Another Facebook Competitor Bites The Dust? Instagram vs. Camera



Today’s news is somewhat disturbing for Instagram lovers such as me and several tens of thousands of others who have loved the app for its simplicity and ability to snap a photo on the run via iPhone and upload while also sharing with connections on Twitter and Facebook in addition to the Instagram stream.

Facebook was apparently already under development with its new Camera photo sharing mobile app, set for launch later today, when it agreed to acquire Instagram for $300 million in cash and 23 million shares (that’s $1 billion). That private bedroom deal made CEO to CEO was quick, quiet and involved few others. It made Instagram founders gazillionaires, too.

Facebook promised the backlashing Instagram fans that it would allow Instagram to stay independent. It is still promising that today; however, one can only imagine the lure by Facebook to win over Instagrammers to Camera.

Looking at the flipside of this issue, hail to Facebook. Here’s what it did well:

1. Directly responded to analysts during its roadshow pre-IPO who said there is no Facebook mobile strategy. (This has plagued Facebook for months, and it was a major risk for the company to go IPO without a solid solution in place.)

2. Literally erased a key competitor from the space with the flip of a button and a few hundred million dollars. No lengthy boardroom chats and discussions, no public back and forth on purchase price and takeover threats, and no grandstanding. Just an honest-to-goodness-back-of-the-envelope acquisition between two wet-behind-the-ears CEOs (well each is under 35-years-old, right)?

3. Proved to new shareholders it means business in creating a solid foundation for success into the future. I’m not sure, however, exactly where monetization of Camera plays out; Instagram is free.

Listen a minute. I can hear the Instagram backlash already this morning as folks in all the time zones west of Indiana awake with their morning coffee. I’ll be signing on to Camera this afternoon when it comes online; I want to be one of the early adopters so I can write again about how well Facebook launches a brand new app to whet the whistle of we would-be professional photographers.


So I'm wet behind the ears, am I?????




Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I will dissent on the strategy.. But I can see from your comments you like the app. I was told by a friend who runs social for a Fortune 10 company facebook mobile has more engagement than the desktop as you prove below.. But it also has no ads or good brand pages or timeline.


Facebook still has no mobile strategy. No one does. Instagram and gowalla never figured out how to make money. I checked out the Facebook app yesterday it isn't going to make them the billions with advertising they need to justify their valuation. Facebook to be even a $50b company needs to start making billions via mobile.


Good news is no one has the only people making billions with mobile are the cell phone companies and smart phone makers and maybe AdMob? Not even sure if an APP has done $100mil in sales yet.


So I actually view this as another effort for Facebook to copy or move into a space but I don't expect success since they haven't succeeded in their other efforts like open graph, places, commerce etc.


If I was Facebook I would put all my money into having the best mobile communication and sharing platform there could be and compete with apple and android for that segment of the mobile world. Make it so slick we will pay for it. Imagine 2 billion people paying $5 a month for this because it is so great. They could ditch advertising and brands. That would be smart.


As for me I won't use the Facebook mobile app primarily because a year ago they said they were thinking about selling our phone numbers and phone data and I obviously don't trust them even for my desktop using FB in Chrome and the rest of my web in Firefox so they can't track me with their cookie.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

Just went to Facebook and clicked "Install Camera." A link was texted to my iPhone. I went to iTunes and downloaded free. Within 60 seconds I am now seeing all the images my Facebook friends have uploaded. They are scrolling without a beat, I can add comments, likes and continue scrolling, like forever.


Have to say -- seamless, simple, congrats to Facebook on this one. Instagram photos also showing up in the stream.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @HowieSPM That's why I love it when you come by; your perspective and knowledge run deep from other angles than mine. Rich. Like.


One of the issues analysts saw with Facebook is what you hit upon in your comment -- they have NO relationship with handset makers. Where is the monetization? I uploaded Camera in 60 seconds and had photos from my news feed streaming. How is that going to make money?


Funny, when you compare Pinterest and its photos to Facebook and its photos -- look at that. Pinterest platform allow business development by a company or person who uploads their product/services photos and people click, ideally, and buy.


On the other hand, Facebook Camera is adding News Feed images of my friends links to other sites that are typically less business-oriented than what I see on Pinterest. Will Pinterest be able to monetize faster than Facebook? Sure, IF it continues to have pinners realize the potential of the buy; if I'm a company page, one would think there should be a membership fee for that on all the platforms...right? Blue Chip Fortune 50 companies with a Facebook fan page paying NOTHING to engage? Stupid. Stupid.


Did I just make any sense? Not sure now...heh.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing you made perfect sense and I agree with you Jayme. The one issue I have in general is that they all want to show us ads as their money driver. But even as I have seen more mainstream brands showing up on my android I still don't click on them. And since Facebook right now is a banner ad network like yahoo, yahoo has better banner ads.


I am curious how this will all pan out. I like Pinterest but don't spend a lot of time there yet. I like photos and photo sharing but we still have only so much time. While we type here our comments we are missing tons of tweets and facebook posts that we will never see. Or pinterest pins etc. Social is really tough as a selling tool for brands.


One interesting thing that surprised my the beancast podcast recently discussed hyper targeted ads and that didn't perform well. I always wondered why Facebook who knows so much about us fails to get more clicks. That was supposed to be their secret weapon.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @HowieSPM Advertising? Why? They'd do far better with an influencers' campaign -- you know, where folks the likes of you and me are paid to support a concept, idea, campaign or strategy and encourage a few buys along the way.