Gone is the skeuomorphic app icon, replaced by a flatter, more colourful and modern looking icon. While inside the app, the UI is generally black and white with the exception of hearts, in-app notification icons and the content itself.
USER OR AD DRIVEN?
As with anything that is a part of peoples’ lives – whether that be apps, tv shows, a favourite brand or product - change isn’t always welcomed. But this update should come as no real surprise, especially when Instagram has been working up to it over the last 6-12 months.
Continued growth (although user growth and engagement did slow as 2015 progressed) – with nearly half a billion monthly active users – the introduction of videos, new filters, multiple account management, and an increasing conversion rate on ads, means that Instagram has capitalised on its growth and pushed out bigger features such as the feed algorithm, business pages, and new ad formats. The new features keep users engaged and interested in the app, while the new ad formats and features offer even more option to marketers on a platform that’s already performing well for them.
But the design change? Users may not like it a first, but, ultimately, it’s not for them.
Instagram knows that users will eventually learn to like (or just live with) the new design. But longer term, the design will continue to aid marketers.
With a clean and simple black and white UI, a user is now drawn straight to the content – essential for marketers who have to make their ads stand out. User attention is focused straight down the middle as the content flows up and down the screen. Combine this with the new algorithmic feed and new ad formats, and it’s fairly clear that this sweeping UI change was done to keep people focused on content and, therefore, the ads that Instagram choses to serve to them via targeting and the algorithm.
It's no wonder that after an estimated ad revenue of $720m in Q4 of 2015, Credit Suisse estimate that Instagram will make approx. $3.2b in 2016 … not bad for a company that had zero revenue at the start of 2015!
An abridged version of this post in Finnish can be found here.