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The Photo Sharing Apps to Know Next

Photo sharing has become a vital part of young consumers communication in a relatively short amount of time, and image sharing services are not just feeds of pictures—they are an essential part of their peer interactions, and their self-expression. Our most recent social media tracking survey found that as of September 9th, 58% of Millennials 14-18-years-old and 55% of 19-32-year-olds are using Instagram, and 55% of 14-18-year-olds and 42% of 19-32-year-olds are using Snapchat. We also found that Instagram is second only to Facebook in the ranking of social networks Millennials are actively posting to on a daily basis.

But the space is close to getting crowded. Earlier this week, we asked Millennials if they would download another photo sharing app, and only 17% of 18-24-year-olds said yes. Of course, if the right app caught on, they’d likely jump onboard to keep up with friends—but it is getting harder to get consumers to try new apps in general. The good news is people are spending more time than ever on the apps they already have. The bad news is that 65.5% in the U.S. say they aren’t downloading any new ones in an average month. That means for a new photo sharing app to capture new consumers, they’re going to have to offer something truly unique. But it’s not impossible to grab users even when they think they don’t need another app, if they are being offered something they didn’t know they were missing. Just remember how Instagram stole Hipstamatic’s user base by making photos instantly sharable and making picture taking a social endeavor. The photo sharing app competition is staying hot. Here are five hoping to gain young consumers’ attention by putting a new twist on the formula: 

1. Tiiny

This little app is arguably the most buzzed about recent new photo sharing platform. Tiiny is the first release of a new mobile startup headed by the co-founder of Digg, and its aim is to take the pressure off each individual photo taken so that more are shared with friends. How? Tiiny keeps images small, and instead of a feed presents photos in a grid that shows multiple pics and moving images at once. Borrowing from Snapchat’s successful temporary sharing feature, each photo on Tiiny disappears after just 24 hours, so the grid is constantly changing and the app reportedly feels “vibrant and alive.” 

2. Cap

Cap could be seen as Tiiny’s twin: This app also allows users to share a smaller set of photos in a grid form, and they also disappear after 24 hours. It turns out that Tiiny and Cap’s creators are friends, and clearly one has influenced the other. But Cap, currently testing in beta on Product Hunt, has its own unique features as well. Each of the images in Cap’s grid can be tapped to see a full size picture, and Cap also lets users add emojis and filters over photos to create a more customized sharable item. The app calls itself a “backchannel for fun with your friends,” and is more focused on social sharing and eliminating the race for Likes common on Instagram by keeping those counts private. 

3. Unseen

This app combines the joy of sharing fun photos with the recent trend of anonymity in social networking. Unseen is aimed at college students, and each university has a page on the app. Users take a photo, then can add drawings and icons to the image and upload it onto their school’s page with a caption. Other users can comment on all photos shared. Unseen has reportedly been trending on the college campuses it targets—which we probably don’t have to point out is exactly how Facebook got its start. However, this app’s founders call it the “anti-Facebook” because it aims to eliminate judgment and backlash by keeping the sharer’s identity a secret. It might not be a completely bully-free zone just yet, and TechCrunch’s test run found it “favors sexual content, drugs, and spy shots.” But its young user base could make it very attractive, and Unseen has already raised over $2.1 million in funding. The app is currently censoring inappropriate images in an effort to tame its community. 

4. Cluster

Cluster puts a different privacy spin on sharing images: the app invites users to “share photos and videos too private for Facebook” and makes them accessible only to the individuals that have been invited to view them. Cluster has been around since 2013, but the 2.0 version completely focuses the platform on private group sharing. The new Cluster essentially combines the appeal of small-circle, private chat seen in apps like WhatsApp and Line, and the full-album picture sharing that is currently still relegated to browsers and email. Users can create “spaces” by picking the people they want to share with, and then fill it with photos. The people that have been included in the space can also add their own photos, creating a collaborative album that makes sharing pictures from one event amongst multiple friends and family members a seamless, easy experience.

5. Storehouse

Like Cluster, Storehouse is about sharing more than one photo at a time, and the app wants its users to tell their stories through images. Storehouse was originally a very well reviewed iPad app, but now that it has arrived on the iPhone, it opens itself up to a whole new audience. Users can share up to 50 photos and videos per upload, taking the pressure off each individual shot, and add commentary throughout so that the album becomes a beautifully browse-able visual narrative of a trip, special day, or event. There are no filters involved—everything is as the camera sees it—but the images can be resized and rearranged to create appealing grids. The stories appear to other users in a feed, and each individual story can be clicked on to explore further.