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Hip to be Rectangle? Can Instagram’s Landscape and Portrait Orientation Formats Help Marketers?

InstagramA couple weeks ago, Instagram announced a bold shift to allow users to post landscape and portrait-oriented photos in addition to square photos. The company that patterned their photo style similarly to the Polaroid pictures of the past, will now support photos and videos with a wider or longer viewpoint. This is a major move for a social media platform that has built their identity around square pictures and has elevated it to such an art form that Apple created a square shooting option for the iPhone camera.

As you might expect, reviews about Instagram’s newest offering are mixed. A major detractor, according to critics, is the potential loss of Instagram’s “cool” factor. Part of what made Instagram unique, aside from the filters, is the square orientation. It forced brands to develop creative ways to present themselves to gain an advantage on the platform. A little bit of that will be lost with this move.

However, what may be gained with the move is a closer integration between Instagram and its parent company Facebook. Currently, Instagram only runs ads from a select group of companies. The move to accept photos of all orientations, coincides with a move to accept ads from all companies. Facebook will soon be able to provide advertising packages that include both them and Instagram, which will increase Instagram’s revenues dramatically. According to an analyst note from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Instagram is estimated to make $300 million in 2016.  

Using the Instagram’s new landscape feature is effortlessly simple. When users upload a photo or video to Instagram, a new format icon will appear in the bottom left corner of the screen. When users tap the icon, they will be able to adjust their image orientation to either portrait or landscape.  From there, the image is posted in the orientation of their choosing.  

The move provides the following benefits to marketers:

  1. The ability to post landscape videos is particularly exciting as it will give them a more cinematic affect. In a less ballyhooed, but equally important development, Instagram’s filters can now be applied to video. The combination of the two new features make Instagram an even greater tool for marketers who use video, which should be all of us.
  2. Pictures and videos will be viewed as they were intended. As mentioned before, Instagram elevated the square photo to an art form. However, the art form required a great deal of adjustment by designers and photographers. Now, all pictures are applicable to Instagram.
  3. Branding campaigns can seamlessly transition across platforms. Companies may now use their brand images for all platforms. This helps to maintain a consistent message.

Absolute Marketing Solutions has an Instagram account and we post images in all orientations. To get a behind the scenes look at the daily adventures of the Absolute crew, visit us at

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Absolute Marketing Solutions is a digital agency with 15 years of experience working with responsive websites and mobile applications.

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