Let’s face it. The next successful photo tech company will be mobile first and mobile only.

The key mistake most photo tech companies are currently making is trying to monetize on the laptop web. Besides traditional media, this is no longer the place where people  consume images. They want to take, alter, share and view images on their mobile devices.

Twitter knows this and it’s recent new feature release is proof. One can now put 4 images in a tweet, viewable immediately in a feed, as well as tag familiar faces. It is their latest attempt to move away from the crude 140 character and a link format of the early days and into the much coveted space of the photo app. And it’s not a day too late.  Instagram, with 40 million  less active users overall,  has officially surpassed them on mobile. According to the Financial Times , Instagram has 35 million US mobile users, while Twitter has 30.8 million. And Instagram shows no signs of slowing down.

Why does it matter ? Because mobile advertising is also where the dollars are aggressively shifting to. According to a recent study by IDC and AppAnnie, mobile in-app ads are growing 60%  a year and estimated to surpass PC online display revenue by 2017.  Advertisers understand that mobile is quickly becoming the number one destination to grab users attention, especially in the younger generation.

Both Twitter and Instagram have stayed true to their mobile first and only approach. While it is possible to experience them on a PC browser, features are all made for total mobile experience. And this is a huge part of their success. No Photo Tech company that deludes their experience over desktop and mobile has yet proven to be successful. For a good reason: laptops are for work, mobile for personal entertainment. We use our laptops for get work related things done while we use our mobiles to chat, connect, share, read, and enjoy.  And follow up on work when necessary.  The laptop is a place of duties, mobile is for enjoyment. And like any mammals, we seek enjoyment first and foremost.

Cell phone manufacturers are also very aware of this accelerating trend as new models promote their photography features ahead of anything else. It’s a camera first, an app support platform, a gaming device and then a phone . This only fuels the possibilities of creating the next Instagram success story, if only and before everything shifts again to the next platform, be it wearable or VR.

Author: Paul Melcher

Paul Melcher is the founder of Kaptur and Managing Director of Melcher System, a consultancy for visual technology firms. He is an entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant with a rich background in visual tech, content licensing, business strategy, and technology with more than 20 years experience in developing world-renowned photo-based companies with already two successful exits.

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