April 10, 2012 Leave a comment
In advance of its much ballyhooed IPO, Facebook, which historically made acquisitions of $100 million or less, bought Instagram for cash and stock approximating $1 billion. The photo sharing mobile app, launched less than two years ago, was valued at $20 million in February 2011 and $500 million as recently as last week (based upon investor funding).
So, why pay $1 billion for it and why now? Five reasons:
- Platform. Instagram is a mobile app, and mobile represents the biggest upside for future marketing and commerce. Facebook needs more mobile features.
- Graphics. Pictures and images rule the day online. They’re compelling content that conveys the you-are-there experience with one-click satisfaction, and then love to share.
- Category killer. In two short years, it is by far the best known and most widely used mobile photo app. Go ahead, name two others (I’ll wait).
- Accelerated growth — and poised for more. Instagram launched on October 6, 2010. Two months later in December it had 1 million users. By September 2011 it grew to 10 million users, and now boasts 30 million users. And that’s with it being an iPhone only app until a few weeks ago. When its Android operating system version was finally released April 3rd of this year, it was downloaded over 1 million times in the first 12 hours. Android users effectively doubles the potential user pool. And all of this was before the hype and buzz associated with its acquisition.
- Pinterest — or, why Instagram was worth a billion bucks to Facebook. Also launched two years ago, Pinterest is likewise driven by graphics, allowing users to pin their favorites to collection boards with sharing via social nets. Like Facebook, Pinterest has a “like” function and users can comment on content. True, Instagram features user-generated photos while Pinterest links to graphics linked to the Web, but here’s why that will change. Read more of this post