Now that Instagram has finally launched an Android app (thereby upsetting all the iPhone users who are used to exclusivity) I’ve been able to finally have a play and figure out what all the fuss is about. Fair enough. It’s a great app for those who lap up anything related to visual eye candy and, so far at least, it’s entirely free of ads or ‘sponsored stories’ (i.e. other ads).
Now that it’s been bought by Facebook, that could change of course, but for now at least it’s still worth a look.
One thing that’s always made Instagram a little different to other mobile apps is that there’s nothing much on the Instagram website that provides the functions of the app – no way to view your network’s photos or edit your own photos. It’s all very much down to the app itself.
Why not just use the mobile app?
For me, as a New Zealand mobile internet users, using only my mobile to access Instagram is a bit of a problem. Like you perhaps, I’m on a sucky data plan (mine gives me 150mb of traffic a month plus 1gb of national traffic – which basically just means Trade Me). As Instagram is all about displaying or uploading large images, you’ll easily get through a fair chunk of your dataplan in no time, therefore restricting you to only playing around with it when on a wireless network.
The good news is that Instagram do have an API that is available for other developers to do what they like with. For that reason, plenty of other people have stepped up to the plate and created their own websites that you can log in to with your Instragram details. Not only do some of these websites let you view your photo-feeds, but they also provide some interesting stats and other features.
I’ve had a quick play around over the past few days and have put together the top 4 websites for Instagram lovers.
Statigram is an Instagram webviewer with a heap of extra features crammed into it. It’s easy to get started – just log in with your Instagram details – and you’ll find your way around in no time. You’ll also get your own vanity URL, like mine: http://statigr.am/marklincoln.
As well as the standard webviewer features that include viewing your friend’s photos, adding comments and likes, and even a ‘repost’ function similar to Pinterest’s ‘repin’, Statigram gives you plenty of statistics that include standard stuff like number of likes and number of comments, but also some cool percentage ‘scores’ for things like:
- Love Rate – a score based on likes
- Talk Rate – a score based on comments
- Spread Rate – a score based on likes received from people who don’t actually follow you directly
For serious Instragram users looking to get more interactions and more followers, there’s a host of optimisation tips personalised for your account. View your posting habits and compare these with the times that your community interacts the most, find out which tags are getting you the most views and find out which are the top tags used on Instagram (e.g. food, love, cute, smile, bored, etc.), and more.
Another cool feature of Statigram are the Snapshots. Snapshots are dynamically created images of your Instagram statistics that you can share with others. This may only provide a few minutes of amusement but it’s nice to easily see your most popular photos and check out which Igers (Instagramers) you interact with the most.
Statigram has some bonus features for your Facebook Profile or Facebook Page. You can add a feed of your Instagram photos to your Facebook Page (which will look like this), create a timeline box of your activity or quickly create a Facebook Cover Photo based on a collage of your Instagram photos. If I still have that loaded for my own account (I get bored easily) it looks something like this.
Finally, Statigram also hosts its own contents on Instagram where you can win real prizes – although these can be a little biased to overseas participants (share your best Ohio memory, share your photos of Rome, etc.).
Gramfeed is another website that acts as a webviewer for Instragram .Like Statigram, you’ll also get your own vanity URL of the format www.gramfeed.com/marklincoln.
Unlike Statigram, Gramfeed tends to stick to the core elements of Instagram – simply viewing a feed of your friend’s photos, checking out the popular photos, etc. You can also give a photo likes and add comments.
On top of this, Gramfeed displays an interactive map showing all photos that have location-based information. Quite a nice feature for those taking photos while on holiday.
In a nutshell, Instacanvas allows others to purchase your photos online. The photos are printed onto canvas and delivered to the customer. Everything’s taken care of by Instacanvas who, obviously, take a share of the revenue.
You’re given the ability to choose which of your photos make it into your gallery for sale and can view statistics on views, sales, earnings, and the like.
As the ‘artist’, you receive 20% of the sale price for each item sold, as shown in the following table (in US dollars and current as of May 2012):
Obviously there’s a reasonably good chance you’ll only make money from this if you’re either a) a very popular photographer or b) you do a heap of work to help promote your own gallery (like OMG check out these amazing photos! I’d so buy all of them!). Plus their terms and conditions page is both difficult to find and very very long, which is always a worry.
But, hey. Maybe give it a go. Who knows, you could be a hugely successful mobile phone photographer and not even know it yet.
Nope, I didn’t just fall asleep on the keyboard, ifttt stands for ‘if this then that’. It’s a brilliant tool that allows you to automatically perform actions based on other actions.
I’m cheating a bit as, unlike the other websites here, ifttt isn’t just about Instagram, but it’s a really cool tool for Instragram users that deserves your attention.
Basically, you can use ifttt to set up a bunch of tasks. These tasks are based on triggers which can be pretty much anything related to pretty much any online serivce.For example, you could set up a task that says “If I’m tagged in a photo on Facebook, post a Twitter update that says ‘OMFG look at me! LOOK AT ME!!’ with a link to the photo.” Handy huh?
Because ifttt can connect to Instragram, it’s a great way to either:
- Back up your nicely filtered Instagram photos
- Shae your Instragram photos on other services
Again, because of my crappy data plan on my phone, I cringe whenever I have to upload photos to the web. And yet I don’t want all my photos to be stored on my phone in case I lose them and I’d rather than a better way to access them online instead of just using Instragram.
So I have a couple of ifttt rules set up so that whenever I upload a photo to Instragram, it also adds the photo to an album on Facebook called “Instagram Photos” and at the same time adds the image file to a private folder on Dropbox. Because these secondary actions take place online instead of from my phone, I only ever upload the file once. Nice huh?
ifttt can do a heap of other stuff as well. Check it out at ifttt.com.
Know of any other good websites for Instagram users? Share them in the comments below.