Rumours about the death of Instagram have been circulating for the last few years. Let’s dig into the truth behind it, looking at where the social media platform is today and where it’s headed. We will take into account all alternatives, perceptions and participation figures so that you can prepare and strategize accordingly.
The slow but steady rise in the number of people no longer growing and/or losing followers on Instagram has many of us wondering, “Is Instagram dead or dying?” Unfortunately, for most people reading this article, the answer is yes, but not for everyone, and not for the reasons you’d expect.
In 2019, the platform announced that it had over a billion monthly active users (MAUs). Since then they haven’t posted an update. Its annual growth fell to single digits in 2020 and eMarketer predicts there is no hope of recovery.
Among the frequent complaints is the increase in advertising, making the user experience much worse and which also in practice means that if one does not pay for an advertisement, it does not reach a new public. Nor does it offer an economic incentive to content creators, something that YouTube, TikTok, Twitch and now also Snapchat have already put into practice, which allows them to monetize directly for the content or through lives.
After being called out for borrowing all the innovations from Snapchat and trying to do the same with TikTok, Brock says that today Instagram is simply “a platform for taking selfies and presenting a perfect (and some would say distorted) reality.”
However, it will not be easy to beat: after 10 years in the market, it is still the preferred channel for content creators and brands, thanks to the fact that the platform has shown that it is capable of making changes that allow it to react to possible threats. which represents the competition.
But this time the challenge is enormous and the photo social network will have to find alternative and creative ways to continue captivating its users.
Many people hear this phrase and think that it means that Instagram as a company or product is failing miserably, and is one inconvenience away from going under. Let’s get one thing straight: that’s NOT what it means. The platform is definitely still growing, it still has tons of active users (1B+) and is still making a lot of money; Simply put, Instagram is doing very well on the surface. But while the numbers don’t lie, neither do I.
Instagram may still be seeing growth in the number of active users; however, it has been very slow growth since 2019 and has even dropped to single digits. You may not know much about the stock market, but even I understand that “slow growth” for a company that once kept the world in check, is a code word for “losing money.” With the platform’s future not exactly looking rosy, investors are starting to look elsewhere and leaving Instagram behind to fall on its own.
Why is Instagram dead?
When I talk to friends and read articles about why Instagram is dying, I see a wide range of responses like “it’s boring now” or “too crowded” or there are “too many ads” or “it feels like a waste of time” or it’s “too difficult to grow”.
Sentiments like these are widely shared and are definitely contributing factors, but in my experience, the reason Instagram is dying is different.
Like everything else about Instagram, the reason many more of its users are no longer growing or starting to lose followers can be explained by how its business model impacts the platform and more specifically, how it impacts the growth of its users, that is, in the growth of your account.
Although they claim to exist to “help connect people around the world and bring the world closer together,” like its parent company Facebook, Instagram is a for-profit company that exists to maximize profits for its shareholders, not to help you. to get closer to you. others.
They make money by capturing your attention and data through your use of the Instagram app (as well as all other apps owned by Facebook) and selling that attention and data to companies that pay them to show you ads.
Here is the owner of Facebook and Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg, explaining how they think about their mission and how they make money.
The more you use Instagram, the more attention and data they capture and sell, and the more they maximize profits for their shareholders. Because of this, everything they do revolves around building an app and brand that allows you to use Instagram as often as possible for as long as possible.
They tried too much too fast
The main purpose of Instagram has always been to share photos and videos, and that turned out to be a successful business idea from the very beginning of the app. However, shortly after the platform launched, a new competitor appeared and gave Instagram a run for its money: Snapchat.
If you’re not familiar with this social network (and let’s be fair, who isn’t), its main concept is to take photos and videos, which disappear after 24 hours. (Not) surprisingly, the platform received massive success, as users really seemed to like the idea of “disappearing posts”.
In an attempt to stay ahead of the game, Instagram tried to buy Snapchat, but their offer was rejected. So, they decided to just copy the competition and brought out “Instagram Stories” (ie exactly the same as Snapchat). His plan worked like a charm, as Instagram managed to succeed after the introduction of Stories and returned to the top of the social media podium. But this is where things went wrong.
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