What is Instagram?
Kevin Systrom (CEO, co-founder of Instagram)
After graduation, Kevin cut his teeth with a couple of very productive years working at Google, where he was tasked with developing Google Reader, Gmail and associated products as part of the Corporate Development team.
Kevin has a longstanding love for photography, which he and co-founder Mike Krieger combined brilliantly with the launch of Instagram.
Mike Krieger (co-founder of Instagram)
While doing his undergrad, Mike interned with Foxmarks (now Xmarks) as a software developer, and at Microsoft's PowerPoint team as a Product Manager.
His Master's thesis was a brilliant discourse on how user interfaces can be utilised to support large scale collaborations.
After graduating from Stanford, Mike worked for a year and a half at Meebo as a front-end engineer and user experience designer, before eventually joining the Instagram team doing design & development.
The Growth of Instagram
In February 2011, a few months after the public launch, Instagram raised their series A funding round of $7 million from a consortium of venture capital funds. The company was valued at $25 million during this funding round.
Some 14 months later, in April 2012, Instagram raised another funding round of $50 million from venture capitalists, with a valuation of $500 million.
Instagram is Acquired by Facebook
This purchase was by far Facebook’s most significant acquisition and was a definite indicator of how important mobile and photo sharing were becoming to Facebook. An interesting parallel for this purchase can perhaps be drawn with Google’s $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube in 2006. In as much as it demonstrated an internet behemoth with expertise in a particular area (search, in the case of Google, social media in the case of Facebook) acquiring expertise in an adjacent (but different) area, via purchasing a fast-growing start-up.
This purchase was unusual for Facebook, as its previous purchases of other start-ups were modest by comparison.
a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.
But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook
and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.”
Facebook CEO and Founder, Mark Zuckerberg
Instagram – Features and User Demographics
Boasting 200 million active users in 2014, Instagram’s user-base growth over the years has been nothing short of phenomenal:
Number of Active Users on Instagram
Instagram Milestones and Achievements
- Instagram was declared the ‘iPhone App of the Year’ in December 2011.
- Instagram app for Android Froyo version 2.2 launched in April 2012 got downloaded more than a million times in less than a day.
- By July 2012, Instagram was rated more than a million times on Google Play, to become the 5th app ever to reach a million ratings.
- As of April 2013, Instagram was rated more than four million times on Google Play.
A look at statistics from September 2013 reveals that a total of 16 billion photos and videos were shared via Instagram, with an average of 55 million new shares being made per day. At time of writing (August 2014) Instagram users are making an average of 1.2 billion new Likes per day.
According to another 2013 study, some 13% of all Internet users worldwide were found to be using Instagram. And some 70% of Instagram users were found to be logging on to the site daily, with 35% logging in more than once a day.
A 2014 study revealed that the Instagram mobile app user base registered a 25% growth between December 2013 and May 2014. And as of March 2014, a total of some 20 billion photos had been shared via Instagram. It has also been reported that in 2014, an average of one thousand new comments get posted on Instagram every second.
Unlike something like Google + (where people sign up, but hardly ever use it), Instagram demonstrably shows us that people come back again and again to the platform to both post and interact with other users. And it’s this interaction (much like Facebook itself) that allows us to see why Facebook valued the company at $1 billion in 2012.
As the following Statista chart demonstrates, Instagram has been found to be the 2nd most popular social media app among American smartphone users aged between 18 and 34:
In 2014, the average value of sales orders generated via Instagram referrals has been found to be a very respectable $66.75. In a late 2013 study, Instagram was also found to deliver the 4th highest (1.08%) conversion rate among all social media platforms and services, trailing only Facebook (1.85%), Vimeo and YouTube (1.16% each).
To paraphrase the old adage from the W. P. Kinsella novel, ‘Shoeless Joe’ (popularised in the classic 1989 movie, ‘Field of Dreams’): ‘