In 2010, Instagram launched as a simple photo sharing app and nabbed 100K users in its first week. That’s incredibly impressive but more so the fact that the app hit 1 million users after two months of launching. The following year, they added hashtags to help users find specific photos and people. The hashtag trend made its way across the Internet and it’s still widely used today across social media #winning.
As the years went on, Instagram rolled out many features to enhance the app, such as photo editing tools, business tools (to make it more advertising-friendly), Boomerang and even went on to redesign the app and the Instagram logo. I’m not sure anyone was actually keen on the new design but changes happen and the biggest changes were all about to happen after this.
Old vs New logo
Instagram: the app that does it all
Instagram Stories (Snapchat spin-off)
In June 2016, Instagram announced that it had hit 500 million monthly active users, so it was becoming increasingly popular but they weren’t stopping there. To compete with the other top social media platforms, Instagram very obviously stole Snapchat’s entire concept and introduced Instagram Stories (photos and short videos that disappear after 24 hours). The CEO admitted that the feature was copied and, no doubt, the goal was to pull users away from Snapchat and attract them to Instagram. As a user of both platforms, I can honestly say that Instagram did a better job on the stories feature. They may have taken someone else’s idea but they took it and transformed it.
IGTV (YouTube spin-off)
Photos, videos, stories, direct messages and live streaming clearly was not enough. Instagram, just a few weeks ago, launched IGTV; a standalone app (also integrated into Instagram) that is set out to be a YouTube competitor. Where it differs is that IGTV is mobile-based and all about vertical videos. It makes sense because we use our phones and view the display vertically.
It’s far too early to say if IGTV can actually compete with YouTube but what we do know is that users’ videos will bemonetisedin the near future. This could potentially attract new users and persuade existing users to add vertical video content to the platform. However, it really depends on the criteria for being monetised and what the payout is. It may make perfect sense for people already using Instagram but for those who currently use YouTube I don’t think IGTV stands much of a chance, as it is now.
No doubt, Instagram are cooking up some new features for future updates so IGTV will certainly be enhanced soon enough. As it stands, I’m not a big fan of it and haven’t really used it much since its launch, though that could possibly change in the future.
I said Instagram are cooking up some new features before but actually they werecooking up some new features. Soon after they launched IGTV, they rolled out a brand-new video chat feature. Jeez Instagram, slow down
We could already chat directly with people or groups of people using the messages tab but we can now take that one step further and have more real-life conversations, in the form of video. The direct and group video chat integration has essentially just become Whatsapp, without needing to share your mobile number.
Sitting at 1 billion users, Instagram has done a great job at being the app that does it all. With so many new features and even more on the horizon, do we really need so many individual apps? I think it’s pretty cool how Instagram has transformed over the years and it’s easily my favourite social media platform and the app I use the most on a daily basis. I definitely prefer it over Snapchat but I’m not sure it can win me over on IGTV just yet. Still, the platform as a whole is incredible and I will not be surprised when it becomes the number 1 social media app.
According to statista, it’s the second most popular social networking app, after Facebook (as of May 2018, ranked by mobile reach). It’s also second to Facebook in terms of monthly users but with the constant rollout of new features, it’s got potential of being the number 1 app, when it comes to number of users, engagement and reach.
What are your thoughts on Instagram? Do you think they’ll make it to the number 1 spot and what do you think of all their new features?
Sadia produces tech reviews, tech tips & tutorial videos at XALIRATE and posts here on Wednesdays and Saturdays