Why Instagram is building out its mobile web functionality
- Instagram is bringing what were once app-only features like photo-sharing capabilities and an Explore tab to its mobile website experience, according to a report TechCrunch. The Explore tab will be scaled down, the publication said.
- The move is an effort to expand the image and photo-sharing platform, which is owned by Facebook, to more international and developing markets that might find the Instagram app experience too slow or data-intensive, per TechCrunch.
- Instagram has long been viewed as an app-only social media platform, similar to Snapchat. Previously, its desktop and mobile websites were limited to browsing, Liking, following, searching and seeing notifications. Desktop website users still do not have the ability to share photos.
Facebook has shown a previous interest in making sure internet users across the globe can access its products regardless of their connectivity issues, which helps put the social giant out in front of more fresh-faced competitors that can't necessarily afford to build out global services or infrastructures.
Snapchat is one of the notable examples of this, being largely popular in places like the U.S. or the U.K. but seeing little traction in other markets, where Facebook owned-apps like WhatsApp have come to dominate. Last November, Facebook was reportedly testing a standalone Snapchat clone deemed "Flash" that was specifically designed to accommodate areas where Wi-Fi is hard to come by and connectivity is poor.
Instagram is currently undergoing a global growth strategy aimed at the 80% of its users from outside the U.S., TechCrunch said. Along with the new functionality for the mobile website, the platform now also allows web sign-ups and new offline functionality.
Instagram recently passed the 700 million monthly user benchmark, and Instagram Stories, its Snapchat clone feature, now has more daily active users than Snapchat with an audience of 200 million.