Are archive pages dying out? Or are they just evolving?
Few years back, when UNDISCOVERED was in its infantry, archive pages were flourishing in the space with brands having multiple to choose from. But in the recent year that I’ve looked back, I've seen a lot of them become inactive and appear on my feed much less.
But where did it all go wrong?
If you didn’t know, an archive page is a page that curates posts around a certain topic, in this case, fashion. Topics can vary from things beyond just fashion but also subgenres within fashion such as underground streetwear, grail pieces and even accessories. Clothing brands saw these pages as a good opportunity to market their pieces as a cheaper and more efficient alternative to marketing methods such as Facebook ads. This created a bubble of brands cross-promoting on several archive pages adding to the “underground” community some of you may know.
Since then, from my perspective, this community has died down a bit and I think others feel the same as it’s been expressed by some of you in DM. On the contrary, others felt more mixed about this topic via our community story poll.
Below are my suspicions as to why archive pages have lost ground.
This is no surprise. Instagram has been and probably still is facing an identity crisis. With new updates and changes, Instagram pages struggled to keep up with the algorithm and therefore fell behind or lost motivation. Seeing your numbers tank can understandably be very demoralising, especially when your engagement doesn’t reflect your following count. Whether likes and engagement should be a focus is a separate debate, but what’s not up for debate is that this can affect the image of your page. This can detract brands from wanting to work with you and put you in a negative light where people may see your page as “dead” or even assume you bought followers.
The truth is people on Instagram only like posts they genuinely like and with an archive page, when you post so many pieces with such a varied audience who have different tastes, you’re going to see a lot of fluctuations in engagement. Now top that with Instagram killing reach by adding more/irrelevant content to our home pages, and you get posts which are seen way less by your own followers.
That being said as a result, we’ve seen pages take breaks, completely stop or evolve. One example includes StayGroundead, which expanded more into a news page for the culture. Early followers will remember when we were an archive page before evolving into a blog page. I got no issue admitting the algorithm was part of that change but I’m glad I did it because yes while my engagement has increased tenfolds, I’ve also been able to grow a good community, where there is more opportunity for conversation, and learning, inspiration and overall better exposure for emerging brands which is the main reason I started UNDISCOVERED.
What's the Return
Unless you’re doing it out of love or as a hobby, there isn’t much return for running an archive page. As motivation declines, page owners are left questioning the return on investment of their time. Money or marketing activities can be good motivators but talking from first hand experience, monetising an archive page is difficult. You’re not guaranteed a set amount of interested brands every month and it can heavily change on a regular basis. I think brands have evolved with marketing methods and seeing less value in the typical old archive pages and experimenting with more creative / innovative ideas. Unless you’re at a very large size where you can charge more and get more prospects, it’s hard for a lot of people to justify their time investment for virtually no return.
I think timing was on my side when I joined the archive page wave because it was a hot trend that many people jumped on. As we grew up, we all had our own responsibilities, passions and careers that developed and naturally people would fall off caring for their pages. Combine this point with the previous one and it all makes sense why people break away from managing their pages.
What do you think about the state of archive pages? Are they still going strong or are they dying out? Are they just evolving and adapting to new times and tastes? Let's talk below in the comments.