Timeline: 10 years of Instagram

To help celebrate the app's 10th birthday, we're taking you a trip down memory lane.

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. From adding hashtags to releasing Reels, there have been some major milestones and updates throughout the years. How many can you remember?



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 US 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  

This update allows users to share videos to Instagram that are up to 60 seconds in length.


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 unrecognisable, but were updated to better reflect the creative community found on Instagram.


June: RIP chronological feed

Instagram switches from a chronological feed to an algotherically-driven feed, based on the users interests and interactions. The major change of when users would receive 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 post, including 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 it’s like count, their followers can only see a generic ‘Liked by…’ text under posts.




January: DM’s hit the Web 

Instagram finally brings direct messages to the Web. Users will be able to access their DMs from Instagram’s website, which will be useful for both businesses and creators, while also improving the app’s overall experience across devices.


May: The monetization of IGTV 

Instagram confirms that in the coming weeks, ads will begin popping up in IGTVs 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 with this selected few, with a goal to expand this group of 200 to more creators around the globe.

June: Instagram Live Badges arrive

In May, Instagram confirmed that Live Badges will begin testing in June for a small group of creators and businesses, with it expanding across the US, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain, and Mexico, over the coming months. This update will allow Live viewers to purchase badges in order to support the creator, who will be able to generate another avenue of income.


July: Pinning comments

After testing started back in May, Instagram now gives all users the option to pin up to three comments on posts. 


August: Instagram’s response to 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.


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