Friday, December 6, 2013

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom Weighs Monetization

CEO Kevin Systrom

When The Guardian interviewed Kevin Systrom in mid-October - Instagram's man of vision, now eyes up world domination - he and Emily White were seen as the next Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg.  They were the leadership face of a hot platform and the mastermind behind its monetizing efforts.  The big oops is a December 3rd report Instagram Business Lead Emily White to Be Named COO of Snapchat, however.

It may be honest modesty or purposeful vagary, but Systrom and White don't say much that's specific or substantial as far monetizing Instagram is concerned.  Or it may be that they're still very much figuring it out.  But they can choose to refer to users as community members as much as they want: I imagine that they (we) enjoy the site for however long it is ad-free and reserve the right to stay or leave when that idyllic period inevitably ends.  It's a challenge for Facebook, and it's a challenge for its underling Instagram.

So what are Instagram options for business models?

  • From sponsored content, to TrueView ads (rf. YouTube), there are plenty of creative ideas.  But at the end of the day it's advertising.  Any savvy, jaded user isn't impressed or fooled by the creativity.
  • Since mobile is the device of the present and future, perhaps Instagram can consider an e-commerce capability for its own services or products and-or those of user companies (rf. PayPal).
  • SaaS used to mean software as a service, but now it can also mean storage as a service (i.e., cloud).  Instagram may consider such a business model for images, videos and documents (rf. Amazon, Apple).

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