Instagram could be facing more challenges than most in the social media segment, as their target market is being eroded from all sides.
Twitter and Facebook have both launched image ‘alt text’ capabilities in different ways recently, helping to make their own images more search visible, while Instagram still relies largely on plain text captions and manual sharing via third-party platforms.
Meanwhile, other sharing services have sprung up that cater for niche needs, ranging from Snapchat’s time-limited snapshots for the security and privacy conscious user, to Pinterest for creating entire mood boards using images from all over the internet.
Perhaps it is no surprise that Instagram have chosen now to restyle their service – stripping back some of the hipster graphics and streamlining the main icon of the website and app to a geometric representation of a camera lens and viewfinder.
The public explanation is that reducing the colours in the site’s own graphics helps to put users’ uploaded images further in the spotlight, as well as creating a more consistent style with Instagram’s other services – Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse.
A blog post from the company said: “The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more – a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.”
However, many users have objected to the change, arguing that the new flat icon lacks the colour and character of its predecessor – and for a brand previously seen as quite hipster, the shift to a rather more corporate ’tile’ effect for its main logo does seem unusual.
The truth may be that Instagram is trying to stand out less within the suite of social media platforms used by many people – becoming one more tool in the kit, rather than being perceived as a third-party website to be used in isolation.