The year is 2010 – you’re posting on a friend’s Facebook wall, sharing your new favorite viral video while deciding whether or not you want to download this new app called Instagram on your new iPhone 4. 

Shocking, right? But it’s true – the social media staples we’ve come to know and love have entirely transformed in the last decade. Social powerhouses like Instagram and Facebook have taken the world by storm, becoming many people’s first step in their daily routine. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a long journey for social media to get to the impactful place it is now. 

As social media experts, we love paying homage to the moments that have shaped social platforms into what they are today. From the rise and fall of Vine to the launch of some of our favorite apps like Snapchat and Instagram, there’s a lot to cover. 

That’s why we’re sharing our top 10 social media landmarks (in no particular order) that through the decade have made the most impact on how sharing and interacting on social platforms works today. Sit back, relax and learn a little bit more about your favorite social app!

10. The Launch of Instagram 

We’d like to start out with the creation of a personal favorite social app of ours – Instagram. It’s the pinnacle of image sharing, marketing, content creation, communication and more, so we’d be remiss to not give Instagram the shine it deserves in our list. 

But did you know that just 10 years ago, Instagram rolled out its first-ever version of the social app? That’s right – in October of 2010, Instagram unveiled its app to iPhone users only with just 13 employees under its wing. You heard us right – 13 employees. 

Without the launch of Instagram, social sharing would be nowhere near as creative, image-based and vast as it is today. The app gave users a chance to speak their mind and share information with their friends using only photos cropped square at first, later expanding to video content, slideshows, Instagram Stories and more – but we’ll get there later. 

Instagram’s debut into the social world forever changed social trends, from how we share information to communication, ecommerce, marketing and more. 

9. The Launch of Snapchat

Not far behind Instagram’s launch came the debut of Snapchat. 

Snapchat launched its first app version in 2011, in which users were given the option to take and share photos that disappeared the second they were opened (oh, to be so naive). The app gained traction almost immediately, with the average daily number of snaps rising to 400 million by 2013. 

Without Snapchat, we would never have gotten the release of Instagram Stories nor the capabilities of augmented reality filters for photos and videos. And with the high marketing value of Instagram and Facebook Stories, there’s no doubt Snapchat helped shape social media and marketing for businesses large and small. 

While its platform has changed features within the past decade, its premise has stayed entirely the same – an image-based social-sharing app that has kept its roots in personal content with a touch of commercial content. We’re excited to see what the next decade has in store for Snapchat! 

8. The Rise and Fall of Vine

Sadly, not all of our favorite social apps made it through the decade. Vine launched in June 2012, providing users with a brand new style of content-sharing that had never been seen before – looping videos just six seconds in length. This offered a different type of content creation that many found interesting, fun and challenging, making the app a huge hit. The platform gained 200 million active users by 2015.

Unfortunately, just one year after its 200-million-user landmark, Vine’s video-sharing services were discontinued by parent company Twitter. Vine then became an archive for watching and sharing previously created videos – a graveyard of what it once was. 

While Vine’s metaphorical doors opened and shut so quickly, its impact on video consumption has stuck with social users to this day. Shorter videos have since become a huge trend in marketing, with businesses using video content on Instagram, Facebook and more to capture audience attention in the first 3 seconds. It’s even paved the way for new video sharing apps like TikTok – a new video powerhouse to the social world.

7. The Beginning of TikTok

Founded in 2012 originally as a Chinese video-sharing app, TikTok was introduced to international markets in 2017. It’s similar to Vine in that users can create video content in the form of original content or lip sync content to tracks pre-uploaded to the app. 

Proving to be highly popular with younger generations, the app has since soared to 500 million users and 150 markets and is available in 75 languages. It’s claimed its place as the seventh most downloaded app of the decade from 2016 to 2019.

There’s a reason why this app is stirring up the social world – its virality and quick rise in users make it a hot spot for marketable opportunities. Taking notes from Vine, TikTok has multiple ways to market products to users, from influencer marketing to traditional video advertising, with the flare of having to market on a short-form video-sharing service.

Following the success of Vine and bringing in its own unique features, TikTok is proving to be one of the hottest new social-sharing apps on the market. If your business hasn’t done its research on the benefits of getting on TikTok, you may want to put this on your to-do list for the next decade.

6. Facebook Purchases Instagram

Seeing the success of Instagram in the mobile playing field, Facebook purchased the app from Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom for an astonishing $1 billion in 2012. 

The purchase shook the world of social media and mobile apps for a multitude of reasons. To start, it gave Facebook more leverage in the social-sharing world. Instagram is a highly valuable mobile app, and Facebook now owned two of the most downloaded social media platforms on the market. 

But it also gave Facebook more consolidation within the mobile industry. There were plenty of opportunities to market mobile to users on both platforms, taking away the competition Instagram once had.

Facebook’s purchase of Instagram is good and bad for any business looking to increase brand awareness through social media. Facebook’s purchase of Instagram expanded options for businesses looking to increase their brand awareness through social media. Facebook’s integration with Instagram allows users to share between the two apps with ease, utilize Facebook Ads Management for both Facebook and Instagram Ads and more. The collaboration is perfect for those who like to manage their business from one platform.

However, its monopoly over social media sharing and advertising means that Facebook can get away with large changes and hefty advertising costs. Having variety within the social marketing world means more competition to gain audiences, which means more enticing offers for users. It’s important for businesses with smaller marketing budgets to be aware and cautious when building marketing investment strategies for larger monopoly platforms like Facebook. 

Considering Facebook still owns Instagram (the app’s loading page has since changed to say “From Facebook” on the bottom in the latest rebrand), it still has a pretty hefty chunk of the social-sharing market – not to mention its purchase of the messaging platform WhatsApp. 

5. Facebook Purchases WhatsApp

To add to Facebook’s already large market share, Facebook made yet another big move and purchased the international messaging service WhatsApp.

If you thought the purchase price of $1 billion for Instagram was staggering, you’ll want to brace yourself – the purchase of WhatsApp was Facebook’s largest acquisition to date at $22 billion dollars. With this acquisition, Facebook now owns four of the most widely used social apps in the world (Facebook Messenger counting as its own separate entity). 

By owning WhatsApp, Facebook offers even more cross-channel integration and posting for businesses to take advantage of. Businesses can create their own WhatsApp channel to communicate with customers, organize new and old purchases, track in-app sales and more. Facebook’s collection of social media platforms allows businesses more ways than ever to market and manage their business.

4. Instagram Introduces Instagram Stories

As we mentioned before, the launch of Snapchat completely changed the way social users communicated with one another. Photo filters and in-app editing offered a creative approach to send fun, imaginative content that wasn’t offered in any other app. 

Seeing the success of this platform, Instagram decided to try its hand at vanishing content sharing. In 2016, Instagram unveiled its latest feature called Instagram Stories. 

Stories, for short, are photos or videos shared in a separate Stories feed and are only available for 24 hours – sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it? The Instagram Stories feature gave businesses a brand new way to reach new and existing audiences.  Rather than having to scroll through a long feed of shared photos, Stories are shown directly at the top of the home feed and are ranked by time posted. Users can find Instagram Stories from both personal and business pages, and the Stories even feature an autoplay function while viewed.

Now, Instagram Stories are considered a top marketing contender for small and large businesses alike. With so many apps dedicated to strictly creating and editing Instagram Stories content, marketers know the true value of making Stories that help increase engagement. Don’t expect the impact of a well-planned Instagram Stories campaign to decrease any time soon; it’s time to start brainstorming great content for 2020!

3. Instagram Introduces IGTV

We’re sticking to the theme of Instagram feature rollouts with our mention of the release of IGTV in 2018. Instagram unveiled its new standalone app for long-form content sharing, called IGTV – Instagram Television. This new feature allows users interested in creating and sharing video content on a host to do just that. The video-sharing option on Instagram’s native app had a time limit of just 60 seconds, but users were now given the opportunity to create long-form video content with a limit of 10 minutes for regular user accounts; those verified or approved had access to up to one-hour-long video-sharing options.

Similar to YouTube, IGTV gave creators on Instagram a chance to show off more of their content-creation skills, start their own video series and generate more engagement and communication with audiences. IGTV also influences the Instagram algorithm, helping to push video content as a highly promotable post for new audiences to engage with. 

IGTV has only reinforced the importance of video sharing on Instagram, influencing the way businesses and creators alike shape their Instagram content strategy. Instagram is showing us that the next decade is going to be all about video sharing and dynamic content, so be prepared to go all out for your social media followers! 

2. Social Becomes “Shoppable” With Facebook and Instagram

As if social media couldn’t get any more marketable, Facebook decided to try its hand at introducing shopping feeds to both Facebook and Instagram platforms. 

For Facebook’s business page feature, the company decided to add a Shopping tool for companies with shoppable products to list their inventory directly on their page. Any business with a Facebook Page now has the ability to sell products through the Facebook Store – giving those businesses with high engagement on Facebook a level up when marketing to audiences, and taking away the need to convert customers via site purchases. 

Similarly, Instagram unveiled shoppable posts as an option for ecommerce business accounts in 2018. Shoppable posts allowed brands to tag products as they would people in photos, set prices and product information to pop up with the tag, and allow interested users to be directed to that product for purchase on the brand’s website. It gave new life to mobile ecommerce and brought a seamless experience to online shopping that was a delight for brands everywhere (and a nightmare for most of our wallets). 

With new shopping features included in social media, it’s easy to imagine Facebook becoming a shopping center similar to Amazon or Etsy within the upcoming years, so we’re excited to see where the online social shopping trend goes from here.

1. Instagram Decides To Hide Likes

Last on our list, but arguably one with the most impact, is Instagram’s recent decision to hide the like count on user posts. 

Just this past fall, Instagram announced it would be testing out the option to hide likes from showing up, meaning users would no longer see the number attached to photo content posted or viewed. The change was made to hopefully increase mental health and self-image for users on the app. However, what it would do for businesses and creators would be more than that – hiding likes produced anxiety in influencers and other creators who rely on engagement to help grow their accounts. It was feared that engagement would decrease rapidly once likes were removed, changing the way Instagram content was digested entirely. 

While this update is relatively new, what we can see from current trends is that removing likes will force Instagram creators to rely on real communication and conversation with audiences – which isn’t a bad thing at all! In fact, we’re predicting long-form captions and an increase in Instagram comments to be a huge trend next year due to the large platform change. 

Businesses will most likely have to rely on audience engagement and Instagram Stories content in order to make a splash and grow their accounts going forward, and we’re excited to see what trends come along with the removed likes update. We’ll all have to stay tuned in 2020 to see how creators combat such a drastic engagement change. 

A decade of social media landmarks, milestones and releases gives us a reflection of what’s to come within the new year. From the creation of amazing social apps like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat to the fall of trends we know and love like Vine videos and Instagram likes, the social world will always be rapidly transforming, and it’s up to businesses, social creators and platform enthusiasts to stay ahead of the curve.

The new decade can only hold more trendsetting updates in social media that will only rock the marketing and ecommerce world further. Which one of these landmarks affects your business’s social outreach the most? Let us know!