Instagram appeared in October 2010. Over the past ten years, its purchase has become one of the most significant transactions in history, and development does not stop today. The number of users, reach, advertising budgets are growing. The company that was bought for $ 1 billion is now worth 100 times more. We tell the story of a social network from its foundation to the present day.
How Instagram came to be
The app was created by the developers Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. One day, they decided to refocus their Burbn project and create a mobile photography app out of it. They wanted the user to be able to share, like, and comment on the photos. And for interaction, you will need a minimum number of actions from a person.
So, on October 6, 2010, their application appeared in the App Store, which was called Instagram. Within the first week it was downloaded 100,000 times. And by mid-December, the number of users had grown to one million.
It is believed that the launch of the application was associated with the release of the new iPhone 4. The Apple smartphone received a better camera and was released in the summer of 2010.
It took Instagram only six months to attract the attention of investors and leading companies. Among them were Twitter and Facebook. The project received good funding, but the founders of Instagram decided to keep the small team. In total, no more than 20 people worked on the application.
The first changes appeared in January 2011. Then hashtags appeared in the application. This was done to make it easier for people to find users and photos. And a few months later, they released version 2.0 of the application. There have been many more updates already. For example, new filters. Among them are live, instant tilt change, high-resolution photos, optional borders, one-click rotate and an updated icon.
Instagram during its existence has also acquired many myths. We described the main ones in our other article.
Facebook Purchase: One of the Biggest Deals Ever
On April 9, 2012, Facebook announced that it was buying the Instagram mobile application for $ 1 billion. The deal was formalized, paid for in cash and shares. True, some of them soon fell in price and later the deal was already estimated at $ 715 million. This purchase became huge news in the world of technology and digital. Previously, Facebook bought other companies, but most often the amount of transactions did not exceed $ 100 million.
Among the main conditions of the deal was that the company had to remain independently managed. And the head of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, said that they will use all the capabilities of Facebook. Including financial and personnel. This is necessary for the rapid development of the site.
As a result, Zuckerberg benefited from this deal. For example, four years later, in August 2016, a new issue of Forbes came out. On its cover was Kevin Systrom, and the text about the application said that the cost of Instagram is now $ 50 billion. Over the past time, this value has grown, because the social network is actively growing and developing. For example, in 2018, analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence estimated the value of Instagram at $ 100 billion. This is on condition that he remained a separate company.
Getting Started with Facebook and Launching Major Updates
A few days after the Facebook deal, the long-awaited version of Instagram for the Android platform came out. In the first day, it was downloaded by more than one million users. And in June 2012, update 2.5.0 was released. It has tighter integration with Facebook.
The next major update to the app took place in April 2013, exactly one year after it was purchased. Among the main innovations is the appearance of marks. Users were able to mark themselves, their friends, places of interest, as well as famous brands in their photos. In addition, it was possible to customize the notification system for new marks. For example, make them private.
And in June of the same year, Instagram finally got the opportunity to record and publish videos up to 15 seconds long. 2013 ended with the fact that Instagram received a version for Windows Phone 8. And also launched a messaging service – Direct.
Advertising and work with brands
Active work with brands and advertising began in 2015. Then Instagram added the ability for brands to create photo galleries and send users to their site. To do this, we created a button “Learn more”.
On September 30, 2015, sponsored posts appeared containing videos up to 30 seconds long.
Today, Instagram ads are an integral part of the marketing budgets of almost all companies and brands. For example, a quarter of all Facebook ad revenue comes from Instagram. And this year, Instagram’s share is expected to grow to 30%.
To understand, the potential advertising reach on Instagram is 849.3 million people. More than two million accounts publish ads on social networks every month. US marketers spend 69% of their budget on Instagram influencers.
In 2020, the social network will earn $ 12.32 billion from advertising. A year ago, this figure was $ 9.08 billion. And at the end of 2019, Forbes magazine for the first time compiled a rating of Russian bloggers making money from advertising on Instagram. So, in the first place was TV presenter Ksenia Sobchak. Her income is $ 1.6 million a year. The second place went to TV presenter Regina Todorenko – $ 860 thousand, and the top three was closed by singer Olga Buzova ($ 860 thousand).
New design and change in the operation of application algorithms
In 2016, Instagram got a new design. The application received a new icon and the social network itself has changed. The logo has a new gradient, and the app has a more minimalistic interior design. “When we were working on a new design, we asked colleagues to reproduce the Instagram logo from memory in five seconds. The result showed that the vast majority of people drew a rainbow, lens and viewfinder, ”said head of Instagram design Ian Spalter, explaining the process of creating the new logo.
The work of the algorithms has also changed – the user’s feed began to form based on his interests, and not in chronological order. The length of the video has quadrupled from 15 seconds to 60 seconds.
In May 2016, Instagram first saw profile statistics and a new account format – business profiles. And in August, Instagram Stories came out, allowing you to create photos and 15-second videos with text, emoji, and other overlays. And a year later, users with an audience of more than 10,000 subscribers were able to add a direct link to third-party sites to their stories.
Now stories are watched by more than 500 million users every day. And 62% of them say that they are more interested in the brand after watching stories. Thus, Instagram Stories have become an important part of promoting a brand, its products and services. Research shows that 96% of marketers who advertise on Stories plan to do so in the next six months.
Care of Instagram creators
In September 2018, the founders left the company – Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. They did not announce the official reason for their dismissal.
However, a year later, the reputable magazine Wired unearthed the details of this decision. This is a huge investigation based on interviews with 65 current and former employees of the company.
Facebook’s top executives didn’t like Instagram’s rapid growth. And the team of Chris Cox, director of product development at Facebook, prepared a special report. It said that people are more likely to choose Instagram over the company’s main social network. Also, the management did not like the fact that Systrom and Krieger communicate with the press, so Zuckerberg issued an order that the heads of departments cannot give interviews without his approval.
The Facebook creator also did not acknowledge the success of the Instagram team. He kept repeating that their growth was the result of Facebook’s activities. The final point was the addition of a hamburger icon (three horizontal bars that represent the menu) to the Instagram design. It was added when Systrom went on parental leave, and he opposed it all this time. It turned out that the icon was added without his knowledge, and this overflowed the cup of patience. The founders of Instagram left the company eight years after its inception.
Among Instagram’s latest updates before the creators leave is the launch of IGTV, a platform designed for long vertical videos. Users were able to download videos up to an hour in length and watch them directly on Instagram or in a separate IGTV app. And also Instagram launched a tool in the “Your Activity” settings. With it, users can control the time spent on the social network, turn off push messages or set a daily activity limit for themselves in the application.
Life after the departure of the creators
In November 2019, it became known about testing the Scenes function, which allows you to create videos with various editing modes – music overlay, speed selection, timer and AR effects.
Instagram will later confirm the launch of the Reels feature, which will have similar tools. Stories got new features: GIFs, Memories and Postcards. Also added a new mode “Collage”. The interface has received a dark mode, which can be enabled by switching the phone to dark mode.
Marketplaces appeared on Facebook and Instagram in 2020. Brands were also able to sell products via Facebook and Instagram Live.
Instagram announced a change in comment management. Now you can pin important comments, massively delete unnecessary ones and block users who are spamming. Developers started testing Direct on the web version of Instagram.
What’s next for Instagram
Experts are already starting to share predictions about what to expect from Instagram in 2021. Let’s consider the main ones.
First, the growth of stories and their impact will continue. Moreover, stickers and interactive functionality increase the engagement of Instagram users.
Second, the development of e-commerce. Instagram is already actively selling products, but the industry is improving and it is expected that next year it will be possible to buy a product on the social network with a single click.
Third, the fight against TikTok. Instagram has already brought some of the functionality of the service to itself, and next year there will be even more work in this direction.
Fourth, the desktop version will be better. In 2020, it is finally possible to reply to messages from a computer, and more and more business accounts are using Instagram on a PC. In the future, the company will develop this area.
Fifth, the integration with Facebook will continue. Since envy of Zuckerberg and the company’s top management has become one of the main reasons for the departure of the founders of Instagram, over the past two years, the social network has become more integrated with Facebook. Stories, messengers are already being combined, and further such integration will become more noticeable.