Instagram Growth Hacking

It seems to us, will close the Instagram topic in terms of growth hacks. Further 3 opinions from 3 independent experts who are familiar with the Instagram story firsthand. The material is very detailed and quite long. And we hope you will read.

The 23rd user was MG Siegler, who wrote two articles about them on TechCrunch before launch, one on launch day, one week later, and many more after. Being friends with one of the best tech journalists in the world absolutely won't hurt you.

All 23 users who joined in front of me had already uploaded photos, and 21 of them are still active. The people who were invited to participate in the closed testing were definitely potential users of the application. I think that Instagram has a higher ratio of active users to registered users than other popular social networks such as Twitter, for example. Posting a photo you like is much easier than coming up with an interesting tweet.

Being a mobile application, Instagram turned out to be word of mouth as one of the most active viral channels. to view and share photos, your friends had to install the app, and the first publication they showed off their best photo.

Instagram has implemented the ability to broadcast to the already popular Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and even Foursquare. In addition, it was unique content that was broadcast intentionally and did not represent an automatic broadcast of boring activities on some third-party site.

At that time, users only had a complex and difficult to use Facebook application, in which only patient geeks managed to publish photos from the iPhone, which most people still are not. Instagram photos were popular not only because of their cool filters, but also because users used the Instagram application to upload the most relevant photos to Facebook in real time.

It was not only a simple and easy-to-use application, but also a community and a service. For comparison, there was such a project DailyBooth with a similar simple and convenient user interface, in which more than 3 million photos were uploaded and more than 10,000,000 comments were left, where teenagers posted photos of themselves (from the front camera) and the service was closed (no integration). In general, it closed. Instagram allows you to share what is happening in your life around you right now, just like Twitter, but instead of text - a photo. People shared photos of what they saw around them, not just photos of themselves.

The same "wow" effect occurred after the first use of the application. High speed of work, beautiful photos (including due to the filter), and behind them are interesting people, their eyes.
There was intrusive feedback from other users who expressed their "like", followed by an automatic pop-up notification, to which the author of the photo responded with pleasure and returned to the application. oldschool facebook But unlike the “like” on Facebook at the time, this action did not follow all comments on the post / photo you liked. (Yes, yes, it really happened on Facebook. Moreover, you can now observe this difference in the case of comments. If you leave a comment on Facebook, you will receive a notification about the comments left after yours, but Instagram does not).
The presence of influential internet figures, good photographers and a very strong active community before launch. Many early Instagram users had hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, who accordingly regularly saw photos of these users from Instagram. In addition, promoters of popular Internet projects can be useful as investors (Jack Dorsey / Twitter became an Instagram investor in February 2011).

The application was easy to learn, and in this way it was very different from the majority. Newly registered users on the popular photos page could admire the beautiful photos of the application users and express their “like”, and they could easily publish their photos and share them with their friends on other social networks. You could use one of several available filters in one click. Despite the fact that then there was already the Hipstamatic application (the link is a very interesting material about the hard life of this project), but it was very slow and did not have any social functions, and the most illogical - you had to first select a filter, and then a photo.
Top positions in the App Store contributed to the distribution of the application, but in turn it was achieved using the mechanisms described above.

Andy Johns, Partner at Unusual Venturesat, Working Quora (formerly Facebook, Twitter), is responsible for user growth, marketing and developer communications.

There was no secret ingredient that could clearly affect growth. Everything that happens is not too surprising, in fact. Scaling up to 100+ million users in 2 years is already common today, but of course with an amazing product. The analysis below confirms my assumption that there was no magic in the first place, that a great product + a little bit of luck + dominance in the App Store in the first place contributed to their market capture and constant growth.

Andy believes that there are seven main elements when building a Growth flywheel in software. Six of them are understandable, and Andy will introduce them in detail below. One ingredient is something the founder (only the founder) can know. This is the "secret seasoning" that makes your community stand out from other communities, and is your unique innovation.

Here’s the full set of seven ingredients: ‍

(1)  Basic flywheel design (flywheel 1.0): A high-level description of how your community acquires users, lets them consume content, converts certain users into content creators, and how new content brings new traffic and new users.

(2) Consumer flywheel design (flywheel 2.0): This product is an auxiliary flywheel used to increase the rate of content consumed in the community. ‍

(3) Creative flywheel design (flywheel 3.0): The third-level flywheel used by the product to increase the speed of content creation in the community. ‍

(4) A "cold start" solution: a strategy that injects initial momentum on the flywheel by identifying early adopters and enticing them to become the first creators in the community.

(5) Audit and quality control: Human-based and software-based solutions that can maintain high-quality content creation and high-quality user interaction. ‍

(6) Beach grabbing and vertical expansion: Establish a strategy for initial users and content grabbing, as well as methods for expanding to user adjacency and new content verticals.

(7) "Secret Seasoning": A unique "hookup" that makes your community attractive, fun and worthy of interacting with, and will entice users to abandon other communities to support your community.

Let’s jump into each, how they work, and what you can do about them in blog Andy Johns

No Secret Ingredient, Only Top App Store

From Mike Krieger's presentation on Instagram at Airbnb tech talks (see the presentation here) we know that the app had 25,000 installs on its first day. This is the number of installs usually accounted for  top apps in the App Store.

It is clear that Apple and Google are interested in showcasing unique applications. This is Apple's mutually beneficial marketing strategy for iOS's relationship with developers. Bump is a good example of such interaction, the popularity of this application is a direct confirmation of this, and the application itself allowed only the transfer of data from one phone to another through their physical interaction (contact). Bump is an example of an application that reflected at its best the hardware capability in the latest (at that time, of course) version of a smartphone.

Instagram has created something unique with photography and the result of the interaction of this feature of smartphones with filters and all other micro and macro systems, which also deserves support from the App Store. It was rumored that Instagram was persuaded not to build its own Android app for quite some time, for which they received "perks" from Apple. A simple and straightforward deal, but still rumored. That doesn't seem too unlikely given the nature of the rival Google and Apple.

Let's take a look at some data

I would very much like to take the rumor about an agreement on mutually beneficial terms seriously, looking at the data from the App Store analysis. Let's take a look together.

App Annie data shows how Instagram rankings in the App Store have changed over time. According to these statistics, Instagram was ranked # 2 in the Photos & Videos category and # 70 in the US App Store overall rankings from day one.

Since mid-May 2011, it has consistently entered the top 30 of the overall rating and, accordingly, maintains its top position in the “photo and video” category (note, these are statistics for the US audience only). This kind of picture in the App Store can only be explained by the wild excitement in the early days and persistent traction. Traction is a characteristic of a successful startup. This is a natural attraction due to the support and loyalty of the audience, a direct indicator of market demand for a product. This could also explain the growth to 100 million registered users in such a short time.

Here is a "clean" look at the growth in the number of registered users obtained from the infographic: Instagram 2012 (there is also other interesting information, but we will not consider it here)

At first, the growth rate is high, this is a natural rate at launch, since we start from values ​​close to zero. Next, we can observe an explosion in early April 2011, where I made the assumption that this is due to the application being in the top 25 of the overall App Store rating. The next spike in growth comes in April 2012, when the Android app was published.

I propose to return to one of my clarifications that I considered the US market. It is possible that the answer to my doubts (if you can call them that - errors) may be the availability of the application in 25+ languages. For comparison, Facebook audience by country and penetration into them looks like this:

Unfortunately, I don't think there is anything groundbreaking in the Instagram story that can be adopted to go to market. Well, at least nothing that is tactical. For example, as it did with Facebook: college after college social network connection, which turned out to be original and effective. But if you're wondering how to set up an explosive start, what traction is and how to build it, then this should seem like a pretty educational study. At the bottom, this material is a lesson on "how to build an amazing product that millions will want to use" and what platforms need to be supported.

It's just a  the Content Flywheel  well described in many posts.

(1) Acquisition: How to attract users into the community (for example, they register)
(2) Consumption: a mechanism to promote content consumption (such as news sources)
(3) Creation: A mechanism that induces users to create content (such as social status).
(4) Gain / Harvest: How does the creation of new content bring more inbound growth (such as SEO)

These elements represent the general building blocks of the content flywheel.


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