Is Vero better than Instagram for landscape photographers? Ever since I first watched Peter McKinnon's earth-shattering video about why he joined Vero, I was immediately interested. I, like many others, have been struggling to break through on social media with my landscape photography for many years, and now that Instagram has become TikTok 2.0, it's become even more challenging (and disheartening).
So, after joining Vero nearly a month and a half ago, I have some thoughts and am here to answer the question: is Vero better than Instagram for landscape photographers?
Let's face it: we've all noticed that our Instagram photos aren't getting as much engagement these days, and our feeds have become pumped with a boatload of reels unrelated to anything or anyone we care about. And yet somehow, we find ourselves sucked into our feed for hours on end until we eventually find our way to a video of someone pushing a colossal chunk of ice off a bridge. When I first heard about Vero, my first question was, is Vero better than Instagram? And my next question was, is Instagram dead?
There have been a lot of recent talks that we are reaching "the end of Instagram," and while it can be exhilarating to speculate about significant changes like that, I don't know if there's a realistic or practical answer. In my opinion, Instagram has gone downhill lately regarding the quality and relevancy of the content shown in my feed, but is it really dying? Well, let's look at some stats:
According to DataReportal.com, Instagram had approximately 1.440 billion users as of July 2022. In my personal experience, I would be willing to guess nearly 10% of those accounts are what we would consider spam, but again, that's just my assumption. I have no data to back that up besides reading a few somewhat unreliable articles online. (For more interesting social media stats, check out this great post).
According to the article above, Instagram's engagement rate was a whopping 0.56% for all business account types. This means that if an average business account has 500 followers, they receive an average of 3 accounts engaging with their posts.
This number is just an average and considers all business accounts (and is highly skewed by the number of spam accounts). Still, for the most part, I can confirm that my engagement rate has dropped significantly in the past two years (I have a business account).
Since its inception in 2010, Instagram has steadily been growing every year and is estimated to reach over 2 billion users by 2023. Now, in my opinion, it is hard to believe that nearly 25% of the world's population will be on Instagram, but I suppose anything is possible.
But according to DataReportal.com's report, Instagram has seen a slight decrease in users over the past few months. I am guessing this has a lot to do with the widely popular movement over to Vero and the fact that everyone I've spoken to regarding Instagram has agreed that "it has gone to sh*t."
But is it still growing? Hard to say. It appears that Meta has recently changed the way they report data, so either they are trying to optimize their data reporting or hide the fact that they are losing users. But again, that is my opinion and should not be taken as fact. Is Vero better than Instagram? Let's first look at Vero before we answer that question.
To answer the question is Vero better than Instagram, we must first talk about Vero and its features. I first created an account about a month and a half ago and was highly pleased with all the exciting new features they offer. To give you a few examples: Vero allows users to share links, share other accounts, share photos and videos in any aspect ratio, use an iPad and Mac app, and even connect with other users more intimately with the connect feature, allowing users to categorize other accounts by relationship and even message and call said users.
Now is as good a time as any to plug my Vero account:
Vero, in my opinion, brings back the community aspect we all knew and loved in a social media app before Instagram became all about ads (right around the time Meta bought them). Vero shows posts chronologically and does not use an algorithm to dictate who sees what. In other words, you can actually see posts from people you follow and vice versa.
The biggest reason I switched to Vero was because of this more robust sense of community. Sure, some on Vero are bringing the Instagram mentality to the app by spam liking everything you post the second you post it in hopes of rapidly growing their following. Still, for the most part, people are genuine in their engagement.
And that brings me to my next point: engagement. My followers actually like and comment on my posts and do so genuinely. I never get any spam comments telling me to "DM us for a feature" or ones promoting free sex, which is basically all I get on Instagram. Additionally, hashtags on Vero actually work and don't cause you to get shadowbanned like on Instagram. So, is Vero better than Instagram? Let's talk about areas in which Vero could improve.
Instagram launched in 2010. Vero, on the other hand, launched in 2015. A lot happens in 5 years regarding technology, and Instagram took advantage of its headstart. As such, Instagram has some features that I've grown to love that Vero is lacking. The main one for me is stories.
After Instagram and Facebook decided to copy Snapchat by adding a stories feature, Instagram stories became a crucial part of my quest for social media engagement and storytelling. Not to mention, Instagram allows users to create and share filters/effects to use in stories, which is a huge selling point for me.
Another critical piece that Vero is lacking is the music side of things. Instagram has made it incredibly easy to add sounds and songs to videos and reels, but Vero has yet to launch a similar feature. This isn't the end of the world, but I can see a need for more licensed music on Vero in the future.
Another area in which Instagram surpasses Vero is the number of users. Nearly all my friends and family are on Instagram, but only a handful are on Vero. I'm slowly convincing others to join, but unlike a cult leader, I like to be clear in my reasoning and give people the pros and cons.
While Vero has a substantially lower number of bots and spam accounts, Instagram is by far the frontrunner and the better place to reach social media stardom (if that's what you're after).
I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram Reels. On the one hand, they are a fun and creative way to share short videos of extraordinary landscapes with others. But on the other hand, Instagram only seems to promote reels that contain mediocre content. If Vero made some feature to compete with reels, they would likely do a much better job promoting genuine engagement than encouraging the widely overdone I'm a photographer, and I took this photo reel. See my post about how to create a viral reel on Instagram for landscape photographers.
So, now that we've learned a bit about Vero and why so many people are upset with Instagram, let's dive into the central question: is Vero better than Instagram? My answer is this: it depends.
If you've gotten this far, you might wonder why you wasted your time to read "it depends," but bear with me for a minute. This question can only have a subjective answer, so let's break it down into two schools of thought.
If you don't care about genuine community building or engagement and want a TikTok-type experience with more reels and ads than you know what to do with, I would say Instagram is better than Vero. Also, if you find yourself seeking cheap thrills and a quick way to rise to the top through trends and thirst traps, Instagram will most likely work better for you. I'm not saying it's impossible to find a community on Instagram, but their recent algorithm updates have made it increasingly difficult.
If you are like me, a (landscape) photographer looking for an easy way to share your work with others who want to see it and engage with it, Vero is better. If you want to be able to share your work without conforming to a standard set of aspect ratios or a small group of post types, Vero will be better for you. If a chronological feed without ads is essential to you, then Vero is king.
So, is Vero better than Instagram for landscape photographers? For me, it is in some ways, and it is not in other ways. I think the best way to combat the Instagram algorithm is to ignore it, don't be discouraged if your followers aren't seeing your content. Instead, keep creating beautiful work and sharing it because the right people will find it sooner or later.
While social media is a great way to share your art with others, it is way too easy to play the comparison game with others and begin to lose your self-esteem. Equating the number of likes to your worth as an artist is very easy. I have done this many times and constantly have to remind myself that art is subjective and it only really matters if I like my work.
My best advice to anyone reading this is don't use social media to measure your talent; use it only to share your talent. I use both Vero and Instagram; both apps have their strengths and weaknesses, but the beauty of competitive markets is that when something better comes along, the others will have to adapt to survive. In other words, I still have hope for Instagram, but for now, Vero is my top choice for sharing my art with others.