Category Archives: Instagram ~ Finola Barry

Instagram

Over the past few weeks I have been blogging about Instagram, a social media app where people can share their own photos and follow others doing the same. As an information system it receives millions of photos a day, storing them in the company system, releasing them on the user’s page and much more. It has grown at a rapid rate since its beginnings in October 2010.

It was fast growing from the beginning and the giant social media site that is Facebook could see this. In April 2012 after only 15 months of existence, Facebook purchase Instagram for $1 billion. Many thought this would have a huge impact on the app, thinking changes would come to a highly respected and loved, personal and intimate app. However, today after 2 years of the app being under Facebook’s wing there has been very few changes, much to the delight of its 150 million users [1].

Changes which have been made are minimal updates in the animations and the aesthetics. The ability to rotate your photos to a certain degree left or right. Direct and private photo messages, where the user can choose one or however many of their followers to see a photo, without it showing up on their page.

Another major change, the biggest for the app was introducing a video uploading option. No longer only a photo sharing site, users can now record and share videos, also with the ability of adding a filter which is one of the most popular features of the app. The video option became available only 8 months ago, and now 6% of all posts on the app are videos [1].

take-a-first-look-at-how-video-for-instagram-works

The popularity of Instagram has never slowed down. It has completely beaten out the competition in this field. The app is used by 13% of all internet users [1]. In 2012 there was an article posted on the alternative apps one could use if they did not want to use Instagram, these includes Snapseed, Hipstamatic and Path [3], all of which I have never heard of and are relatively unused compared to Instagram now.

Instagram is the fastest growing social media site globally [4]. Given the ginormous increase in the use of smartphones, the accessibility and ease of use of this app on people’s mobiles is what makes it so popular and continuously growing. The chart below shows the growth of social media apps from the beginning to the end of the year 2013 [4].

screen-shot-2014-01-21-at-10-12-23

As the popularity in smartphones increases, I believe that Instagram’s popularity will increase alongside it. It has so many positive qualities, including really listening and complying with what its users wants. This is one of the main aspects of why Instagram is such a loved and popular app. It didn’t change its vision or objectives when it got taken over by Facebook. It stayed true to being a private and personal photo sharing app, only willing to enhance features which were important to the users.

I believe Instagram have done it right, after all the users are the ones keeping the app alive so it should be them who get a say and get their opinions heard on features and changes. It is definitely still my favourite app as it’s personal, interesting, expressive and fun. A user can be creative, can find inspiration from others and see really life pictures of anything they wish. I can see Instagram continuing to have a firm stance in social networking and a continuously growing rate of popularity. People now a days love to know what is going on in other people’s lives, in different countries around the world and in areas they are interested in or dream to be a part of. We also love to share. Share our lives, our experiences, our relationships, our passions. Nothing is off limits when there are some many people around the world doing so many different things. Photos are intimate, informative, relatable, unique and build up over years to keep ones favourite memories alive. Instagram allows these memories to be stored and shared, and for that it is no wonder it is such a popular and loved app.

13950556305371

 ~ Finola Barry

[1] – http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/important-instagram-stats/#.UyWXYYVXt1Q

[2] – http://www.businessinsider.com/how-video-for-instagram-works-2013-6

[3] – http://www.cultofmac.com/159755/want-to-ditch-instagram-here-are-the-five-best-alternative-apps-feature/

[4] – http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/21/instagram-is-the-fastest-growing-social-site-globally-mobile-devices-rule-over-pcs-for-social-access/

Advertisements

Multi-Millionaire Employees of Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular and personal forms of social media. It has built up a very good reputation, with users really thinking about and taking pride in what they post on their account. It is no wonder the co-founder and now CEO, Kevin Systrom, was named to Fortune’s 40-inder-40 list with the popularity of his app [1].

In April 2012, when Instagram was bought over by Facebook for a staggering $1 billion, Systrom became a multi-millionaire when he took his share of the money amounting to a cool $400 million. His fellow co-founder, Mike Krieger, who owned 10% of the company, inherited $100 million from the sale [2]. The two men were extremely fortunate to be in such a good financial position at such a young age, and after only starting the company 15 months previous to this life changing deal. I would definitely be very happy if I was in their situation, as I’m sure everyone would be.

The founders of the app were not the only people to benefit from the sale to Facebook. At the time of purchase, Instagram had only 13 employees. These 13 people were highly rewarded for the work they had done for the company by dividing out 10% of the purchase price, $100 million, between them, making them also multi-millionaires [2], $77 million millionaires to be precise. It was a very sweet deal for working in a company for such a short period of time.

The number of employees has not greatly increased since this time, the company having only 25 employees now, including a business operating director brought into place by Facebook [3]. The company has kept the workforce small and the workplace intimate and relaxed, with lots of communal space for the employees to sit and meet together. Below in are photos of the interior of the main office [4], which is located in San Francisco, California where the company originates from.

ImageImage

From these pictures I can see it would be a very nice place to work. It looks relaxed ad open with nice natural lighting. The workers in Instragm say the offices are very welcoming, relaxing yet stimulating to work in. The interior design is influenced by the social media company’s brand [4], seen in the photo below. I would certainly find this a very nice work environment to be in, it is spacious and creatively designed. It is an office but is relaxed and fun rather then dull and daunting, which ordinary office places seem to me.

Image

I would 100% like to work in Instagram. It is my favourite app to use. It stays true to what the users like and what they promised when they first started. The work team is obviously creative, intelligent but thoughtful and responsive to ideas coming from the people who are making their company successful which is rare to see as companys similar to this one are often more concerned with making money and beating out the compition. Instagram has really made a reliable and promising name for themselves and I hope the employees and CEOs of the company continue to treat the app and its users as well as they have been.

~ Finola Barry

[1] – http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=99160377

[2] –http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2127343/Facebook-buys-Instagram-13-employees-share-100m-CEO-Kevin-Systrom-set-make-400m.html

 [3] – http://business.time.com/2013/04/09/a-year-later-instagram-hasnt-made-a-dime-was-it-worth-1-billion/

[4] – http://www.designboom.com/architecture/behind-the-scenes-at-instagrams-san-francisco-headquarters-12-06-2013/


How Private Are Your Photos On Instagram?

Image

In my last blog on Instagram I introduced the problem the company had in December 2012, when they briefly introduced a new privacy policy, leading to a harsh backlash from user’s as they were not in favour of their picture’s being used by Instagram in advertising and gaining revenue.

This much discontent with the new terms, at the time, just shows how protective many users are of the personal photos they are uploading. Instagram is different to Facebook in this way. People, including myself, usually select their favourite and most personal photos to be displayed on their Instagram page rather than uploading a whole array of photos like they would on their Facebook account.

In December 2012 when Instagram first brought about changes to the privacy terms it stated on its blog,

“You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.” [1]

The language used confused user’s and media alike, but overall the feeling after reading these new terms was that the photos being uploaded were free to be sold to companies for advertising in order to benefit the app, without the user’s consent. People were not happy with this at all. Many complaints were made by the public and celebrities such as Pink and Emma Stone, who publically announcing their anger at the new terms. [2]

Instagram creators were quick to acknowledge this outpour of user complaints and co-founder Kevin Systrom soon took to the Instagram blog to address the issues saying,

 

A month later Instagram officially updated the privacy policies. The language was much clearer and simpler. It stated that Instagram was permitted to share the user’s information, from the likes of information from cookies to log files and usage data, with companies they were legally affiliated with. The advertising terms were changed to saying,

“This information [above] would allow third-party ad networks to, among other things, deliver targeted advertisements that they believe will be of most interest to you.” [3]

Users seemed much happier with the newly worded terms. It also stated that users were still able to control what other users saw from their page. They approve followers and make their photos private, only for the eyes of their accepted followers.

I don’t have many of the privacy settings set up on my account but lots of my friends do and I know it definitely gives them peace of mind to be fully aware of who is seeing the pictures they choose to upload. Everyone is different in this sense but I certainly think it is in Instagram’s best interest not to continue changing the privacy policies. Even if the company are in need some extra revenue, I believe further changes will discourage current and potential users from using the app if they feel the company is not respecting their privacy as much as they would like it to.

~ Finola Barry

[1] – http://www.webpronews.com/instagrams-new-privacy-policies-take-effect-on-saturday-2013-01

[2] – http://businessethicscases.blogspot.ie/2013/04/instagram-issue-of-user-privacy.html

[3] – http://instagram.com/about/legal/privacy/#section3


Instagram: 150 million Users Yet No Revenue

Instagram is unique in its attitude towards revenue. Although it is owned by Facebook, which has always had its priorities on making money, Instagram have shown they are very conscious of the users feelings and try to make it a positive user app, rather than a money making goldmine which it could be. As a user of both Instagram and Facebook there is a clear difference between the revenue generating features present all over Facebook and the pleasant absence of these features on Instagram.

From the beginning Instagram has been an app making no revenue from its users, their photos and the interactions. The main goal for the company was to grow its network, perfect the features and create a future for this photo sharing centre. Many people questioned Facebook’s purchasing of Instagram, for a value of $1 billion in 2012, as Instagram had no revenue. Instagram was in desperate need of financial support when, after two years, it had losses of $2.7 million [1]. It was then able to raise $50 million in the next financing round in March 2012, just 1 month before Facebook purchased the company.

The CEO, Kevin Systrom said, in August 2012, that the company has considered monetizing the app but

“Nothing came of it” [1].

However, in December 2012, Instagram announced it was going to change its privacy policy, in order to start making some money. The change would allow the company to sell user’s photos for advertising of the app. This received harsh backlash, with vast numbers of users, from individuals to The National Geographic, vowing to stop using the app if these changes came in [2]. I feel this was a bad move by Instagram as lots of the users, including myself, really appreciate the more private and personal side to the app. The company quickly reversed their plans and wrote on their blog saying,

“Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram… it is not our intention to sell your photos”  [3].

About 9 months later these “innovative advertising” ideas came into action. It started with 5 companies being allowed to have promotional ‘sponsored’ posts which would appear on user’s newsfeeds, different ads appearing based on photos and pages the user has liked on both Instagram and Facebook and what their Instagram friends have liked[4].

 Image

Figure 1 [5]

Above is an example of one of Ben and Jerry’s ads. Instagram announced in December 2013, two months after the first advertisement post that the campaign was working [5]. The companies seem to be reaping the benefits of the advertising, with a large range of people throughout the world being subject to their products, the ads can generate hundreds and thousands of likes.

 Image

Figure 2 [6]

Although the actual value of gains for Instagram and these companies is still foggy following this update, it certainly shows that the people behind the app are starting to really think of revenue possibilities and implement changes which it did not show in its first few years.

~ Finola Barry

[1] – http://www.businessinsider.com/instagram-finances-2012-8

[2] – http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/blogs/dashboard/instagram-100-million-users-yet-no-revenue-193855273.html

[3] – http://blog.instagram.com/post/38252135408/thank-you-and-were-listening

[4] – http://instagram.com/about-ads

[5] – http://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2013/12/19/instagram-says-its-brand-advertising-campaigns-are-working/

[6] – http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-02/what-do-instagram-advertisers-actually-get-for-their-money


Instagram – Visually capturing and sharing the world’s favourite moments

Instagram is a photo sharing social media app. It is a simple and very popular form of visual communication. People throughout the world can post photos of their lives, their passions, their interests, the environment and the world around them. It is one of my favourite apps around today.

Users can search and follow all different types of pages, any interests one has you’d be sure there’s an Instagram page dedicated to it. Also having the capability to like and comment on photos they see on these pages they are following. One of my favourite parts is following celebrities, seeing what’s happening in their lives and also things such as fashion they like, tropical places they visit and charities which they are involved in. Figure 1 shows an example of a page, this is the official Instagram page which 6.4 million users currently follow.

Image

 Figure 1 [1]

Instagram was started in 2010 by two men, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. The two men were very lucky as their ideas did not take long to become a reality and did not take long to become popular throughout the world having 10,000 users within its first hour of publication [2]. The potential of this app was obvious from very early on, having 1 million users after the first 2 months and 15 million users 14 months after it first got launched.

2 months later in April 2012, Facebook purchased the app for $1 billion, the company at the time having only 13 employees [2]. Today there are more than 150 million active users, the US, Japan and Brazil containing the most users, 16 billion photos shared in total, an average of 55 million photos shared per day and 1.2 billion photos liked per day [3]. I myself have only shared 55 photos over the past 11 months of having the app but I follow 275 pages which post much more often than I do which keeps the app interesting and informative.

When the founders were creating Instagram, they decided to completely strip it back to an app which has only the features to upload photos, comment and like.  Systrom said,

“The lesson I’ve learned is that you need to make sure to always cut what doesn’t work, cut the stuff that isn’t popular, and focus on continually improving your product and your focus….” [4]

This was a bold move which really paid off. The simplicity of the app is, to me, one of the most appealing features. It is a very easy and nice way of seeing what your friends are doing whether they’re at home or away, seeing what celebrities do, following fitness and healthy eating plans, seeing beautiful pictures of places in the world you might only dream of visiting and much more.

~ Finola Barry

[1] – http://blog.instagram.com/post/29555443184/instagram-3-0-photo-maps-more-weve-been

[2] – http://www.inc.com/eric-markowitz/life-and-times-of-instagram-the-complete-original-story.html

[3] – http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/important-instagram-stats/#.Uv9rorROVX4

http://www.buzzfeed.com/javim2/23-interesting-facts-about-instagram-bw9q

[4] – http://blog.kissmetrics.com/kevin-systrom/