Instagram vs. Picplz – The Tale of Two Photo Apps

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As everyone on the planet is now aware, Instagram, the mobile photo-app of choice among hipsters, is going to be acquired by Facebook  for a magical $1 billion.

The world of consumer apps is tough – how many other photo apps are out there that had close to the same functionality but yet didn’t take off like Instagram did?  In the case of Instagram, we have a rather remarkable one-to-one comparison available: Picplz was launched at about the same time, and has almost identical functionality.

Making it more interesting, super VC firm Andreessen Horowitz invested in Instagram when it was still called Burbn, but then switched teams and backed Picplz (while remaining a passive investor in Instagram).  So theoretically, these apps are not only similar, but they both had similar backing and Silicon Valley buzz.

The story of the two apps can be easily seen in Compete data.  While Compete doesn’t directly track mobile usage, we can use the web as a proxy for the two apps.

UVs to Instagram and Picplz

Instagram has ramped while Picplz has remained relatively stagnant. While I’m sure Marc Andreessen isn’t too upset – the firm will still make money on Instagram and has a VC portfolio that is the envy of everyone in Silicon Valley – I’d love to ask him what made him switch to Picplz, and how does he feel about his choice now?

An even bigger question is this: why was Instagram such a hit while Picplz hasn’t taken off the same way?  What’s your theory?  Let us know in the comments.

About Damian Roskill:
Damian Roskill is the Managing Director of Marketing at Compete. Before Compete Damian was head of products for a video start-up and has worked in start-ups for most of his career. Damian's career aspiration is to be at one with the advertising universe. Damian can be found on Twitter as Droskill, or connect with him on LinkedIn at