When Instagram burst on to the social media landscape in 2010 the brief was simple; here is a square, fill it with something beautiful. Almost 7 years and 600 million monthly active users later Instagram is so much more than a photo sharing app; today Instagram’s co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom says that the company’s mission is “strengthening relationships through shared experiences”. In short, it’s a social network.
Instagram’s transition has been a slow but steady one. In 2012 Facebook bought Instagram and it’s 13 employees for $1billion. This transaction was a catalyst for the many changes to come, starting with the introduction of sponsored posts to targeted audiences that started to roll out in 2013.
Luckily the simple format of Instagram complimented these changes well and the adverts easily slotted into Instagram’s scrolling timeline; in fact the initial success of Instagram can definitely be attributed to simplicity of the original app and the simple brief has given rise to some fantastic artwork people started to use other apps to expand the possibilities.
Nevertheless people started using apps such as Squaready and Whitagram to fit different sized images into the restrictive format and apps like PicStitch to fit multiple images into one post.
So what did Instagram do? They adapted, and in 2015 that the square format was made optional and even more recently, only in the early months of this year, we now have the option to post more than one picture per post.
Instagram embraced that people had expanded on their initial brief and they accommodated it. Perhaps the most revolutionary update to the app has been the ‘story’ function, a Snapchat-esque feature that allows temporary posts that followers can choose to view. This may be due to the changing nature of Instagram’s usage; as the app became used more and more as a social network people might post personal images that might perhaps spoil the aesthetic of their whole page, rather than deleting posts after a day, as many people do, they can now simply add an image or video to their story.
That was in August 2016 and it’s now almost impossible to image Instagram without its new assets.
With the introduction of live video, Boomerang and other features such as the Layout app Instagram has expanded hugely since it was bought in 2012. No longer is it a photo sharing app but an idea sharing app, a place to connect with like-minded individuals.
But what does this mean for us? Well for the marketing industry Instagram is still an amazing canvas to market things with an even wider brief to be creative with.
The beauty of social media marketing is that the outcome is very measurable, and Instagram allows insight into what visual trends work for a brand. Now with the story function it also allows us to keep customers updated without compromising brand aesthetics. All in all, Instagram, you’ve got a huge thumbs up from us!