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Upload errors for Instagram posts
Upload errors for Instagram posts
Naomi Gaeng avatar
Written by Naomi Gaeng
Updated over a week ago

Upload errors are quite common with Instagram unfortunately, and we can't definitively say what the cause is (because we don't know what goes on at Instagram's end). Below is our observations about accounts that cause or get more errors than others.

Also keep in mind that the recommendations below are also best practice for using Instagram – e.g. don't spam the heck out of your followers. Please remember that Sked Social is here to make your life easy, but is not to fill Instagram (and particularly users' Instagram feeds) with rubbish low-quality content.

This issue can be caused by a very wide range of issues, many of which are unfortunately out of our control. A few tips and things to check though (with the most common at the top):

  1. Are you using Photoshop to edit photos before uploading them?

    Photoshop has a habit of saving additional "metadata" or information with photos when you edit them (e.g. to preserve the ability to edit layers, or colour profiles). This often doesn't cause many problems as internet browsers (etc) ignore this information, but IG is very particular about it. The problem occurs when you use "Save" or "Save as" when saving your image to a JPG -- this will save the additional information.

    Photoshop provides another option under the File menu "Save for Web & Devices" which will save a standards-compliant JPG that should not give you any errors. You can read more about the settings we recommend you use when you are saving images out of photo editing software here.

    Try uploading your original image (before you uploaded it to Sked) to this tool, which will show you any embedded metadata. The kind of information we typically see includes embedded thumbnails, IPTC data, APP14 data or EXIF metadata (including comments etc). The purely 'descriptive' information like the file type and image size are of course okay and will be there for every image.

  2. Was it related to your password, or a verification required screen?

    Check the screenshot you received by email – maybe it was that the account's password was wrong or that there was a verification required screen (see here). Look at those support articles for more information and the fix.

  3. Is this image original content?

    Instagram is designed for original content, not stuff you're grabbing from other accounts (with or without attribution) or from sites like Reddit or Tumblr.

    We have seem some types of images that are commonly repeated or that have had their quality significantly degraded by people screenshotting them over and over again have higher error rates than original content created by your brand.

    While every account does vary in this context, this is one of the things that we believe contributes to these types of errors - Instagram is all about quality, original content - not just reposting stuff you found elsewhere.

  4. Is this a new IG account?

    Instagram can have problems with our service if you have a brand new IG account and you're posting frequently - it seems to trip their spam filters.

    Even smaller-but-established accounts can experience the problem. If you have a new account or one with very few followers and you get this error, we recommend you post a few photos yourself the "normal way" (on your phone, actual photos from the phone/tablet camera not uploaded graphics) and then try again.

    Also see (9) -- new IG accounts often have post frequency problems so you likely need to "warm up" the account first.

  5. Is the image full of text?

    We also see this problem more frequently when images have a lot of text on them -- while we can't speak for Instagram, it could be that they're starting to apply a similar kind of filter to Facebook when they had an "images should be no more than 20% text" rule.

    Many businesses use images with a lot of text (for good or bad -- keep in mind most IG users have zero text on their images, so you're already quite different even if you have one word!).

    If you're seeing this problem and your image has a lot of text on it, this could be the cause. Try re-posting the image and seeing if it works -- sometimes it will spontaneously resolve, but other times it will consistently fail :( but it seems to be on IG's end.

  6. Is the image a "product shot"?

    Images that are obviously product photos (with a single thing in the middle on a white background) seem to also sometimes cause problems. Same deal as with (2) -- we think this could be an IG anti-spam feature. Similarly, try the post again but if it consistently fails we can't do much :(

  7. Have you posted this image or caption before?

    Posting the same image or caption again and again is spam. There is little question about that -- your followers (/other IG users) aren't really interested in seeing the same thing again and again.

    IG is starting to wake up to this it seems, and so if you are posting the same image and/or caption over and over again, expect things to get harder. Also, expect to annoy your followers, which is always a bad thing.

  8. What's the caption like?

    Longer captions more commonly cause problems with Instagram. Remember that the "everyday user" never types long your 2,000 character caption is quite out of the ordinary.

    Please also see this article about caption length, which also explains that complex character languages like Arabic need to maintain even shorter captions.

    Similarly, if you're packing it with tons of hashtags you can get hit by the filter -- even less than the maximum of 30, you can still have problems. Remember to ask yourself if the hashtags are relevant to the image -- if not, you increase the probability of being flagged as a spam account (because that's what you're doing...) either by IG or by other IG users reporting the image(s).

  9. How often are you posting?

    We don't allow you to post more than once every 15 minutes. Just because you can post every 20 minutes throughout the whole day does not mean that you should. Accounts doing this are likely spamming, regardless of what posting -- and the "everyday IG user" most certainly does not do this.

    This is particularly the case with new accounts -- if you think about the average new user's first week, they're definitely not posting every 20 minutes, or even every hour -- they might post 3-5 things in the first week and then potentially post more and more from that point. So with new accounts, don't go overboard.

Remember that when it comes to Instagram, less is more. Posting a huge number of images might work well for you in the short term, but is most definitely not a long-term strategy as it annoys users, and is likely to end up being flagged as spam (correctly or incorrectly, it doesn't matter).

If you're consistently getting this error, please do drop us a line and we'll have a look into what is causing the issue.

Our "best practice" advice is to keep to no more than 4-5 posts a day -- while this might seem like very few, it's what most of the big brands do on IG, and for the reasons above it means you're less likely to experience problems.

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