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History of Instagram: Evolution of the Social Media Giant


Plixi Team

Dec 28, 2023 11 min read

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The history of Instagram shows how just a few passionate developers can grow a billion-dollar company. In this article, we’ll take you through the start of the social media platform to where it is today. 

Furthermore, we’ll look at the brief history of Instagram with regard to different features. This includes the algorithm, likes, followers, and the logo. Each one has a fascinating development that builds a clearer picture of how the site and app evolved. 

Also, read to the end of the article for details on how Plixi can aid in growing your Instagram account. We’re an established and reputable Instagram growth service with many satisfied customers.

History of Instagram: Evolution of the Social Media Giant

What Is the History of Instagram?

Do you want to know what the history of Instagram is? The story read somewhat like a fairy tale, with the company gaining massive momentum very fast. It launched in October 2010 on Apple’s mobile operating system. 

Only two years later, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock. Therefore, Instagram is one of the fastest-growing companies in history. It continues to be one of the most visited websites in the world today. 

Let’s break down this story into smaller parts to look at the history of Instagram in more detail. 

Kevin Systrom and Burbn

A 27-year-old Stanford University graduate in 2009 was working at Nextstop. This was a startup based on travel recommendations. However, Systrom also had a history of working at Google. 

The young man didn’t have formal training in computer science, but during his spare time, coding was his passion. He learned the required skills to build an app called Burbn, which enabled users to post plans and share photos. You could say that this was the first iteration of Instagram. Overall, the app was unique at the time and certainly a first of its kind. 

Venture Capital Funding

In March of 2010, Kevin Systrom went to a party where he met two venture capitalists. They were from the firms Andreessen Horowitz and Baseline Ventures. The meeting concluded with Kevin deciding to leave his job and focus on his Burbn app. That’s because he managed to secure $500,000 in funding during the meeting.

The funds also allowed him to bring on new team players, including Mike Krieger, a 25-year-old. He was also a Stanford graduate and used to work on Meebo, which is a social media platform.

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Move To a Photo-Sharing App

Once Krieger joined the fray, the pair decided to pivot the direction of Burbn to a photo-sharing app. They mainly wanted to focus on photos that were taken on mobile devices. At this time, the quality of smartphone cameras was improving rapidly. 

They looked at the industry-leading photo-sharing apps of the time and found Hipstamatic. The app had stand-out features because of its ability to share photos with social media platforms. They concluded that releasing an app that bridged between Facebook and Hipstamaitc would be ideal. 

iOS App Was Launched

On October 6th, 2010, they finally launched the Instagram app, and in a single day, it received 25,000 users. Consequently, the app had 100,000 downloads within its first week of operation. These are impressive numbers, and by the middle of December, the app had 1 million users. 

The timely release of the iPhone 4 somewhat spurred the mind-boggling fast growth. The device has a significantly improved camera, which is ideal for photo-sharing websites like Instagram. 

Multiple Funding Events

The investor interest grew rapidly after Instagram’s successful launch. In fact, during the Series A funding round, the app managed to acquire $7 million in funding. Benchmark Capital was one of the investors who, at the time, valued Instagram to be worth around $25 million. 

However, despite the large amount of funding, Krieger and Systrom decided it was best to keep the company small. Then Twitter’s Jack Doresy made an offer to buy the company for $500 million, which was declined.

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History of Facebook and Instagram

Would you like to know the history of Facebook and Instagram? Instagram had 27 million active users by April 2012 and was released on Android. This resulted in 1 million new downloads on day one. That’s impressive and indicates Android users were eagerly awaiting its release on their platform. At this time, the company was awaiting another round of funding and had a valuation of around $500,000. 

Also, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, and Systrom were in talks at this time. This ultimately led to Facebook making an offer of $1billion in April of 2022. This included a key provision that the company would be independently managed. 

Then, in November 2012, Facebook created a limited feature website for Instagram. 

History of Instagram Algorithm

Are you interested to learn about the history of Instagram algorithms? Like most large websites nowadays, Instagram uses an algorithm for the search results. This dictates what posts are popular on the platform and which are getting less attention. 

Instagram’s algorithm is based on metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and content relevance. However, upon launching the app in 2010, there was no algorithm. Instead, the app sorted posts from friends in chronological order. This was from newest to oldest. At the time, this was good enough since the content on the website was limited. 

However, by 2017, the algorithm evolved rapidly and started to look at factors like:

  • Engagement
  • Time spent
  • Relevancy
  • Sharing
  • Connections
  • Search History
  • Timeliness

2018 Instagram Algorithm Update

Then, in 2018, the Instagram algorithm made a few updates to ensure that engagement was a bigger ranking factor. Instagram Stories launched with this historic update. Here are a few tips that are applicable to the latest Instagram algorithm version:

  • Quality: Posting quality content naturally leads to the highest engagement metrics. This means more likes and shares. Therefore, you can expect the quality posts to rank higher. 
  • Relevancy: Since the Instagram algorithm rewards relevancy, you need to consider the target audience. Make sure to post content that the audience wants to see. Instagram aims to only suggest relevant posts to users based on their viewing history. 
  • Interactive: Posts with higher interactivity are naturally naked better. This means getting involved in the comment section is a great idea. You can answer questions or ask other Instagram users for their opinions.
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History of Likes on Instagram

The history of likes on Instagram started with the heart icon back in 2010. Double-tapping the heart icon was a user’s way of leaving a like. This was a way of showing they liked the post. However, at the time, the Instagram algorithm did not use the interaction to rank posts. 

However, the Instagram user base wanted more ways to express their reaction to a post. Therefore, Instagram moved to emojis 2016, which allows users to hold the like button and choose an emoji. The personalized way to express an opinion went down well with the Instagram user base. 

However, in recent years, Instagram launched a trial to remove the like count. Instead, you could see that a friend’s account and others liked it. The goal was to reduce the pressure of getting a high like count for your posts. However, this idea received massive backlash from the Instagram community. After all, getting a high like count is a way to compete against other posts and keep score. 

How To Increase Instagram Likes

Now that you know about the history of Instagram likes, let’s consider a few strategies for getting more per post:

  1. Ask for the like: You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the increase in likes if you simply ask for them. This reminds users that they should leave a like. Some viewers simply forget or don’t make it a priority. That’s especially true when viewing many posts in a short time. 
  2. Increase content quality: Improve the quality of your content, and you’ll naturally get more likes. That’s because users will want to show appreciation for the quality content.
  3. Run like-based content: You could create content that tries to reach a certain number of likes. For example, when an account reaches 100,000 likes, you may deliver a specific type of special content. This usually gets more likes than the average post and can receive a lot of attention from the IG algorithm. 
  4. Meme or trend: Content that creates a meme or trend can go viral and get a massive number of viewers. More views mean more likes, and it can create a snowball effect for growth. 
  5. Analyze posts: Make sure to use software like Instagram Insights to analyze highly liked posts. You may spot the winning ingredients that allow you to recreate the success. 
  6. Hashtag strategy: Make sure to use a good Instagram hashtag strategy to increase the views. More viewers lead to a higher overall like count. However, don’t add too many hashtags since it can lead to the content looking like spam. 

History of Instagram Followers

When considering the history of Instagram followers, you need to pay attention to the rate of growth and time taken. Considering the follower history of an account can provide a number of different benefits. Instagram added the follower feature right from the beginning. It allows you to connect with friends or follow the accounts of people that you are interested in. 

Are you interested in getting more Instagram followers? Here are a few tips for how you can boost your Instagram follower count:

  • Optimize profile: When Instagram users consider following an account, they start by examining the profile. Therefore, you need to have a good profile image and description. Also, users can pin one of their Instagram Stories to their profile page to add more content. 
  • Ask for a follow: You can use posts to ask users to follow your account to receive similar content. This may increase the follower count rate from each piece of content you release on Instagram. 
  • Consistent post calendar: Make sure to have a consistent content release schedule to get more viewers. Also, you can schedule content ahead of time with Instagram scheduling tools
  • Promote your account: You can increase the follower growth rate by sharing your IG account on other platforms. This includes your website, email list, and social media profiles. This strategy works particularly well when you have a large following on other digital platforms. 
  • Target the content: It’s important to release content that’s interesting to your target audience. This ensures that current followers will not click the unfollow button, and you’ll get additional new followers.
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History of Instagram Logo

Are you interested in the history of the Instagram logo? The initial version of the IG logo was one of a Polaroid OneStep camera. At first, the logo was a big hit and made sense for the brand. However, as Instagram grew, it needed a more unique logo that didn’t depend on Polaroid cameras. After all, technology goes out of fashion or becomes redundant. 

It wasn’t until 2016 that the company first introduced the current version of the Instagram logo. The idea was to retain an image of a camera yet make it far more simple. This created the logo of a round square with a smaller circle in the upper right-hand corner. 

Also, they chose a bright color scheme since the rainbow was a treasured part of the original logo. The logo works because it is simple and stands out in the marketplace. Also, it captures the vibe of the platform, which is casual, fun, and creative.

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Is Instagram Here To Stay?

To conclude, Instagram is one of the more popular social media platforms and continues to show growth. This suggests that the platform is here for the long haul and is unlikely to go anywhere for decades. 

Now that you know the history of Instagram, you can appreciate the quality of the platform today. It didn’t always have its current features and robust app. Instagram continues to innovate by constantly adding new features, thus giving you more options to publish content. 

Are you looking for strategies to grow your Instagram account? Then, take advantage of the services provided here at Plixi. We provide a combination of an in-house algorithm and Instagram influencers to target specific audiences. So what are you waiting for? Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today.

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