Instagram Lite has quietly vanished from the google play charts and users are being redirected to the main Instagram app. The two year old version from Instagram was developed to target emerging markets and has been active in Kenya, Peru, Mexico and the Philippines. Existing users of the lite version are being redirected to the main app with a message that ‘Instagram is no longer supported.’
“We are rolling back the test of the Instagram Lite app.” A Facebook spokesperson said, “You can start using the latest version of Instagram instead to connect with the people and things you love.” They noted.
Just like its exit, Instagram lite was first launched on Google play in June 2018 without so much noise. Like other lite branded apps in the market, the idea was to offer users a smaller download that takes up less space on devices. The feature catered specifically for users in emerging markets, where device storage space is a concern. The lite version was 573 kilobytes which is roughly 1/55 the size of Instagram’s 32 megabyte app as of 2018.
Just like the main app, the lite version allowed users to filter and post photos to their feed and stories, and to access the explore page for more content. However, users could not post videos or direct message their friends upon landing on the page.
Mexico was the first market to receive Instagram lite and accounted for the majority installs at 62% of its total installs. According to data from Sensor tower, it was downloaded about 4.4 million times in Mexico. Philippines was the second largest market, with 14% installs of its total Instagram installs using the lite version. Kenya and Peru had the least numbers with 12.5% and 12% respectively.
The demand for ‘lite’ versions were high in the regions and because of this, the app climbed to the top of Google play’s charts. It was ranked No.8 in Kenya in the Social category on Google play, as well as No.12 in Peru, No.15 in Mexico and No.22 in the Philippines.
On April 15, it vanished from the charts, signifying the removal of the app from the regions, and the company has now confirmed it.
Facebook has always treated the app as a test and is planning to use the data and feedback collected as well as lessons it has learned over the past few years, to create a new version of Instagram Lite. It is not clear how soon the launch might be, but the new version is currently being developed.
Facebook has over the years developed a number of lite versions of its apps starting with Facebook lite in 2015 and Messenger lite in 2018. Major tech companies such as Uber, Tinder, Twitter, Spotify also offer lite versions of their apps especially to the emerging markets.
Unlike many of the existing ‘lite’ apps, Instagram lite had not yet been rolled out to the bigger emerging markets such as India, Brazil, Indonesia and others. This could certainly change in the future.
Meanwhile, lite users have been directed to the main app and also have the option of accessing Instagram via the web from their phones.