Instagram officially launched 10 years ago, on Oct. 6th 2010. Since then, millions of us have been “Doing it for the Gram.” And this photo- and video-sharing app shows no signs of slowing down.
To mark the anniversary, we thought we would share some fun facts and history about one of the world’s most popular social media platforms. So whether you’re new to Instagram, or you’ve been a dedicated fan for years, we hope you enjoy this backgrounder!
To mark it’s 10th anniversary, Instagram also has a little surprise in the app. Enjoy!
What started exclusively as a photo sharing app loved by designers and artists has become one of the largest social media platforms in the world. Today, businesses and individuals upload millions of videos and photos every day to the grid, to Stories, or to IGTV. It has helped create an industry of “influencers” who make a living based on their posts. And if Twitter gave birth to the hashtag, Instagram was where they went forth and multiplied. (You can expect to see 10-15 hashtags on a post as a strategy to reach a greater audience. You can also follow specific hashtags).
In the Beginning
Originally, Systrom had started out working on an app called Burbn (think “bourbon”), which let friends know where you were or where you were headed so they could meet you there (and included virtual prizes for meeting up). By the time he had partnered with Krieger, they were both starting to wonder what problem the app was solving. After some brainstorming, they decided to pivot and create an app that would make it easier to upload photos, make them beautiful, and hare them on multiple networks. (Source: No Filter, The Inside Story of Instagram). This decision would change social media forever.
The first photo was uploaded to the app on July 16, 2010 by Systrom. Not surprisingly, it was a picture of a dogat a taco stand in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Systrom and his then girlfriend (now wife) Nicole Schuetz were on vacation at the time (and you can see her foot in the picture). At the time, the app was called “Codename.”
Where it is Today
Ten years on, Instagram is still the place to view beautiful and inspiring pics, follow your favourite celebrity, or find a community of your choice. But it has evolved beyond those early days of filtered photos to offer IGTV for longer-form videos, as well as Stories that allow you to upload pics that don’t make it to the grid (with Stickers, gifs and other engaging media). More recently, it introduced Shops on Instagram, which allows you to click-and-purchase directly in the app. What comes next is anyone’s guess.
- July 16, 2010: First-ever photo uploaded to the app
- Oct. 6, 2010: Date of public launch on iOS (April 2012 for Android)
- April 2012: Purchased by Facebook for $1 billion
- Nov. 1, 2013: Instagram runs its very first ad for Michael Kors
- Aug. 2, 2016: Instagram launches “Stories” – a Snapchat copycat feature
- June 20, 2018: Instagram launches IGTV
- Sept. 24, 2018: Systrom and Krieger announce they are stepping down
- Oct. 1, 2018: Adam Mosseri announced as new head of Instagram
- May 19, 2020: Shops on Instagram starts to roll out
- Aug. 5, 2020: Instagram introduces TikTok copycat Reels
Challenges and Issues
From its earliest days, Instagram has been trying to manage bullying, as well as posts about suicide, self-harm and body issues. In May 2020, it announced new features aimed at fighting online bullying, as well as a new feature called “Guides” that it hopes will encourage wellbeing. In 2019, Instagram banned images of self-harm.
- The majority of users worldwide are 34 years old or younger
- As of June 2018, it boasted more than 1 billion monthly active users, and 500 million daily active users
- The most followed Instagram account is… Instagram
- Instagram users browse for an average of 53 minutes per day
- Jack Dorsey, and co-founder of Twitter and founder of Square, was one of the earliest investors
- In the early days of the app, whenever Justin Bieber would post to Instagram, the high level of engagement would crash the servers
- The Guinness World Record for fastest time to reach one million followers was recently broken by Sir David Attenborough, who accomplished this in four hours and 44 minutes (32 minutes faster than Jennifer Aniston)