When Did Instagram Start? All You Need To Know!

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Jul 05, 2024

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You might be interested in knowing the history of Instagram. Over the past decade, Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms. In fact, it garnered over a million users within two months of its launch. Based on its global advertising audience reach figures, estimates have shown that Instagram now has over 1.4 billion users. However, many users do not know when the platform started. 

If you’re new to social media and want to get started, check out “How To Create an Instagram Page: An IG Newbie’s Easy Guide” for step-by-step instructions.

Despite its massive usage, many Instagram users do not think it necessary to study its history. It is common to meet popular Instagram influencers who do not have a grip on the platform’s history. But still, a few people may be curious about how and when the platform was built and launched. There have been many questions like “When did Instagram start?” So, here’s all you should know about the start of this social media giant! 

Silver iPhone 5S displaying Instagram Feed on its screen.

When Did Instagram Begin?

Many people debate whether Instagram vs. Twitter is the better platform for sharing updates and connecting with friends. To understand the history of Instagram’s ownership and key developments, you might find the article ‘Who Owns Instagram? A Timeline of Instagram’s Milestones‘ very informative. Due to Instagram’s overwhelming popularity, many users tend to assume that it has been operational for such a long time. However, only a few go back to ask, when did Instagram Begin? Instagram launched on October 6, 2010. But unfortunately, the application was only available on iOS devices after its launch. 

A black iPhone displaying Instagram’s login page on a browser.

Was It Called Instagram When It Was Created?

Instagram started as Burbn, an app meant to connect people around the globe. This aim was achievable by allowing individuals to create check-ins when they traveled to new locations. Along the way, the brain behind the idea, Kevin Systrom, got $500,000 in funding from venture firms. He eventually met Mike Krueger, joining heads to redesign the concept and build what is now known as Instagram.

The massive redesign of Burbn occurred because the founders had realized how similar it was to another mobile app, Foursquare. They also noticed that communication using images was getting more popular. Therefore, they chose the name Instagram from a combo of “Instant Camera” and “Telegram.”

Instagram’s first version was pretty simple. It allowed users to post pictures, like photos, drop comments, and follow others. At this point, the application was about publishing images taken on mobile devices, not about other content types. However, after the social media platform had grown considerably, the company began to add some features. The introduction of features like Instagram stories, Instagram shopping, Instagram reels, and many others occurred later. Additionally, Instagram Reels statistics reveal five key points about short videos.

When Did Instagram Start Its Later Improvements?

Many people ask, “when did Instagram start its newer features?” It was in 2011 that Instagram introduced its new application icon. This change came with many camera settings and adjustments within the application. The adjustments included the new Instagram filters and tricks, camera effects, and one-touch rotation. One thing that also fueled the popularity of phone phonographs was the improvement of phone cameras over the years. This factor further encouraged people to troop towards the use of Instagram. 

In April 2012, a significant change occurred in the Instagram space: the company brought the app to Android devices. This development allowed the company to explore another huge market. Within a month, there were over 50 million Instagram users on Android devices. This move further increased the strength of the platform.

The same year, Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock the same year. However, one essential provision was that an individual would manage the company. After the takeover, Instagram launched a website interface with limited features. A couple of years later, the company created an application compatible with the Amazon Fire Device. Another couple of years later, it introduced an app for Microsoft Windows computers and Tablets. 

Since Instagram started and Facebook took over, they have made considerable efforts to accentuate its features. By 2013, the platform no longer supported only images, now allowing users to share and post videos. The company eventually launched features like Instagram Direct and Instagram Live, opening business growth avenues. 

When Did Instagram Stories Start?

Many Instagram features that appeal the most to users were unavailable during its earlier years. The company added most of these functions along the line. Many modern features of the application came after Facebook took over in 2012. For instance, Instagram Stories is a highly-used feature on the app. So, when did Instagram Stories start?

When Did Instagram Start Stories?

When Instagram started Stories in August 2016, it allowed users to take pictures, add layers and effects, and upload them to the platform. These stories then disappear after 24 hours. Many users noted that this feature was very similar to Snapchat, an assertion that Instagram’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, did not deny. He went on to insist that features on most applications have roots somewhere in the history of tech. Nonetheless, several additions followed after its launch.

First, this feature allowed users to add multiple photos to their Instagram stories. Then, users could pause stories to look at them for as long as they wanted. Instagram Stories also allowed users to rewind media, increasing convenience and boosting the user experience. Eventual updates allowed users to change the background colors of their Instagram stories. That is your answer if you’ve been asking, “when did Instagram Stories start?”

When Did Instagram Start Making Improvements on Stories?

Just like all the other characteristics of this application, Instagram Stories underwent massive redesign and evolution. One essential upside to this evolution is it became easier for business owners to collaborate with other brands on the social media platform. 

When Instagram started the Stories feature, the company added a live video feature. This feature allowed its user base to make live broadcasts. One perk was that these video broadcasts disappeared after 24 hours. Then, five years later, Instagram launched shippable ads where images and short videos appeared between different stories. 

The next Instagram updates saw Instagram Stories carry augmented reality stickers. This was another feature cloned from Snapchat in April 2017. The company expanded the Augmented Reality sticker functionality to work with face filters one month later. This now allowed users to include special visual effects on their faces in photos and videos. 

In May 2017, Instagram announced the launch of “story search.” This allowed users to search for geographical locations or hashtags and get related content, including public stories. Next, the platform revised Instagram Stories’ live video feature, allowing users to respond to them. Stories became available on Instagram’s desktop and mobile sites a few months later. 

Later, the platform launched “Story Highlights” or “Permanent Stories.” These are accessible from the desktop website and appear under the profile picture. These have also become quite popular because users can create their covers for their Instagram Story Highlights. Today, about 13 years after when Instagram started, over a billion people now use Instagram Stories. 

When Did Reels Start On Instagram?

Over the past few years, short-form video content has become more popular. Many businesses have turned to short-form video content while looking to make ads and promotional content. TikTok had already created a space around this service, allowing its users to record short videos preset to sound clips. Eventually, Instagram dived into the trend, introducing a similar feature called Reels. But when did reels start on Instagram?

Person browsing through Instagram with a phone on a table

When Did Instagram Start Allowing Short-form Video Content?

Instagram rolled out its reels on August 5, 2020. Amid much speculation, the social media giant introduced the feature while explaining how it works and how to interact with it. Don’t forget that one year before, there were reports that Instagram was piloting a new video feature in Brazil. However, the reports insisted that the feature expanded to Germany and France shortly afterward.

Instagram introduced reels in July 2020 after India banned TikTok. The next month, the company officially released this feature in 50 countries covering the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. In addition, the social media company recently added a reel button to the website’s home page.

The recent study sparked a heated debate among parents and educators about whether Instagram or TikTok is safer for protecting our teens online.

Instagram reels allow users to record and edit multi-clip videos with effects, audio, and creative tools. When Instagram started reels, users could only make videos that were 15 seconds long. However, users can now make videos that are 30, 45, or 60 seconds long. Users can share reels with their followers on their feed; nonetheless, reels from public profiles can appear in Explore. Read: Instagram Reels: Everything About the Bite-Sized Videos.

Since its introduction, social media marketers have emphasized the efficiency of Instagram Reels in marketing. In addition to that, Reels have become a proven way of getting more Instagram followers and growing accounts. Regularly posting captivating reels is one of Instagram’s best organic growth strategies

How Can I Create Reels on Instagram?

To create reels on Instagram, choose reels at the bottom of the application’s camera. The app’s screen will display different creative editing tools on the left. You’ll now have to select:

  • The audio, which you can choose from the Instagram library. You can also share a reel with its original audio, which Instagram will attribute to you.
  • Augmented Reality effects, which include ones from Instagram and different creators.
  • Timer and countdown, allowing for a hands-free recording.
  • Align to allow you to make seamless transitions from previous clips for activities like changing outfits.
  • Speed, which includes slowing down or speeding up your video or audio.

You can record reels in multiple clips or at a go or by using videos from your device. While recording, a progress indicator at the top of the screen shows how far you’ve gone.

When Did Instagram Shopping Launch?

Marketing is an important part of digital companies and social media platforms. Over the years, these companies have developed ways to provide such services to their users. Of course, Instagram has caught up, as it has recently introduced features such as Instagram shopping. Now, when did Instagram shopping launch?

Person using Instagram on a Samsung Galaxy S8 close to a Macbook

In May 2020, Instagram launched Instagram Shopping. The company noticed that many businesses faced many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, switching their models of business to selling online was quite difficult. “Today, we’re announcing a new shopping experience to keep business going,” the announcement stated. 

When Instagram started its shopping feature, its design was a full-screen, immersive storefront allowing businesses to grow their brands. The shop also helps businesses push the discovery of their products. 

The Instagram shopping feature allows active users to access a shop from a business’s Instagram profile, feed, and stories. Next, users can explore collections, browse products, and buy products through Instagram’s inbuilt browser. Businesses using Instagram’s Checkout option will now attract an extra sales charge. So this particular feature offers another revenue stream for the social media company. 

This checkout feature allows users to select options such as color or size when purchasing. In addition, a user can enter their name, shipping address, billing information, and email. After purchase, the user receives notifications about delivery and shipment inside the app. 

Apart from Instagram shops, there are other ways of shopping on the app. These include:

  • Instagram Stories
  • Instagram Feed
  • Instagram Explore
  • Instagram Live
  • Instagram Reels
  • Instagram Direct

Through its policy on purchase protection, the company protects purchases made on Instagram Shopping. Also, note that this policy covers purchases made through other features on the platform.

When Did Ads Start On Instagram?

Ads have become a way to grow accounts, reach more people, and showcase products and services on social media. Due to their massive usage, ads are now a major income stream for most platforms. So, users may be wondering what ads Instagram has and when did ads start on Instagram?

When Did Instagram Begin Its Ads?

For almost four years since when Instagram first launched, the company has been doing very well. So, in October 2013, Instagram announced that picture and video ads would appear in feeds for US users. The first image ad appeared on November 1, 2022, while video ads came a year later. When Instagram started ads, it first rolled out in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom in June 2014.

In 2015, the social media company introduced carousel ads. This type of ad permitted advertisers to display many images while linking them to additional content. Instagram introduced carousel image ads in October 2015; video carousel ads appeared in March 2016. Instagram had over 200,000 advertisers in May 2016; the number grew to 500,000 in September 2016. 

When Did Instagram Start Updating Its Ads?

In May 2016, the company introduced new tools for business accounts. These included analytics, business profiles, and the chance to promote posts like ads. The analytics page allowed business profiles to see their top posts, impressions, reach, demographics, and engagement. This evolution has now allowed businesses to use Instagram ads for E-Commerce

Many inquiries have been like, “when did Instagram start enhancing its ads?” The later development of Instagram ads allowed businesses to include product links directing users to purchase pages. Finally, launching the Instagram Checkout feature allowed businesses to sell products directly on the Instagram app.

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