Instagram has been receiving more attention from scholars and practitioners. But little is known about the psychological and social aspects that lead individuals to become fans of this app. In this article we focus to discover the structural dimensions of individual’s motivation to use Instagram. A survey was done where in total of 212 Instagram users evaluated their primary activities, use intention, motivation, and attitude regarding Instagram. The results suggest that individuals primarily use Instagram to connect with different people, keep up with their friends and family, spy on other people and to escape their busy and stressful lives. Besides that, Instagram is also a powerful tool to expand your network, may it be for private or professional reasons.


Background information

Over the last few years, social networking sites became the primary communication tool by which people develop their own online network. At least 70% of all online adults in the US have a Facebook account, which puts Facebook on the number one social networking site. Instagram comes next on the list, with more users than Twitter and other social networking sites. You can buy real Instagram followers on INST4LIKES to boost your profile. This app has not only allowed ‘regular’ people to share pictures and acknowledge each other’s lives, but also allowed brands and celebrities to connect with their fans and customers. Which makes Instagram a more divers app than Facebook.


Why Instagram is superior to other social networking sites

Instagram was originally launched in 2010 as a mobile picture-sharing app. It now places itself on the market as an app that allows users to transfigure an image to an everlasting memory. Instagram users record their daily routines and stories through short videos and pictures. In contrast to Facebook and Twitter, it isn’t possible with Instagram to make content without a picture. This creates a culture that is strongly visual oriented. The increased photo-editing features compliment this aspect. Because of this you don’t have to use a different application to take the picture, edit it and finally upload it. Instagram has it all, and in very high quality. The official Instagram app is exclusively available on a smartphone with either, Android or iOS. Because individuals can access their smartphone literally everywhere and at any time they want, this aspect of the app, probably creates behavior and motivation unlike other social networking sites.


Instagram usage

Since its launch, Instagram has been gaining massive popularity and is worth billions nowadays. At this moment Instagram has over one billion monthly active users, which surpasses Twitter by far with only 336 million active users a month. There has been shared more than 30 billion pictures on Instagram and there are almost 2,5 billion likes every day. According to a survey, a bit more than 50% of 18 to 29 year olds in the US use Instagram, and a bit less than 50% use the app on a daily base. Looking at it internationally, at least 20% of the internet users between 16 and 64 years old had an Instagram account in 2014, which is a significant difference compared to a year earlier where it was only 15%.


Motivations to Instagram usage

During a three-week period, an online survey was executed. It was found that the highest use of social networking sites happens between age 20 and 39 years old, the survey was focused on this age group. The participants were recruited through an online panel. A total of 212 participants responded. On average the participants were using Instagram for about 10 months, and uploaded 61 pictures in that time. They logged in about four times every day, and most of them followed more accounts than accounts were following them. Results showed that individuals primarily use Instagram to interact with a number of different people, to communicate with friends and family and to keep in touch with friends far away. Other than that a lot of the participants reported that they use Instagram because people around them use the app. This suggests that a lot of the users only use the app to fit in with others. Besides that, a lot of participants use the application to escape from reality. Nowadays life is busy and stressful, and everyone needs to relax once in a while. What better way is there than use an innocent app to fulfill this need? But is Instagram such an innocent application? Another answer almost every participant gave was that they use Instagram to peek on their friends, to get updates on their lives and see what they are up to. This shows a negative aspect about Instagram. Even though the app is designed as a social app, it decreases your privacy. Everyone knows what you are doing and when you are doing it. Of course you first have to share it, but as participants answered, a lot of them use the app to fit in, so some people will feel obligated to post about their daily lives. Last but not least, Instagram is being used to expand people their network. They use the app to maintain a good and healthy relationship with people that are important to them or important to their career. Somewhat surprising it turned out that these result are about the same for both sexes and age differences. So no matter if you are a man or a woman and if you are 20 or 35 years old, most people will have the same motivation to use Instagram.


Short conclusion

As told, the primary reasons to use Instagram are to be socially active. Like the app was designed to be. Other than that the app is also used to peek on other people, or to escape the reality of life. Which nowadays is busy and very stressful. Besides the positive aspects of this social application there is also a negative side of the story. Some people feel obligated to use the app and upload pictures of their daily lives. They do this because they are scared they won’t fit in. Even though Instagram is designed as a social application it can also be used to expand your network, both privately and professionally.