Nov 9, 2018

How designing for Instagram became a booming business

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Millions of dollars are being spent across apps, sets and props to help people project perfectly curated images for Instagram photos, Boomerangs and stories.

Why it matters: Instagram has exploded as the primary visual medium for social networkers around the world, with more than 1 billion users worldwide. Companies, influencers and everyday users are willing to pay big bucks to look their best.

By the numbers: In 2018, about 53% of the U.S. social network users will access Instagram at least once a month — a number expected to grow, per eMarketer.

  • Instagram has become central to public images, even for youth. Instagram usage among teens in the U.S. is growing at the fastest rate, according to the latest survey from Piper Jaffray.

Creators of Unfold, an app that makes Instagram story templates, has proved that users are willing to pay for flawless Instagram story design.

  • With 11 million users, at a rate of 100,000 app downloads per day, the company is set to bring in $2.6 million in revenue for 2018, per Fast Company.
  • Celebrities have driven the app's popularity. In-app purchases with new templates and designs help with retention rates, a challenge app developers have, CNBC reports.

Instagrammers are paying to wait in line at Instagram Museums, which are well-lit, aesthetically-pleasing rooms with props — a perfect recipe for candid photos on social media.

  • In New York City, people are paying $45 a ticket to wait in line at the Rosé Mansion, a pop-up set up for luxurious photo-ops.
  • The Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, 29Rooms and the Color Factory both in NYC are also popular photo-taking destinations.

Some companies are tapping into the popularity of Instagram stories and the purchasing power of celebrities and influencers who have large followings.

The bottom line: Businesses like Unfold are partnering with Instagram for a more seamless interface. Though Snapchat has the highest usage among teens, users are adopting Instagram at a faster rate.

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John Kelly defends James Mattis against Trump attacks

John Kelly in the White House in July 2017. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly defended James Mattis on Thursday after President Trump attacked the former defense secretary as "the world's most overrated general" and claimed on Twitter that he was fired.

What he's saying: “The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly told the Washington Post in an interview. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."

Barr claims "no correlation" between removing protesters and Trump's church photo op

Attorney General Bill Barr said at a press conference Thursday that there was "no correlation" between his decision to order police to forcibly remove protesters from Lafayette Park and President Trump's subsequent visit to St. John's Episcopal Church earlier this week.

Driving the news: Barr was asked to respond to comments from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said Tuesday that he "did not know a photo op was happening" and that he does everything he can to "try and stay out of situations that may appear political."

Updates: Cities move to end curfews for George Floyd protests

Text reading "Demilitarize the police" is projected on an army vehicle during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C.. early on Thursday. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Several cities are ending curfews after the protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people led to fewer arrests and less violence Wednesday night.

The latest: Los Angeles and Washington D.C. are the latest to end nightly curfews. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted Wednesday night that "peaceful protests can continue without a curfew, while San Francisco Mayor London Breed tweeted that the city's curfew would end at 5 a.m. Thursday.