Instagram is a popular social media platform that allows users to share photos and videos. It is widely used by people of all ages to share their personal lives and connect with others. Today there are over 1 billion users on the platform and is used worldwide.
It has also become an important tool for all businesses to market their products and services. Today there are over 200 million businesses on Instagram, making it one of the largest online channels.
1. The History of Instagram
It was in the year 2010, when Instagram’s first prototype was built, and it was called Burbn. It was built by two friends, Kevin System and Mike Krieger when they met at Stanford. Kevin came up with the idea of Burbn when after two years of working at Google he decided to join a small startup that had an app that used location recommendations, similar to FourSquare.
Kevin started to think what if he could combine a check-in app like FourSquare and turn it into a social media game, and that is exactly how it all started. After they both built the first version of Burbn, Kevin went on a summer vacation to Italy with his girlfriend and noticed that she didn’t want to post photos online because they didn’t look good enough. This is where he got the idea of photo editing and filters. Kevin and Mike decided to pivot and change their focus to solely photo sharing and editing, take everything else out, and relaunch it with a new name, Instagram.
They received their first investment of $500,000 from VC’s and off they went. Two years later in 2012, after extreme growth, Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion.
Fast-forward 10 years and today Instagram has more than a billion users and is worth over $110 billion.
2. How does Instagram work?
Instagram is a photo and video sharing app. Users can upload their photos or videos, be able to edit them with filters, and share them with their followers. They are also able to view, like, and comment on photos and videos that are posted by people they follow, all of which are shown on their personalized newsfeed.
Instagram allows users to explore content using hashtags or geolocation tags. Additionally, Instagram also has a feature called stories that let users post photos or videos, of which will disappear after 24 hours.
3. Features of Instagram
So what are the main features of Instagram? Here are the most important ones, as well as the ones that you should include in your photo-sharing app:
- Ability to create a profile, add your bio, and other information
- Upload photos and videos to your wall
- Tag people and add hashtags on posts
- Ability to edit and add filters to photos and videos
- Personalized newsfeed to see other users’ content
- Ability to like, comment, and follow content
- Direct messaging
- Explore page to see content you might be interesting in
- Instagram Reels and IGTV
- E-Commerce integration
- Internal and push notifications
- Search tool
- Stories that disappear after 24 hours
- Live video streaming with followers
4. Instagram Tech Stack
- Framework: React Native
- Framework: React Native
- Frameworks: Django and React for Web
- Frameworks: NodeJS, Express 5.0
- Database: PostgreSQL, Cassandra
- Server: Amazon Web Services EC2 (AWS)
- Login: Facebook SDK
- Storage: Amazon S3
- Notifications: Google Cloud Messaging for Android and Apple Push Notification Service for iOS
5. The process of building an App
In order to build an app like Instagram, you would want your app to stand out.
Listed below are a couple of critical factors that should be taken into consideration when working on the MVP of your own app.
Think About Your Main Objective
Instagram has evolved, and it’s not just a photo-sharing app anymore. Prior to starting development for your app, list down the main objectives you want your app to have in addition to sharing photos, whether it is the ability to share videos, ecommerce-related features, and so on.
Thoroughly Research The Market
Before working on your app, do thorough market research to see how your Instagram-like app will do in the world of photo-sharing apps. Think about which version you should launch first. For instance, should you launch for iOS, Android, or both at the same time?
Get In Touch With A Development Team
Hiring the right development team is highly important. These are the people who will bring your app to life. Your team should include people who are skilled in the following tasks:
- UI/UX design
- App development
- Project Management
Promote Your New App
Your digital marketing team will help you in this area when it comes to attracting new users. Hence, you should hire people who are highly qualified in this area. Plus, you should also include special deals and use referrals in order to attract new users through your existing users.
Grow Daily Active Users
Without daily active users (DAU), your app will never get a chance to grow. It is important to figure out how you can keep your users active and engaging, so that your app can be successful. For example, Instagram influencers are constantly active on the photo-sharing app, and they are also known as high profile users. So how can you get them on your own app instead? Investing in effective marketing and great PR programs is a good start to help attract users.
Increase User Involvement and Retention
Once you have a couple of thousand people using your app, how can you keep them so that you can build a loyal community? Providing great-quality editing tools for them to keep them busy and constantly working on further improving these tools is one of the way to keep these users coming back for more. Furthermore, you can send push notifications whenever there is an update available for your app. You can also encourage monetization for users who are looking to sell their products through your app, similar to how Instagram does it.
Make sure you don’t exactly copy and paste everything that Instagram is doing. You want your app to be different yet focused on branding and design.
6. How will you monetize?
The success of any business is measured by its revenue. For you to be able to get the maximum ROI from your app, it is important that you start looking into how you will be monetizing your users.
Instagram relies heavily on advertising as their main business model. Third-party companies pay them to show ads in your feed and in between stories.
7. How much does it cost to build an app like Instagram?
The cost of creating an app that functions like Instagram depends upon the type of app you are looking to develop. On average, it can start from $100,000-$1,000,000. This also depends on who you are hiring, where they are located, the skill level of the UI/UX designers, app developers, project managers, and the rest of the team.
8. Final Thoughts
In the end, make sure that you are up-to-date on your competition as well. Stay alert regarding what’s happening in the market and the current trends. This will help you in improving your own product, so you can satisfy the needs of your users.
Instagram has taken a simple photo-sharing feature and turned it into an essential part of everyone’s digital life when it comes to social networking. However, it is not impossible to achieve what the creators of Instagram have done. With proper planning and hiring the right people, you too can have a photo-sharing app that might end up being the next Instagram.
If you are interested in developing an app like Instagram, you can always contact us to help you build it.