertising works on Instagram. If you have other questions about how advertising on Instagram works, you can learn more here.

We want ads to be creative and engaging, so we’re starting with just a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community. We’ll proceed slowly and let you know when we’re ready to expand, continuing to partner with brands whose content shines.

In the meantime, all businesses can use Instagram by creating an account on the platform. All you need is a mobile device, username and profile image.

Instagram is the place for brands to share beautiful and captivating photos and videos that people can’t see anywhere else.

Stay tuned to this blog to see how a few brands are already crafting eye-catching original content and inspiring their customers and followers to do the same.

We recommend exploring the stories and best practices featured here, such as these profiles of some of our ad launch partners:

We look forward to more businesses joining the Instagram community and sharing moments that capture the essence of their brands.

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Instadown: tool for downloading video from Instagram

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Hey agency nerds.

Sometimes you need to get video from an Instagram post. As with all web video, there are lotsa ways to do this. Any temporary file is somewhere on your file system, at the very least. But who wants to dig around their file system? Especially on mobile, where we’re supposedly in a  post-file system world.

(Me. I wanna dig around file systems. But I’m an exception.)

If you’re like most agencies, you wanna point, point, click.

So here ya go. Instadown.com. You just enter the URL of the Instagram video you want to download, give it a second, and it returns a local .mp4 to you. From there you can edit/upload to wherever you want.

FYI, these types of tools tends to come and go. Especially when they’re free and hosted. But the service they perform tends to stick around. Even if Instadown goes away, it’ll be replaced by other services just like it.

A common agency use-case for this tool is using Instagram video and Tumblr. Currently Instagram videos preview as a blank, black box. This is bad all around. But if you extract the video from Instagram and manually upload using Tumblr’s video hosting, the same video will preview nicely. 

#neveragain

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(Tumblr Dashboard readers: this is just an image of how Instagram videos look to demonstrate why you’d want to manually extract + upload an Instagram video using Tumblr’s native video hosting. Do not try to click-to-play. Nothing will happen.)

Still hungry?

Tumblr for Brands LinkedIn Group
@bluechoochoo on twitter

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New Instagram Ads

We want these ads to be enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favorite magazine.”

David Karp taught you.

instagram:

Over the past three years we’ve watched with amazement as Instagram has grown to a global community of more than 150 million people capturing and sharing the world’s moments. Instagram is a place where people come to connect and be inspired, and our focus with every product we build is keeping it this way.

We have big ideas for the future, and part of making them happen is building Instagram into a sustainable business. In the next couple months, you may begin seeing an occasional ad in your Instagram feed if you’re in the United States. Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow. We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community. 

Our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands. After all, our team doesn’t just build Instagram, we use it each and every day. We want these ads to be enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favorite magazine. 

We’ll also make sure you have control. If you see an ad you don’t like, you’ll be able to hide it and provide feedback about what didn’t feel right. We’re relying on your input to help us continually improve the Instagram experience.

As always, you own your own photos and videos. The introduction of advertising won’t change this.

Thanks for listening, and stay tuned for more details. We’re excited to continue building Instagram alongside this inspiring community.

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You can now add pre-recorded/produced video to Instagram

Import Video from Library

IMPORT VIDEO FROM LIBRARY.

In other words: pre-recorded video you didn’t necessarily make on your phone.

In other words, you can get really fancy now.

This tutorial on how to access your Mac’s file system from Instagram, written before the video was enabled, might come in handy now.

instagram:

A little over a month ago we launched Video on Instagram, and today we’re happy to bring you our next major app update. We’ve included a few of the most requested features and added something special as well. Here’s what you’ll find in Instagram 4.1:

Import Video from Library
Starting today you can upload videos from your phone’s media library and share those moments to Instagram regardless of when they were captured. Once you select the video clip you’d like to import, you can trim it down to the exact part you like best. We’ve also made it so that you can choose how you square-crop your clip so you can keep the action front and center.

Automatic Straightening for iOS There are few things more distracting than a crooked horizon in a photo. We’re happy to announce that we’ve developed a brand new technology that brings you straight photos instantly. When you take a photo with the in-app camera, you can now tap the new Straighten icon and your photo will correct to be level—it’s that simple. The straightening tool also includes a slider so you can rotate and adjust any photo—including ones imported from your photo library—as much or as little as you’d like.

Video on Instagram for Ice Cream Sandwich We’re excited to expand Video on Instagram to people who use Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Since the launch of Video on Instagram this has been the Android community’s number-one request, and we’re excited to see this community grow.

To learn more about Instagram 4.1, check out the Instagram Help Center.

Instagram for iOS version 4.1 is currently available for download in Apple’s App Store and Instagram for Android version 4.1 is now available on Google Play.

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Introducing Instagram Web Embeds

Oh, we’ve met. Many times.

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instagram:

Today, we’re excited to introduce web embedding for Instagram content and bring you an easy way to add Instagram photos and videos to the stories you want to tell.

Now, when you visit an Instagram photo or video page on your desktop web browser, you’ll see a new share button on the right side of your photo (just under the comments button). Click the button to see the embed code. Copy the block of text it gives you and paste it into your blog, website or article. When you hit publish, the photo or video will appear.

As always, you own your photos and videos, and we want to make sure that’s understood no matter where your content appears. Whether you want to embed your video on your blog or a friend wants to feature your photo on a website, everyone will clearly see that your content belongs to you. Your embedded photo or video appears with your Instagram username, and clicking on the Instagram logo will take people to your page on Instagram.com where they can discover more of your photos and videos.

Is your content private? Then nothing has changed. Embed code is only available to those whose photos and videos are public.

For more information about web embedding, check out the Instagram Help Center.

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new Instagram video stuff.
notes for brands and agency nerds:

  • custom thumbnails (like you can do with YouTube)
  • slightly more nonlinear editing than Vine (you can throw out a shot)
  • 15 seconds (eh. i actually think this will be a little confusing for agencies, makes you consider just doing “regular” video)
  • no loops
  • can’t watch videos on twitter (instagram’s fault), still won’t find your twitter social graph (twitter’s fault)
  • poor integration with tumblr. it smoothly cross-posts as it did previously, but you can’t watch the video “on tumblr,” You gotta click over to Instagram to watch the video. (Compare with Vine, which lets you watch its video *on tumblr* like you can with YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
  • IG videos have no embedding capability (Vine does). so putting your IG videos on your self-hosted “money” site is way harder w/IG video than Vine.
  • IG videos play nicely in-line in a Facebook newsfeed. (Vine videos do not)

instagram:

Introducing Video on Instagram

Over the past two and a half years, Instagram has become a community where you can capture and share the world’s moments simply and beautifully. Some moments, however, need more than a static image to come to life. Until now these stories have been missing from Instagram.

Today, we’re thrilled to introduce Video on Instagram and bring you another way to share your stories. When you go to take a photo on Instagram, you’ll now see a movie camera icon. Tap it to enter video mode, where you can take up to fifteen seconds of video through the Instagram camera.

You’ll also find that we’ve added thirteen filters built specifically for video so you can keep sharing beautiful content on Instagram. When you post a video, you’ll also be able to select your favorite scene from what you’ve recorded as your cover image so your videos are beautiful even when they’re not playing.

We’re excited to see what the community will bring to video, whether it’s your local cafe showing you just how they made your latte art this morning or an Instagrammer on the other side of the world taking you on a tour of their city, a mother sharing her joys in parenting as her children laugh and play or your favorite athlete taking you behind the scenes.

So what does this mean for your content? Nothing’s different from photos. We’re still committed to making sure you have control over all of your content. Only the people who you let see your photos will be able to see your videos. And as with photos, you own your videos. You can learn more about Video on Instagram—including our new Cinema feature—by visiting the Instagram Help Center.

We can’t wait to see what you’ll create.

Kevin Systrom

Co-founder, Instagram

Instagram for iOS version 4.0 is currently available for download in Apple’s App Store and Instagram for Android version 4.0 is now available on Google Play.

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Mass Instagram account deletions + the inevitable accompanying hoax

Summary:  Many people had their Instagram accounts disabled today May 23rd. But even more played a game of telephone based off of misinformation and a viral hoax that spread across at least five social platforms with instructions on how to ward off the account deletion happening to you. Based off of social chatter, accounts appear to be getting restored without user-intervention, but it’s happening in waves, and not everybody is restored yet.

As of 11PM 7AM 9AM pacific, May 24, Instagram has yet to make official public statement, though they have privately responded to at least one person.

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[update: Instagram spokesperson responded to Buzzfeed privately, assured problem was temporary. Still not clarifying what happened.]

Events as they unfolded (in my mind).

The worst hoaxes are based on a bit of reality.

There’s was/is a bit of chatter on Tumblr, YouTube, Twtter, Facebook, aaaaand Instagram this afternoon/evening about mass-account deletions on Instagram.

Some folks said their account was “disabled,” some said “deleted.”

The inconsistency made me pause. Not that we all have to use the same language, we are all special snowflakes, but computer-generated messages and dialogs are consistent, and when you see them first-hand, you tend to repeat them verbatim.

Plus, freaky they’re-gonna-shut-down-Facebook hoaxes pulse through social platforms with some regularity. 

In other words, I suspected a hoax.

The case for the hoax?

#dontdeletemyaccount (and variations) spread throughout Instagram, and leaked onto Twitter and Tumblr, accompanied by some shady “official” messages.

(screenshot of statigram Instagram SERP for #dontdeletemyaccount below)

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#sideeye

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Not that you needed to be CSI: Instagram to figure this out.

Tumblr was onto it.

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That said, lots of people who complained about getting their Instagram deleted, immediately made new Instagram usernames, with only a few (new) photos.

That’s a lot of work to perpetuate a hoax.

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Plus some people weren’t including a call-to-action in their account of getting disabled. (A critical part of hoaxy opportunism.)

And people were making YouTube videos.

I started to think there was some legit issue.

Facebook:

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(Bing social SERP result) 

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Tumblr:

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Twitter:

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Both MarketingLand and 9to5mac covered the story, but neither had a definitive interpretation of events. We were all going off of social chatter.

[Update: 9to5mac is reporting some users saying they’re accounts have been restored.]

Given that Instagram responded (privately) to somebody from CNBC, it’s certain that there was a legit issue.

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I’m sure we can expect all accounts to be restored soon, in addition to an official statement.

In the meantime:

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