Technology

Instagram is Booming. Will Facebook’s Rebranding Effort Derail the Growth?

Image Credit: Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

It’s been more than seven years since Facebook bought social media rival Instagram — then, a two-year-old startup of just 13 employees — for $1 billion in cash and Facebook stock. 

That deal is looking like a steal for Facebook, particularly in light of Instagram’s massive growth over the past several years. For instance, from the start of 2015 through the midpoint of 2019, the number of daily or weekly Instagram users in CivicScience’s data has nearly doubled, from 20% to 38%. The pool of occasional users has also grown.

All of this begs the question — Why is Facebook now, seven years and millions of new subscribers later, rebranding Instagram to become “Instagram from Facebook”? And what do Instagram’s users think of this change, which is already rolling out slowly?

The top-line results are not encouraging for Facebook. Hardly anyone that CivicScience surveyed in its early August study said they “love” or even “like” the change. The negative responses outnumber the positive responses by more than 20-to-1. Most respondents, though, were indifferent.

The results become even more dismal when filtered among Instagram users. They were 75% more likely than non-users to disapprove of the change, though 42% said it didn’t make a difference to them.

Younger, More Frequent Users More Likely to Dislike the Rebrand

In instituting the rebranding effort, Facebook risks upsetting Instagram’s youngest (and thus potentially most frequent) users. Majorities of Gen Z and Millennials dislike the name changes. These two generations made up more than half of Instagram’s daily and weekly user base within the past year.

CivicScience’s data indicate that almost all of Instagram’s most active users simply don’t trust the Facebook brand. In the end, though, heavy Instagram users are more likely than occasional users or non-users to be on Facebook daily — indicating that, despite their mistrust, they’re OK with using it.

At the end of the day, it seems as though Instagram’s daily and weekly users might not like the new “Instagram from Facebook” branding — quite the opposite, in fact — but if their relatively frequent use of Facebook itself is any indication, chances are that these Instagrammers will live with it. 

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