As the old saying goes, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
Like most of you, I was elated when Instagram announced that we could start posting images with landscape and portrait orientation last August. Before that update, there were so many images posted that had lost their character due to the constraints of a 1:1 box. Skylines lost their breadth and skyscrapers lost their magnitude.
While it’s amazing that Instagram has given us the opportunity to post a more diverse range of imagery, it doesn’t come without drawbacks. Primarily, that our profiles still showcase our posts cropped into perfect squares. As you would imagine, Instagram made this decision to avoid the chaotic and cluttered look many Pinterest and Tumblr pages tend to have.
Here’s how this decision impacted our last few posts:
Why is this a big deal?
At first, we didn’t really think it was. We optimized our images based on how they would appear in a feed. Which made perfect sense. But, the thing we were forgetting was that someone had to be following us already for our images to appear in their feed.
Meaning, the people we we’re trying to attract, non-followers, were the ones seeing unoptimized posts.
To experience this yourself, head to Explore or search for a specific hashtag like in the images below. We're sure that you’ll quickly see images that have been auto-cropped by the app oddly.
While, this certainly isn’t the end of the world, there is no denying that initial reactions matter. Every second of evaluation needed to justify whether or not to click on an image, or hit “follow” once you're on a profile, matters.
So what we’re really talking about is the perception versus reality paradox. Are we losing potential followers due to odd auto-cropping even though the “real” images are done beautifully? We’re not sure, and we’re not sure how to find out, but we wanted to get the conversation started.
We would love to hear your thoughts here. Are we overthinking this because it’s what we do? Or, have you taken a look at someone’s profile and immediately thought that because text or images were cropped oddly that the profile was of low-quality?