Instagram

App breakdown / Case Study

So, what is Instagram?

According to Wikipedia, Instagram is an American photo and video sharing social networking service.

The app allows users to upload photos and videos, which can be edited with filters and organized with tags and location information. Posts can be shared publicly or with pre-approved followers. Users can browse other users’ content by tags and locations, and view trending content. Users can like photos and follow other users to add their content to a feed.

Hmm, sounds simple, a photo and video sharing service but how did this simple idea of photo and video sharing become such a big phenomenon?

What I think, led to the success of Instagram was that it fulfilled the Mc Clelland trio of needs.

Need for power

Instagram changed the concept of friends to followers, now someone could follow you and you could follow or not him/her back. What this led to was the birth of influencers.
This followers/following became a mark of power, if you have more followers, you have more power.
This was not the case with friends(Facebook), this basic difference made the platform very addictive.

Need for achievement

The like button, so simple but so revolutionary, this one-button has made us so addicted to social media.
Oh, someone likes your photo, oh, someone commented on your video.
This makes us feel validated, having a good number of likes and comments on our post is an achievement.
You can find loads of articles on the web talking about the right time to post to get the maximum likes, the right time to post to get the maximum engagement.

Need for affiliation

After all, it’s a social networking service, it’s made for people to interact with one another. Just open the app and you have the news feed where you can interact with your friends. Seen all the news feed? Open the explore section and you have an endless supply of content, from people you don’t even know.
Human beings have a need for socializing. We are social animals. Apes, together, strong. And Instagram makes sure that we socialize, for hours every day (notice the sarcasm, lol).


Other than all the above-mentioned reasons, one app-feature, in my opinion, played a major role in Instagram’s success.

*Filter*, Everyone wants to look good, everyone wants to hide their imperfections. Instagram was one of the first social media apps to have built-in photo editing filters.

Want to look good? *filters*. Want to get more likes? *filters*. Want to get more followers? *filters*.

These days using filters has become such a common phenomenon that when someone posts a photo without any filters, they especially mention it, #nofilters.

Instagram has come a long way, it’s success has been instrumental in shaping the world of social media, it would be very interesting to see what the company’s plans are for the future, with new players such as TikTok joining the competition.


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