Why Android is Perfectly Suited to Instagram’s Business Model

Posted on April 3, 2012

From Instagra.am

Today Instagram launched the Android version of their extremely popular iPhone application.

Instagram was the application that really made filtered photographs popular and accessible to inexpert iPhone photographers. The app itself is successful due to its stunning results, its simple sharing with Facebook and twitter, and its own internal social network of Instagram users.

So, for example, you could add to your photo feed pictures from around Montréal, or your friends from Montréal or around the world so that you can see what pictures they are taking. Each time you open Instagram you can check out their photos and add your own to the timeline. It’s another great way to keep up with what your friends are doing.

If you look at Instagram’s business model, it’s all about building a big audience and selling access to it. There are no pay-per-use features or in-app purchases in Instagram. This kind of ‘give it for free and monetize the scale’ business model can work just fine on Android as well as iOS because it is all about scale. Both platforms can in theory give access to this large scale.

Generally speaking, it is very difficult to directly monetize Android applications compared with iOS applications.

So you would have thought that, having seen the success of Instagram on iOS, Android developers would have moved quickly and built a version for Android. It appears not. According to an article I read earlier, (apologies – I didn’t save it) there are few competitors on the platform that come close to Instagram.

So here is Instagram, on Android, and I’m sure they will do very well on this platform too. Android is a great ecosystem for Instagram’s business model. Watch out for the coming monetization!

One thing to note for anyone interested in developing an Android application is that there have been reports that due to fragmentation, the application doesn’t work perfectly on all devices. A look at Google Play’s Instagram page suggests that a small percentage of users, 12% as of writing, are unhappy with the app. That’s actually not a bad figure for any application.

For a comparison of the Android and iPhone versions by Matthew Panzarino click here (via daringfireball.net).