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Things have changed We’re in the process of updating the techniques in this blog post – until then, take a look at a new method for adding Instagram images in our forums.
Oops! Outlook 2007+ does not correctly resize images. We’re looking towards improving how RSS images are resized, so we’ll update this post if we include a workaround for this issue.

Wish you could automatically share happy snaps from an Instagram account with your subscribers? Or just want to brighten your newsletters with #selfies, #fog or #food? Using RSS-to-email and Statigram, it’s possible to pull a feed of photos into your email content – here’s how.

Bringing Instagram to the inbox is an itch I’ve wanted to scratch for a while now – admittedly, I’m an Instagram tragic, to the point where no entree or outing can go unrecorded. So, the idea of being able to share heavily-filtered moments via email is something I find downright irresistible.

Instagram in email

For the longest time, the issue that has prevented senders from automatically pulling in photos has been that Instagram doesn’t provide an RSS feed for either accounts or hashtags. Enter Statigram, a free-to-use service that hits both birds – using its feeds, you can pull in images, descriptions and a link to the image (hosted on Statigram), then plonk them into your templates.

Getting an RSS feed for an account or hashtag

Statigram provides two feed URLs for accounts and hashtags respectively, in the following format:

(eg. http://statigr.am/feed/chrome_industries)

(eg. http://statigr.am/tagFeed/fog)

These URLs work just as effectively in an RSS reader as they do in your email campaigns. Now we’ve got our content, let’s move on to placing it in an email campaign.

Using Instagram photos in a recurring email campaign

We’ll start with adding photos to recurring RSS campaigns first, as it’s by far the easiest way to ensure images get pulled into your email templates. It’s also a good option if you want to share your photos automatically and on a regular basis.

To get started, create a new campaign and select “Recurring RSS Campaign” when prompted. Then, simply add the feed URL under “Start with the website’s address” and voila, the most recent photos should get pulled in.

Instagram photos in a recurring campaign

Keep in mind that if there are no new photos taken during the daily/weekly/monthly time period between recurring campaigns, a campaign will not send.

Now we’ve shown you how to drive auto let’s pull in content using our RSS template tags.

Using Instagram photos with one-click content

If you’re feeling crafty with code, it’s a fairly simple task to add an RSS content section to an email template and take advantage of our one-click content functionality. Here’s an abridged snippet from our example campaign, featuring our template tags:

<datarepeater type="rss" src="http://statigr.am/feed/chrome_industries">

   <layout label="Instagram picture" />


      <p>Posted by <rssauthor></rssauthor> on <rssitemday></rssitemday> <rssitemmonthname></rssitemmonthname>, <rssitemyear></rssitemyear></p>

      <rssimage width="300"></rssimage>
      <rssbody paragraphs="all"></rssbody>



If all goes to plan, you should be able to pull in the Statigram RSS feed via our email editor:

RSS feed in email

One-click content is a great way to rapidly add photos to an email campaign. For example, you might want to add candid Instagram shots that your customers took at a recent event, or highlight your own Instagram account. You can also filter which photos you like and don’t like from within the email editor, too.

So, that’s the skinny of using an RSS feed of your Instagram photos in your email campaigns. We’re well excited to see how you jazz up your campaigns using social media, so if you add content to your campaigns using this technique and are proud of the results, be sure to post an example campaign in the comments below. Happy snapping, all!

  • Liam O’Leary

    Hmmm interesting. I might have to have a play with this one :-)

  • DbaiG

    Exciting news for technology lovers! Instagram is on the top of the list for sharing pictures and video but the only itchy thing was how to pull a feed of photos in email content. Ros, thanks for sharing!

  • Peter Collins

    I’ve just been trying to make this work but for some reason the images refuse to resize and stay at their full Instagram size. I’ve tried resizing them in the <rssimage width=”180″></rssimage> (to 180px).

    Is anyone having the same issue? This is the first time using the RSS to Email code so I’d hoped that you can resize or even crop images to different dimensions. Is that not the case?

    Any help greatly appreciated. It’s late now… perhaps fresh eyes will make it work in the morning! If I can get it working, this will be a great way of showcasing local photos (I’m using it for a local community group), so thanks for sharing.

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi there Peter, thank you so much for your patience with us here while we’ve investigated this resizing glitch in Outlook. I’ve determined that the issue at hand here is that you need to explicitly define width and height as HTML attributes in order to resize images properly in Outlook 2007+. These email clients don’t respect the CSS width and height properties when applied to images. In addition, overflow: hidden isn’t supported, which has resulted in layout issues for some of our customers.

    We’re currently in the process of looking at how we can improve resizing of RSS images, so I’ve recommended that we add an additional “height” attribute. In the future, I really hope that we can define RSS image proportions like so…

    <rssimage width=”173″ height=”173″>

    … which will fix the image resizing issues in Outlook. Until then, importing and resizing RSS images in Outlook 2007+ may not be possible, I’m sorry to say. I’ll update this post to mention the image resize issue in Outlook, plus get our support team across why this is happening.

    We’re really very sorry for not picking up this resizing issue earlier, Peter – it really slipped past me when I was testing RSS images in email. As soon as we come up with a suitable fix to this issue, we’ll be sure to let you know.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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