Facebook finds a billion reasons to invest in Instagram

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then surely an app full of them is worth a billion dollars?

In his bid to make the world a ‘more social place’, Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that Facebook has acquired social start-up Instagram for $1 billion. Put simply, Instagram allows you to take a photo on your iPhone (and more recently on Android), add a retro filter and then share it across a range of social media platforms.

It’s hard to argue with the logic here; one can’t ignore that photo sharing has quickly becoming the trend du jour. With the likes of Pinterest garnering more users by the day, capitalising on this growing trend makes sense. Some industry experts have slated the move as a means to eliminate the competition… if you can’t beat them, buy them? Although there is no financial gain to be made here for Facebook (at least not in the traditional sense) the real value is in growth potential the acquisition presents.

Some techsperts are also speculating that the move is going to strengthen Facebook’s underwhelming mobile apps offering. Probably best summed up by James Pearce, Facebook’s head of mobile developer relations, who said that if Facebook was built today, it would probably be on mobile.

But what about the issue of IP ownership? Is it safe to assume that Facebook now has control of all Instagram photos (pre-acquisition as well) and if so how will this get used? The thought alone is enough for many users to delete their current profiles and look for alternatives.

However way we choose to look at it; Instagram has grown immensely in popularity over the last few months cementing its position in the social media chain. And it is already starting to show its influence on media consumption – journalists and bloggers the world over are using apps like Instagram as a means of endorsement. Brands (big and small) have successfully leveraged the platform to their advantage, Starbucks for example has over 400,000 followers, while Red Bull uses it to enhance the brand’s energetic personality.

Are you utilizing Instagram for your work? If so, how – and does this change the way you’ll use the platform?


Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Text 100 Sydney blog, Digital Comms Down Under.

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