Celebrating 10 Years of Instagram

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Happy birthday, Instagram!

Can you believe it has been a decade since Instagram launched?

As the saying goes, you must evolve to stay relevant - and the platform has done exactly that. Let's look back in time and see how far the app has come from October 2010.

To dive deeper into the history of Instagram, keep reading.


October: The first ever pic

The Instagram app officially launches, gaining 25,000 users in a day. Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom uploaded the very first Instagram post of his golden retriever sitting at a taco stand, captioned ‘Test’. The picture was a sign of things to come, ten years later the total number of posts tagged #dog stands at 278m.


January: Hello hashtags

Instagram adds hashtags to help users discover both photographs and each other. The app encourages users to make tags both specific and relevant, rather than tagging generic words like "photo", to make content stand out and attract like-minded users. #love is Instagram's top hashtag of all time, with 1.824B posts.


April: Facebook buys Instagram

Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg buys Instagram for a billion dollars, despite the fact that Instagram had no revenue stream and was only 13 employees strong.  

June: Instagram goes Exploring

A new Explore Page section is added to the app, allowing users to find new accounts to follow or interesting content to engage with. It allows users to scroll through Instagram in a new way, not just by username or hashtag, but by content suggestions curated specifically to their interests.


May: Tagged photos

Instagram introduces photo tagging and a new ‘Photos of You’ tab on profiles, collating every tagged image of a user in the one spot.

June: Video sharing is added 

Remember when you could only upload images to the platform? That all changed when Instagram rolled out the option to upload videos of up to 15 seconds, allowing users to share even more creative content with their audiences.

December: Sliding into DMs

Instagram adds their DM feature that allows users to send photos, videos and texts directly to another account in the app. In 2014, after just seven months of being released, Instagram announced that its DM feature had surpassed 200 million monthly active users.


June: New editing tools released

This update to the image editing section allows users to not only add Instagram’s filters, but edit image characteristics like brightness, contrast, highlights, and shadows, all within the app.


September: Small screen ads

Instagram allows advertisers to share 30-second in-feed video ads - twice the 15-second limit given for users.


March: Minute video shares 

The advertiser's advantage didn't last for long. This latest update allows users to share videos to Instagram that are up to 60 seconds in length and we start to see some slicker productions.

May: Time for a revamp

The app introduced a new look including an updated icon and in-app design. These changes almost made the app unrecognizable but were updated to better reflect the creative community found on Instagram.

June: RIP chronological feed

Instagram switches from a chronological feed to an algorithmically-driven feed, based on the users interests and interactions. The change of in-feed content caused major controversy across the Instagram community.

August: Story feature launches

Instagram launches their own version of Stories. This game-changing feature allows users to upload photos or videos which disappear after 24-hours, similar to Snapchat Stories. Instagram Stories is now one of the app’s most popular features, with over 500 million daily users.

November: Instagram becomes shoppable

Looking to path their way into e-commerce, Instagram releases Shoppable Tags. Brands can now tag shoppable products in feed posts. When users click on the tag, it will allow them to view the item and pricing, also giving them the option to be taken to the brands website to purchase.

November: Instagram goes Live
    The Instagram Live feature is released allowing users to hold live broadcasts for up to one hour.


February: Carousel posts are enabled

The ideal update for indecisive users, carousels make it possible to share up to ten pieces of content in the one mini album post. Content can include both photos and videos.


June: The release of IGTV

  • Instagram doubles down on video with the launch of IGTV, a new video feature that allows users to upload long-form video content of up to 10 minutes.
  • Creators with larger audiences are able to upload hour long IGTVs.

June: Instagram hits one billion monthly active users

  • Instagram hits a major milestone, reaching one billion monthly active users, after passing 800 million in September 2017. Sitting third behind Facebook, which is the number one social media platform with 2.23 billion users and YouTube coming in at second with 1.9 billion users.


March: Checkout on Instagram

Instagram takes Shops to the next level and releases the checkout function. Now Instead of the 'View on Website' button when clicking on a shoppable tag, users can 'Checkout on Instagram’ enabling them to make quick and easy in-app purchases.

November: Hidden likes go global

The app’s test of hiding like counts from the public goes global. As part of a broader focus on user wellbeing, tests started in Canada, and made its way to Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and the US. Now, testing will run everywhere to a small percentage of users in every country around the globe. Only the owner of a post can view its like count.


May: The monetization of IGTV

Instagram announces it will allow creators to start making money directly off of IGTV. They confirm that ads will begin playing in IGTV videos for a selected 200 approved, english-speaking creator partners and select advertising partners, like IKEA and Sephora.  The app will be sharing an ‘industry standard’ 55% cut and aim to expand this group of 200 to more creators around the globe.

August: Instagram competes with TikTok

Instagram rolls out Reels, a short-form video feature that allows users create and discover short entertaining videos, of up to 30-seconds in length. Reels can be shared not only onto the creators feed, but also on the Explore Page which is where the Reels feed is found.