Hipstamatic (Re)Launches a Classic to Challenge Instagram Culture

Ariel Ariel
2 minute read 3/31/23

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - Everyone's Taking on Instagram. Check out the full article for more insights.


If you've been around apps for long enough, and in this case, I really mean a loooong time, you probably remember Hipstamatic.

In case you don't, Hipstamatic was an App Store sweetheart back in the early 2010s, being the most popular camera app to sell filters. It dominated the App Store and made subscription-level revenue even though subscriptions didn't even exist.

But then Instagram came out and Hipstamatic spiraled out of control, losing all momentum and popularity.

Last week, Hipstamatic relaunched as a pure way to take pictures, taking clear aim at Instagram.

I'm a hopeless romantic, so I really wanted this relaunch to be a huge success. I even subscribed as a paid user.

But...

Hipstamatic downloads

Hipstamatic's relaunch wasn't met with roaring demand. At all.

According to our estimates, the new Hipstamatic app was downloaded just 16K times, earning under $5K in net revenue from the App Store. That's not how it will take on Instagram or the culture Instagram created.

Not only is this total tiny, the trend, overall, isn't really growing. Downloads peaked last Thursday with more than 5K downloads but dipped into the hundreds fairly quickly after.

If you're in the business of apps, you can learn a few interesting things from this launch:

  1. Hipstamatic is only available on the App Store. That may have been a cool selling point 10 years ago, but these days it's less about the platform and more about the users. Going App Store only, especially for an app that connects people, is a big limiter for growth.
  2. The app's UX is really confusing. It feels like the experience is complicated on purpose, and that's not a positive. It took me a while to figure out how to work it, and it's only a camera so that shouldn't be the case.
  3. The app doesn't feel native even though it is, I checked. The interactions are slow and the animations are sluggish.
  4. And the most important bit, the monetization structure feels a bit forced and unwelcoming.

I consider all of these to be mistakes. The kind that prevent growth. They can all be fixed with some/a lot of effort, but if you're starting from scratch in 2023 you shouldn't really have any of these in v1.

Let's see if Hipstamatic can fix these.

I remember reading a great case study about all the mistakes that ultimately killed Hipstamatic. I couldn't find it but if you happen to know what I'm talking about and have a link please send it my way and I'll share it next week. It's a must-read for anyone building a business.

App Intelligence for Everyone!

The insights in this report come right out of our App Intelligence platform, which offers access to download and revenue estimates, installed SDKs, and more! Learn more about the tools or schedule a demo with our team to get started.

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

Tagged: #social-media

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