יום שישי, 12 במאי 2017

The Rise of Instagram in 2016

2016 has been a defining year for Instagram. Here’s how it’s gone from strength-to-strength over the past 12 months.

Hundreds of new apps are launched every day. Some, if they’re lucky, will grow to a few hundred or thousand users. Most don’t gain any traction at all. But once in a while, a product comes along and just nails it. The right time. The right place. The right market.

Instagram is one of those products.

Instagram launched on October 06, 2010, and within three months it hit one million users. One million quickly become two, and its growth didn’t stop there — in under a year Instagram hit 10 million users.

When Instagram launched, it wasn’t the first app to allow users to add a filter to an image. So why did Instagram succeed where many other services failed? Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom, puts some of it down as luck; but Instagram also found a perfect balance between creativity and community; simplicity and specialist. It launched as smartphone camera technology was vastly improving and Instagram enabled anyone with a smartphone to create jaw-dropping, professional-looking photographs. It made photography so easy that even a novice could snap and share a beautiful image in just a few swipes and taps.

Now, the Facebook-owned product boasts an incredible 500m+ monthly active users and 300m+ daily users, and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Via: https://www.instagram.com/press/

Instagram has become the online presence of choice for the next generation. While Facebook is more about messaging and staying in touch, and Snapchat dominates fleeting, off-the-cuff sharing, Instagram has become the place to share the moments we want to remember.

In everything it’s done, Instagram has kept it simple. Even as they ballooned to hundreds of millions of users, it was seemingly more important for Instagram to say ‘no’ to new features instead of ‘yes.’ In 2016, that changed a little. Over the past 12 months-or-so, as part of its quest to be the go-to place for capturing and sharing the world’s moments, Instagram has rolled out plenty of changes — some small, some seismic.

From a controversial rebrand, to the launch of Stories, it’s been an undeniably brilliant and potentially defining year for Instagram. Here’s a look at how it unfolded.

One of the most controversial updates Instagram has made during 2016 is its rebrand — replacing its infamous old-fashioned camera icon with a new, minimalist icon featuring a simpler camera and bright, eye-catching gradient.

The rebrand wasn’t instantly popular with users and the media, but it seems to have grown on people…or we’ve simply realized that the branding — even if not to our taste — won’t stop us from using Instagram.

Alongside the new branding, Instagram also redesigned their app — switching to a minimal, flat design.

Why did Instagram have the makeover? It was simply time for a change. Instagram’s look and feel had largely remained the same since launch in 2010, and in a blog post about the design changes, Instagram explained:

“The simpler design puts more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app.

The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more — a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.”

As its grown, Instagram has become an endless stream of delicious-looking food, friends, puppies, quotes, adventures, and gorgeous scenery. It’s now saturated with content — far more content than any user can consume on a regular basis. And as we follow more and more Instagram accounts, it’s harder to keep up with the content from our few, select favorite accounts.

To combat this, Instagram launched a algorithmic feed that works in a similar way to Facebook’s ever-evolving and ever-controversial News Feed. In a blog post announcing the change on March 15, 2016, Instagram said that most users miss on average 70% of their feeds. This means that the vast majority of content on your Instagram feed goes unseen and users could be missing posts from their close friends and favorite Instagram accounts.

Speaking to the New York Times, Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom explained: “What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”

Since the algorithm update was released, content no longer displays in chronological order, but rather is listed based on an algorithm that decides what you’re most likely to want to see based on accounts and content you’ve previously interacted with.

As with almost every update pushed to a major social platform, the change was met with some pushback from the Instagram community, with 341,825 people signing a petition to keep Instagram chronological. But, there’s a huge upside to this for the Instagram community, with the bar being raised for brands and influencers to create better content to have any chance of being seen. It also means you’re far more likely to see posts from your best friend over a brand you followed a few years back but have never interacted with.

With 80% of Instagram’s audience coming from outside the United States, Mike Krieger, Instagram’s co-founder, and chief technology officer, believes time isn’t quite as important to Instagram’s content as it is on other platforms.

“Look at my feed now. I follow accounts from all over the world,” Krieger said to the New York Times, “it doesn’t really matter to me what time it is.”

Instagram was born in the Mexican beach town of Todos Santos, where Systrom and his girlfriend (now wife), Nicole Schuetz, were vacationing. Systrom was working on ideas for a location-based app, Burbn, when he mentioned the concept of allowing users to share photos. He talked through the idea with Schuetz who said she wouldn’t post any photos because her photos (at the time taken with an iPhone 4) wouldn’t look good enough. They concluded that the best way to solve this problem was through image filters and that night Systrom built what is now the X-Pro II filter and posted an image to an early version of Instagram.

On June 21, 2016, around 6 years after Systrom created the first filter, Instagram announced its community has grown to more than 500 million Instagrammers.

Here’s a quick look at it’s growth since 2010:

Many defining product features are born out of pre-existing user behaviours. The retweet, for example, came about as users began to manually re-share tweets by adding ‘RT’ to the beginning of their tweet.

On Instagram, Stories were born from our innate desires to share off-the-cuff moments — similar to how hundreds of millions of people use Snapchat.

Instagram Stories

The problem for Instagram was that the platform had become the place for only our finest moments to be shared. Instagram feeds, for many of its 500m+ users, have become things of beauty, where only our best memories and moments are saved.

Plenty of Instagram’s younger teenage users even run multiple accounts. One regular, carefully filtered account to present a polished version of their life (and rack up those all-important likes). And another private account known as a “Finsta” (fake Instagram), for unedited, less serious content.

“You’ll have a regular Instagram, and you’ll have hundreds of followers there, and on your Finsta you’ll have a fake username and it’ll just be your best friends, the people you’re friends with, and you post funny or embarrassing pictures,” one teen explained at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference.

Finstas are basically a mix of Snapchat and Instagram. And in a bold move to encourage its users to create and share more content on the platform, Instagram announced Instagram Stories, a feature that lets users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours.

The feature launched in early August, and like Snapchat Stories, the photos and videos shared in your Instagram Story are ephemeral and can’t be viewed once 24 hours have elapsed. Importantly, content shared to stories also doesn’t appear on your profile grid or in the main Instagram feed, ensuring that stories are a place for fleeting, everyday moments of our lives and not the over-polished moments we tend to share to our Instagram feeds.

Stories also provide brands and marketers with new ways to use Instagram. From behind the scenes content, to interactive Q&A’s we’ve seen a few brands jump onboard early. However, despite the excitement around stories, many marketers are yet to jump in and create stories for their brand as we found in our State of Social 2016 survey, only 16% of marketers have created an Instagram story to date.

How Instagram Stories Work: A Powerful New Way to Engage
In a bold move to encourage its users to create and share more content on the platform, Instagram has announced…blog.bufferapp.com

Keeping the feed link free could be seen as a great move by Instagram, or it could be the worst thing about the platform. By not having links on Instagram posts (adverts aside), the feed is clean and click-hungry brands and publishers are forced to share only the best, most engaging content to Instagram (read: no clickbait). On the other side of the argument, adding “link in bio” as a caption has become a popular, clunky-at-best way to drive clicks to content from Instagram.

“Link in bio” offers a second rate experience for both the publisher and Instagram user. Having to make a couple of taps to get to your profile and then click on a link isn’t a great experience for the user. And for a publisher, you know any engagement on Instagram is highly unlikely to drive any clicks back to your website.

Now though, Instagram has created a new way to drive clicks, without having to disturb the equilibrium of the feed. Instagrammers with verified accounts can now share links through Instagram stories using a neat ‘See more’ action which loads content in an Instagram-contained browser when a user swipes up on a story. As of now, it’s a test for verified Instagram accounts, but hopefully we’ll see this rolled out to all users in the coming months.

@ mentions have also been added to stories meaning users can mention others and link to their Instagram accounts within their story:

Mentions within story are pretty simple — you just add text to your story and type ‘@’ followed by the username of the account you’d like to mention. Then when someone views your story they can tap on the username and see a pop-up that’ll take them to the mentioned user’s profile. When you mention someone, they’ll receive a message in their inbox to let them know they’ve been mentioned.

Mobile has changed many behaviours. Including the way people shop. As Instagram explain on their blog: “You browse products while waiting to be seated for dinner, make purchases on your commute into work, and compare prices online when you’re at a store to see what’s the better deal. In fact, more than 84% of smartphone users in the US browse, research or compare products via a web browser or mobile app.”

Soon, shopping will be coming to Instagram, beginning with 20 US-based retail brands who are testing out the update before Instagram (hopefully) rolls out the update to businesses globally.

Here’s how it works: Each post will have a tap to view icon at the bottom left of a photo. When tapped, a tag will appear on various products in the post — showcasing up to five products and their prices. Once a tag is selected a new detailed view of the product will open. This functionality will bring important product information to the consumer earlier in the journey, all without having to leave the Instagram app to search.
New! Shopping on Instagram: Get the Complete Details and What It Means
This year alone, Instagram has released business profiles and features like Stories and Zoom. Lucky for us, Instagram…blog.bufferapp.com

From it’s humble beginnings during a summer holiday in a Mexican beach town, Instagram has changed the face of social media. So where next? In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, co-founder, Kevin Systrom, described his dream feature:

“Imagine a world where virtual reality exists and is ubiquitous, and we have whatever device we need to experience it. How cool would it be if you were at a concert in the countryside and I could be there with you — hearing, smelling, seeing it, too? Or the presidential inauguration — that would be amazing. That’s what Instagram is now, in a very low-fidelity way. I like to say we’re working on time travel, but the difference is we’re not sending you there — it’s coming to you.”

Instagram’s journey has been a fascinating one. In the six years since it’s launch, its become one of the few elite tech companies that’s shaping parts of our culture and the future of communication. 2016 feels like a pivotal year for the company as it’s product has evolved a great deal in the past 12 months. However, it feels like Instagram is only just warming up — and I, for one, am excited for what’s ahead.

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