Is Instagram growing or dying?
If you don’t know about Instagram, chances are that you probably live under a rock. This American photo and video sharing networking service owned by Facebook is often abbreviated as Insta or IG that enables its users to share images or videos with their audience. Launched on October 6, 2010 and racked up 25000 users in one day, the primary focus of the app was to feature photographs, especially those taken on mobile phone. In April 2012, Facebook made an offer to purchase Instagram for about a billion dollars in cash and stock; a key provision was that the company will remain independently managed. Shortly thereafter and just prior to Initial Public Offering, Facebook moved forward and acquired the company for 1 billion dollars. While the growth has continued to increase since the Facebook acquisition, Instagram has made relatively small changes to the app, sticking to its simple and intuitive user experience and core focus on photo and video sharing capabilities. The numbers of monthly active users have shown significant growth as well. Since 2013, Instagram was able to increase the number of its monthly active users 8 times. The majority proportion of this number are people from generation Z and generation Y. In the last few years, Instagram has proven to be an effective platform for marketers as well to reach new audience in a way that audience wants to be marketed, apart from that Instagram is trying to stack features of different social media platforms as well to give a complete package of entertainment.
Now that we have a fair idea about history of the app, we cannot argue upon the fact that Instagram has shown a significant growth in the last decade, but the question arises whether it’ll be able to show a similar performance in the next decade?
When we turn the pages and take a look a glance at the history, everything that goes up with a lot of hype is destined to fall if it doesn’t evolve itself according to the dynamic environment. Instagram has been able to reach and stay at the top position in the world of social media because of the changes it made which suited its users keeping the basic outlay of the app same. Instagram stories, IGTV videos, and the recent introduction of Instagram reels are the reason for users to tune in again and again. While the numbers may impress you but the trend may not. In the year 2019 Instagram grew by 6.7% but it is argued that by 2023 it is expected to grow by mere 1%, the main reason behind such a trend- an overwhelming percentage of population already there on the app. As stated earlier, Instagram is a platform more suitable to generation Z and generation Y, unlike Facebook which has something to offer to everyone of any age group. On Facebook, a user can perform many activities ranging from posting a picture to running a business. Instagram is slowly following the paths of Facebook by letting its users create a business profile but keeping the general outlay similar to a decade old model might harm its growth.
When we talk about generation Z, they’re the ones most active on Instagram but the things are falling apart for them also regarding Instagram. Generation Z is strongly opposed to online bullying and they don’t want to be tracked, they don’t like their faces to appear publicly for more than few hours and above all they don’t like ads. So why would they download an app that spies on its users in a bunch of different ways and is currently being sued for videoing its subscribers even when they’re signed out. It wouldn’t be surprising if we see numbers and percentages declining of generation Z in the upcoming years. If Instagram can’t find a way to get back to double-digit user growth or find a way to double the amount of time people spend on their site, then the only other way to grow is to extract more money from its current users. Seems like it’s pretty obvious that Instagram is destined to fall in the next decade, but there’s a catch. More than 40 billion photos have been posted on Instagram with more than 95 million additional photos per day. Instagram stats reveal that engagement rate of the app is around 2-7%, which might seem to be low until we compare it to Facebook that is having its engagement rates between 0.1-1.5% and twitter’s even lower than that. We can argue that numbers aren’t increasing for Instagram at an impressive rate but the engagement time of the registered users is fairly impressive. The increased engagement rates for Instagram are an outcome of introduction of new features and modifications in the app. Big companies have their Instagram handles which are updated on regular basis besides that individuals are running their businesses through the app and people are earning by marketing for other companies on the app. Above all, Instagram is a great platform to showcase your talent and no doubt reels can justify this statement.
So what do we conclude? Some people argue that Instagram isn’t dying, it’s already dead as now it’s more driven by ads and focuses more on business, while some argue that it has evolved in such a manner that helped it to adapt itself to the dynamic environment and focusing on business was a necessity for evolution. In my opinion, the app surely isn’t dying as it’s a complete package of entertainment and information. The Engagement rates justify the same and attributable to the history of Instagram, it surely has the potential to face challenges.
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