Some of you Instagramers may have noticed a flashing ‘new’ sign vying for your attention on the Instagram story icon. Upon clicking it, you get the fluorescent introduction of what that something new is… the Instagram carousel feature!
How Does It Work?
Think of it like a photo album. When you go to post your photo, you will see a layered square button with rounded edges that prompts you to ‘select multiple’ photos (10 maximum). You can then post multiple photos at once with a single caption and location. A carousel post will have 3 blue dots which will signify that it’s a carousel. Click on it, and then swipe through the lot. Check out the video here:
Well, it’s not rolling out this feature only now. Instagram first rolled out its carousel last year (following in the footsteps of social media Sauron: Facebook) specifically for advertising purposes. Back then the carousel was targeted to businesses and contained five photos and later included video… because big brands need more visual real estate than just a single image for sharing their stories. It was also the introduction of clickable links on the platform.
Often it has seemed like Instagram was trailing behind in terms of innovation and if you believed that, you were hoodwinked. Initially it focused on growing its community which it did by learning from its competitors. For example, the reason the platform doesn’t enable linking is so that people stay on the platform and engage with the content instead of driving traffic elsewhere as is the case on other platforms like The Puppetmaster Facebook where you, all too easily, fall down a dark rabbit hole of URL link dominos. It then followed Snapchat’s shining example of stories which help filter out the picture diarrhea your feed is subjected to from serial posters.
The feature is being made available to us mere mortals now because it’s time to pay back those coins Facebook spent acquiring Instagram. The hope is to get users used to swiping and then, with lots of persuasion, the next natural step in the evolution of swiping will be to explore ads and swipe some more, click on ‘learn more’ and then spend. I am usually anti advertising but in this case ads are good because they enable Instagram to remain free, something that has become increasingly valuable to users concerning apps and features. This is part of the strategy to eventually thwart their arch nemesis, Snapchat.
Excited yet? You should be because apparently choosing that picture perfect moment and then agonising over which filter to use is putting pressure on posters. This will help relieve some of that pressure. Still no links for you if you are not a business though. 🙂