Instagram has been one of the fastest growing and developing apps since its launch in 2010. The app itself hasn’t changed much in its core purpose, but there have been small but impactful developments over the years.
We’re going to be going through the evolution of the app and how it’s become one of the most powerful social media networks, as well as how you can be utilising Instagram for your business.
The evolution of Instagram
Instagram launched as a mobile photo-sharing social media platform in October 2010. The app allowed users to share square shaped pictures onto their profiles. Users were also able to edit their images with a selection of filters including, X-Pro II, Earlybird, 1975 and more, which was the key difference to other media sharing apps. After just 2 months from launch, the app had over 1million active users, with more joining by the day.
A couple of years later, in 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for over $1 billion, even with the risk that Instagram had no revenue coming in. The app continued to build up in popularity and within just a few more months the app reached 80 million users. At this point, it was clear that this app wasn’t disappearing anytime soon.
To help create revenue out of Instagram, Facebook launched sponsored posts in 2013, to allow brands to advertise on the platform and help bring in revenue for the app. These sponsored posts can be created through Facebook’s Business Manager system, which now has many different styles of campaigns available to run. Prior to this, the only way to advertise on the platform was to do it organically, which is a far less targeted method.
After a few more filter updates and general system style updates, Instagram started to release in-app features and external apps to continue developing the programme to keep up with competitors.
For example, Boomerang is one of their most popular external apps which is neither a photo nor a gif. It’s a burst of photos, which are then compiled into a short video clip that goes forward and back in reverse.
Within the app, they more recently launched Instagram Stories, where you can add photos or video clips that only stay up for 24hrs, or you can even stream live video. Not far different to what you can do on rival apps like Snapchat.
It was announced just towards the end of 2016 that Instagram had reached over 600million users on its system. Making it one of the most popular social media apps out there, for both personal and brand use.
How brands can be utilising Instagram
As Instagram is one of the top social platforms, it’s important for brands to be utilising it for their own benefit. Some brands may not fit into the use of Instagram, for example, some public services like law firms or non-visual brands. As Instagram is all about visuals, it’s the perfect platform for creative industries and brands.
Don’t expect to get conversions on Instagram, it is much more of a brand awareness platform, with the potential to bring in conversions. As you’re unable to link directly back to products featured in shots, it’s difficult to directly drive traffic organically. They are drip launching an in-app shopping experience which currently, is only available for larger established brands. However, they are slowly allowing slightly smaller but still recognised brands. The other option to drive traffic is through Instagram stories, as you can add links in that if people swipe up, they can be directed to them.
If you’re a fashion brand, we’ve got an even more in-depth blog post about how fashion brands can succeed on the platform.
The future for Instagram
The future is looking bright for Instagram, with its ever tactical improvements, but still keeping to a similar version of their original app. Its revenues are heard to just keep going up and up, along with the users. I’m just wondering what their next venture may be!