The decade everyone “did it for the gram”
It’s hard to believe that Instagram was released in 2010. Shortly after, it was purchased by Facebook in 2012. Now it’s a daily part of over 500 million people’s lives. (Statista, 2018)
How did this happen though? Well, it turns out there are 9 specific moments that defined Instagram’s rise.
Below you’ll find a list of exact moments that helped Instagram dominate the 2010s.
1. Snapchat (2011)
Did you know that Snapchat was launched only a year after Instagram? Probably not.
Instagram did a successful job of fighting off any potential competition at launch. Later on once Snapchat rose in popularity, we saw its key features recreated in Instagram.
While Snapchat remains extremely popular, it’s no longer a threat to Instagram.
2. Selfies (2013)
The word selfie was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013.
Instagram didn’t create selfies but they were the main driver in popularizing them.
3. Facetune (2013)
Were they born with it… or was it Facetune? Facetune became available in 2013 to satiate the selfie obsessed masses.
While many people have moved on from using Facetune heavily, it’s still extremely popular.
If you see a photo with overly highlighted eyes or over-smoothed skin then it’s most likely Facetune.
4. Influencers (2015)
The term “Influencer” as we now use it started in 2015.
The most popular example of a social media influencer is Kim Kardashian. Kim popularized influencer tropes like “perfect” selfies, sponsored posts, and branded product lines.
5. Boomerang (2015)
To capitalize on the rising popularity of video, Instagram introduced Boomerang.
Boomerang takes a small clip of video then plays it back and forth on loop.
Boomerangs have now become common and integrated into many other apps.
6. Instagram Ads (2015)
Then in 2015 marketers will blessed with Instagram Ads.
Facebook needed a way to monetize Instagram and in doing so, created one of the most powerful advertising platforms in the world.
7. Instagram Stories (2016)
Remember those Snapchat features I mentioned were recreated in Instagram? This is the most popular one.
Instagram was losing the battle in mobile video until it released Instagram Stories.
These short ephemeral messages are now one of Instagram’s most popular features. They also allowed Instagram to stave off any potential new threat from Snapchat.
8. TikTok (2016)
In 2016, a new threat to Instagram emerged. TikTok has taken America by storm and has become a Gen Z favorite.
For those who don’t know what TikTok is, let me explain. TikTok users create 15-second videos to music of their choice. These short videos are then looped. That’s TikTok in a nutshell.
TikTok is most famous for popularizing the song “Old Town Road” by Little Nas X.
Expect more of TikTok’s features to be recreated in Instagram in the future.
9. Vine (Shut Down in 2017)
In 2017, another competitor bit the dust. Once Instagram starting focusing on short video it was over for Vine.
Although Vine was unique, many users started getting their short video fix from Instagram.
BONUS – Instagram Likes (RIP 2019)
Facebook has made it very clear that they intend to do away with like counts in your feed. They even started rolling it out in multiple countries in 2019.
Why remove likes? They apparently have negative side effects on users.
Likes were built as a reward mechanism for users. When a user receives likes on their posts it causes a small endorphin release in their brain. Endorphins make you happy.
The problem is, people got “addicted” for lack of a better term. This addiction can cause sleep disruption, productivity loss, and interpersonal conflicts. (PBS, 2019)
What about 2020?
Expect to see advertising options increased and more heavily restricted. Data privacy will be an important part of all social media moving forward.
Also expect to see ideas from other apps like TikTok to be recreated in Instagram.
Likes will eventually be phased out which will hopefully have a positive impact on society’s collective mental state.
Last but not least, Instagram will change what we currently think of as an “Influencer.” Removing like counts is just a part of a larger plan to monetize areas that influencers have controlled up until this point.
What do you think? Will Instagram continue to rule in the 2020s? Will it fade away? Let me know in the comments!