It's not uncharted territory: you're on Instagram and you suddenly find yourself drowning in a domain filled with cat pictures, selfies, and sometimes even selfies with cats. The instinctive eye rolling alone from these posts is enough to give any sane human a headache, and knowing there is nothing you can do to stop such egregious social media acts only deepens the pain. Such struggles led A&G to develop Pic Nix, our solution to the growing epidemic of inane Instagram posts.
Pic Nix provides Instagram users with a fun way to anonymously call out their friends for the tired and clichéd photos they shamelessly choose to share with the world. To maneuver around Instagram's policy of only allowing posting from within their app, we built a robot that mimicked human behavior. Pre-populated photos and captions were submitted via PicNix.co, where they were then sent to a custom application that controlled our in-house robot. From there, our robotic crusader constructed a post within the app and published it to the "PicNixer" Instagram account, ultimately calling out the user at fault by tagging them in the post.
Within three days of its unveiling over 1,400 Pic Nix posts were produced from over 109 countries around the world. 53 million media impressions were secured and Pic Nix was covered in leading technology publications like Fast Company, PSFK, The Verge, and Engadget. Instagram unfortunately shut down Pic Nix just a few days after launch.
Our main objective for the campaign was simple: to make Instagram better for those using it. Instagram does not permit third-party apps to post photos, so the Pic Nix robot was really the first of its kind – almost an app within an app. Pic Nix also finally gave Instagram users an anonymous way to combat what they deemed to be poor, uninspired content, a valuable voice not given to their users prior.
In just three days, PicNix.co received more than 6,000 visits from 109 different countries. The top five include:
1. United States
3. United Kingdom
More than half of the cities driving the most traffic were outside of the U.S.:
2. New York
7. Saint Petersburg
8. San Francisco
9. Hong Kong
Our media relations efforts reached an audience of 53.1 million, with outlets including Fast Company, PSFK, The Verge, Engadget, The Daily Dot, and Bloomberg Radio covering Pic Nix. According to our analytics, media coverage drove 46% of site visits, and social media drove an additional 33%.
Just shy of 1,500 posts were submitted – 1,126 were published, and 321 were in the queue when Instagram caught wind of our initiative and shut down the Pic Nix account. We wanted to be viewed as a disruptor – mission accomplished.
We also managed to secure some primary data on what the general public views as the most annoying Instagrams, with selfies winning by a huge margin.
1. Selfie – 38%
2. Food – 8%
3. Vacation – 7%
4. Feed Fatigue – 6%
5. Beer – 5%
6. Cats – 5%
7. Dogs – 4%
8. Sunsets – 4%
9. #TBT – 3%
10. Building – 3%
11. Kids – 3%
12. Feet – 2%
13. Lattes – 2%
14. Nails – 1%
15. Plane – 1%
16. Weather – 1%
Beyond the humanitarian effort to help rid Instagram of clichéd posts, A&G Labs – the innovation unit of agency Allen & Gerritsen – plays in a world linking technology and human behavior. In an effort to never stop learning, we are constantly inventing and creating. This isn't just a fun and exciting solution to a problem. It's a new skillset and knowledge base that we can eventually use in a real-world application for a brand experience on behalf of our clients.
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