Since its release in June 2017, the Instagram Archive feature has been a hit. A valuable resource for individuals and brands alike, Instagram Archive allows users to create an entirely private gallery of posts they don’t want on their profile but don’t want to delete, either.

Instagram Archive has many uses…besides hiding those old photos of your boyfriend. From cleaning up your account to releasing a new product, check out how your archive can help you up your Instagram marketing game.

What is Instagram Archive?

Instagram Archive is the platform’s alternative to deleting posts. Through a few simple taps, Instagram users can send already-posted images and videos to a separate archive that only they can see.

The Archive feature is handy for a handful (so punny!) of reasons:

  • You can move photos back and forth between your profile and archive very easily.
  • Photos automatically organize themselves in chronological order within your archive, and if you choose to add them back to your profile, they’re reinstated in their original order.
  • Likes and comments aren’t lost on photos moved between your profile and archive. Note: You can’t edit the post (caption, location, etc.) while in the archive, but you can view its comments and likes.
  • Posts in your archive are still included in Instagram Insights analytics.

Instagram also offers an archive of your Instagram Stories. Unlike with posts, Stories are automatically saved in the archive in chronological order (complete with nifty date stamps).

From your Story archive, you can view your Stories, save them to your smartphone, post them as a Highlight on your profile, share them on your profile, or delete them. Note: Live Instagram Stories are visible within your archive, but if you delete them while still live, they’ll also be removed from your archive.

How to Use Your Instagram Archive

For Instagram Posts
Head to your profile. In the top right corner, you’ll see a clock icon with a counter-clockwise arrow. That’s how you access your archive.

instagram archive

To archive a specific image, open the post from your profile. Click on the “…” in the upper right corner. A menu should pop up with the option to Archive at the very top.

instagram archive

This process removes the post from its place on your profile and sends it to your archive.

instagram archive

instagram archive

To unarchive a photo, open it within the archive and tap on the “…” again. That menu should give you an option to Show on Profile.

instagram archive

When you hop back to your profile, you’ll see the image reposted to its original spot.

For Instagram Stories
You can access your Stories archive the same way you access your Posts – through the clock icon in the top right corner of your profile. At the top, if it reads Posts, tap it to pull down the menu.

instagram archive

Tap on Stories to open that archive. From there, you’ll see your saved Stories.

instagram archive

I can’t say for certain how far back yours will go. Mine start on December 18, and I believe that’s when I posted my first Story. (I know, I know, I was late to the IG game.)

To move or delete a Story, open the post. At the bottom, you’ll see who initially viewed your Story and then options to Share and Highlight it. If you tap on the “…” menu, you’ll be able to Delete, Save Photo, or Share as Post… (meaning you can turn the Story into an Instagram post on your profile).

instagram archive

Why did Instagram Add the Archive Feature(s)?

We can assume that Instagram added the Post Archive feature for a few reasons.

Firstly, users have been posting for years about how they’ve wanted an option to hide already-posted photos without deleting them. Instagram listened.

Secondly, Instagram wanted its users to have a private collection of photos in addition to their profile. According to their Archive feature announcement on the Instagram blog, “Your profile is a representation of who you are and evolves with you over time. With Archive, you now have more flexibility to shape your profile while still preserving moments that matter.”

Lastly, Instagram didn’t want users to keep deleting posts that they didn’t like or weren’t performing well – or entire accounts. When Instagram users build a history of posts and engagement on the platform, the company benefits from a broader user base and stronger brand presence. Instagram doesn’t want you to minimize your activity or delete your account altogether, so they rolled out a compromise.

As for the Stories Archive feature, we can assume that Instagram wanted to provide a way for you to save and re-share your “in the moment” photos and videos. The Highlight feature also proves this.

Five Ways to Use Instagram Archive in Your Marketing Strategy

Instagram Archive isn’t just for those old selfies from high school or pictures taken with an ex-boyfriend. There are a variety of ways to incorporate the Archive feature into your Instagram marketing strategy to make your life easier and your content more impactful.

Here are five useful ways to use Instagram Archive as part of your Instagram marketing strategy.

To Hide Old, Irrelevant Content

Have you ever created content around a trending topic or date-specific event? Are any of your posts no longer relevant, whether to your brand aesthetic, target audience, or product line?

Archive ‘em!

Sure, you could just delete them, but then you’d lose access to engagement data and follower comments. Instagram Insights still considers data from posts sent to the archive, meaning that your archive can be the best of both worlds: out from in front of your followers’ eyes but still valuable for metrics and engagement.

Plus, if you end up needing those posts in the future due to a rebrand or product expansion, you won’t have thrown all your hard work – creating the posts and garnering the engagement – in the garbage. You can simply shelve them in your archive for the time being.

To Tuck Away Expired Contests or Giveaways

Due to the new Instagram algorithm (or just bad timing) many followers tend to see contests and giveaways long after they’re over. Instead of having to put “CONTEST OVER” in big, bold letters in your caption – which most people still miss – consider archiving the contests and giveaways that have expired.

Unlike deletion, archiving these posts retains the engagement and comments. If you’ve required users to answer a question or tag a friend in the comments, these can be useful to return to at a later date.

To Reuse Visual Content

Coming up with Instagram content ideas can be tough work. You might find yourself running out of images to use or wanting to reuse a video or GIF for another purpose.

Instagram Archive can help you do that. Simply archive a past post and publish the new one with the same visual content.

Deleting the former post would remove all of the engagement data and comments, so archiving it is a better option in this case. Plus, you can test and see how the two posts compare – you’re using the same image, after all.

To Temporarily Change the Focus of Your Profile

Social media is a valuable platform for drumming up attention and making announcements.

If you’re planning a release of a new product line, service, album, advertisement, or even team member, you can use the Archive feature to your advantage. To further build mystery and hype around an announcement, consider archiving posts that aren’t relevant to your release. This can temporarily change the focus of your profile to the announcement campaign or new product.

Better yet – remove ALL your posts!

That’s what Taylor Swift did in anticipation of her release of “Look What You Made Me Do.” Leaving her 103M fans and followers without any content drove them crazy enough to stay tuned. Her album release was greeted by millions of viewers who were keeping a sharp eye on her empty (archived) account.

instagram archive

Image Source

Archiving some or all of your Instagram posts is a surefire way to alert your audience that something big is in the works without having to delete and undo all of your hard work.

Simply shelve your posts until the campaign is over, then restore them back to their original position. You won’t lose any commentary or Insights data along the way.

To Correct a Mess-up

Some speculate that Instagram released their Archive feature to help brands remove offensive or illegal content while still learning from their mistake.

If your brand posted something deemed offensive or insensitive, you’d, of course, immediately remove the post and issue an apology. But when you delete the post, you also lose the image, caption, and commentary – a.k.a. information that could be valuable in helping you discover where and how you went wrong according to your audience.

Instead, you can archive the offensive post and retain access to the comments (both positive and negative). Your archive allows you to correct a mess-up by removing the image while still being able to conduct research behind the scenes.

Bonus: To Post a Story That Performed Well

Your Instagram Stories Archive automatically saves your posted Stories. This means you don’t have to remember to go back and screenshot or save a Story image or video that performs well with your audience.

If you notice that a specific Story is performing well, whether you received a ton of comments, lots of views, or an excellent poll response, you might consider sharing that Story as a post to your profile. Through the bottom menu, the Stories archive makes it easy to transform each Story into a post. Simply tap Share as Post…, and it’ll move the content into the Instagram photo editor.

Final Thoughts

Instagram Archive walks the line between the temporary and permanent and helps you decide what’s private and public. Whether you’re a high schooler attempting to hide away evidence of that middle school haircut or a Fortune 500 company releasing a new product line, this feature can help.

Don’t be afraid to take your archive for a spin. The worst case scenario is that you’ll simply have to put an image back. No harm, no foul.

Have you utilized Instagram Archive for your business? How has it helped your Instagram marketing strategy? Share with us in the comments below!