What Happened: Instagram recently debuted Layout, a standalone mobile application designed to create photo collages. Layout allows users to easily combine multiple photos into a single image before sharing the image on social channels (ideally, of course, on Instagram). Layout also includes a feature called Photo Booth – likely to capitalize on the selfie craze – that snaps four quick-succession shots from the iPhone’s front-facing camera (the Android app is set to appear in “the coming months”). In August, Instagram launched Hyperlapse, a time-lapse video app. Now, the three apps (Instagram, Hyperlapse and Layout) complement one another to help create a wide range of content.
What This Means for Brands: Photo collage apps aren’t new. However, Layout has several key differences. First, it emphasizes ease of use and a simple design – other apps add stickers, filters and support for video. Layout also lets users choose photos from their camera roll without specifying a template, so as a user chooses pictures, the app shows what the photos would look like in a variety of templates, allowing people to experiment without being stuck in a predetermined grid. Last, and arguably most important, Layout’s collages are borderless. Layout helps users design photo creations that seamlessly blend imagery to create something new and interesting (for example, this collage from Shutterfly). For content marketers, Layout offers another layer to their visual storytelling. In fact, Instagram found that roughly 20 percent of its users were sharing photo collages, and now Layout provides users with a new way to catch the attention of their audience.