Instagram, the world’s largest and most popular photo sharing website has become a household name already. It is a billion dollars company that earns through advertisements. More than 1 billion users over the world use Instagram actively making it the second most used platform after Facebook. In fact, it goes without saying, Instagram is one of the most favorite apps among teenagers and even adults.
Do you know Instagram AKA Insta and IG, was first named as Burbn? Many major changes and upgrades happened to the fun-filled platform since its launch. So, want to know the story of Instagram and who owns it today? Well, let’s quickly jump into the topic.
Read: Instagram Business Model – How does it Make Money
Story of Instagram
Instagram is an American photo and video social networking service that allows anybody across the globe to create accounts and use it. It is the largest visuals sharing platform that is filled with fun. A lot of functionalities, filters for editing and capturing pictures and videos made it people’s favorite today. An average active user rarely skips exploring Instagram on each single day, don’t you agree?
The giant photo and video sharing platform which is available today on every smartphone was originally launched on iOS first. Only in 2012, it released its android version. Like any other start up product, Instagram didn’t generate any revenue until a year later Facebook acquired it.
History of Instagram
Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in October 2010. For upto two years after its launch, Instagram was available on only iOS.
Systrom who was a Stanford University graduate quit the job at Nextstop to design an app for photo-sharing. He learned coding to design a web app called Burbn that let’s users check-in, post plans and share photos. Systrom named the app, Burbn.
Burbn to Instagram
He obtained seed funding of $500,00 from Baseline Ventures and Andreessem Horowitz to further develop his dream app that lets people share photos.
That was when Instagram’s co founder Mike Krieger joined Systrom. They both worked on Burbn (named after Systrom’s love towards fine Whiskey and bourbons).
Burbn was updated with liking photos, and commenting functions. Though there were check-in apps at that time, the photo sharing feature made this app unique.
Later, Burbn was renamed as Instagram (combination of words Instant and Telegram). The founders made many software updates, added many filter options to the app for upto 8 weeks. And that is how Instagram was brought into people’s lives.
Surprisingly, Instagram racked up 25000 users on the day of its launch. It soon grew up with one million users within 3 months, which made investors turn up to this app.
Facebook Bought Instagram
With a large user-base and rise in popularity, investors became interested in the company, Instagram. In 2011, the company was valued at around $25 million in funding.
Later, in April 2012, when the app had over 27 million users, Facebook made an offer to buy Instagram for around $1 billion.
In fact, Mark was not the only one who realized its potential. Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey also made a formal offer of nearly $500 million in stock, Systrom declined the offer.
However, the founders agreed to Mark’s offer and sold the company to Facebook Inc., for $1 billion in cash and stocks on April 9 2012. Mark’s plan was to manage the website independently.
According to a report, Systrom made $400 million with the deal.
Instagram & Facebook
Though Facebook acquired many companies that are into different industries, Instagram is the major revenue contributor to it. Almost 98% of ad revenue to Facebook comes from Instagram.
There were negative comments when Facebook announced acquisition of Instagram that is $0 worth and just 2 years old. But today, Instagram has grown so popular that at least 70% businesses choose it as their major marketing platform.
Journey of Instagram
Instagram left its creators boundless even during its initial days. It was downloaded more than one million times in less than a day when its android version was released in April 2012.
Instagram, that allows people to like, comment, edit pictures, chat, do live sessions etc went through many major changes growing slowly.
Here are some of the important upgrades and changes to Instagram.
- In November 2012, the feature-limited desktop version was released.
- A photo of South Beach Harbor at Pier 38 by Mike Krieger on July 16 2010 was the first Instagram post.
- In November 2013, it started running ads (which is now bringing billions of dollars to the company).
Instagram’s design and features were updated multiple times. It’s parent company Facebook planned to offer more offline features to make it more accessible to users.
- In April 2016, Insta introduced comment liking
- It launched hashtags in January 2011
- In June 2012, it introduced Explore
- Instagram Direct was introduced in December 2013
- In August 2016, it launched Stories
The company’s main priority is to provide a great user experience. Therefore, it removed the “likes count” when it realized that people feel bad about the less number of likes to their posts. Only the original post owner can view the number and others can’t see the likes count.
- In 2020, it introduced Co-watching in Video Chat, and Instagram Reels, which became so popular.
Thus after Facebook acquired Instagram, it became even more valuable. The company is now raking billions of dollars through ads and its newly introduced shopping feature. Also, it is contributing massive income to its parent company.
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