As a user I frickin’ love Instagram. With its simplicity in both navigating and publishing coupled with the sheer volume of stunning content what is there not to love? Earlier this month it was reported Instagram now has 27 million users (up 15m from last year) and for a platform that’s only 2 years young it gets people very excited. What’s more, beyond making images look gorgeous its real beauty lays in its easiness to network people across the world with a growth rate pretty much unrivaled in the mobile world. A soon to be released Android app will only help rocket growth though with numbers comes the question of monetising.
This, like most social network start-ups, focus on growing a user-friend experience with the intention of integrating revenue streams at a later date. Facebook and Twitter are prime models of this. Now Instagram has a global network probably hitting the 40m+ by the this time next year and a new round of fund-raising valuing the company at an ambitious $500m where do they go now?
The mobile-only platform may open its doors to web browsers creating space for advertisers to play with (be it ASUs, HPTOs etc.) The news feed and popular tabs may be re-worked to allow for sticky content which brands could pay at a premium. This is just guess-work right now but Instagram needs to do something soon with the plethora of other similar products on the shop floor. Most noticeable is Pinterest which takes the ease of Instagram to the web with its clever ‘Pin It’ button.
There will be a big change to Instagram’s look and accessibility with the Android version maybe providing a look of things to come, but like many other hyped networks – *cough* foursquare – their reason for success is also their biggest threat. It’s simplicity makes replicating a simple process too.
They may be enjoying their peak of growth and popularity though if this will be a long-lasting image only time will tell.