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Instagram Reaches 500m Monthly Users

By Tess | 14th Jul 2016 | Posted in Social Media

For any social networking platform, reaching 500 million monthly active users (MAU) is a major milestone. For Instagram, there are 300 million daily active users (DAU) uploading around 95 million pictures.

Instagram Reaches 500m Monthly Users

At just a little under six years old, Instagram surpassed Twitter’s numbers (320 MAU) in late 2014. The year before, Instagram grew by 23%, while Facebook grew by only 3%. Sure, Facebook is still the more widely-used platform, but even they would be afraid of any competition with these sorts of numbers. Facebook would go on to acquire Instagram for around $1 billion in cash and stock in April 2012, making them the platform’s main developers.

As for Instagram’s demographics, here’s the breakdown:

  • 50/50 split between iPhone and Android users
  • 68% of users are female, 32% male
  • 75-80% of users are from outside the US, suggesting worldwide appeal
  • Approximately 90% of users are under 35
  • Usage tends to be higher in urban areas

So, what’s the reason for such stellar success? Put simply, it’s because pictures are worth several thousand Twitter characters. Instagram cuts across language barriers, offers tonnes of photo editing features to make your pictures look really professional, and allows short videos too. Descriptions of images, clickable links, the ability to send pictures only to specific people or groups, and the topics of pictures being framed in the form of hashtags makes Instagram look like a souped-up, advanced version of Twitter.

On top of this, Instagram works extremely well in conjunction with Facebook (not surprising since Facebook own them). For anyone going from Facebook to Instagram, the layout and learning curve isn’t too much of a problem. The ability to use the two in conjunction with one another is surely a huge part of Instagram’s current success, as the platform becomes extremely user-friendly.

Another reason for Instagram’s rise to the stars is because it has recently opened up to allow for business accounts, and not just individuals. The ability to take and make highly artistic photos and videos and share them in a matter of minutes (or seconds, in fact), makes Instagram an awesome platform for artists, cooks, tattooists, bakers, dressmakers, dancers, musicians, theatre producers, and lots of other creative types to show off their work.

Add to this the various types of advertising and marketing you can now use on Instagram, like its own analytics tools, video counters, carousel ads, dynamic retargeting, and interactive adverts, and you have a dream come true. Think your hotel room looks better than your competitors’, while being better value for money at the same time? Then show it off on Instagram! The business features, as well as the link with Facebook, also makes Instagram more attractive to those aged over 35.

In comparison to other picture sharing platforms like Snapchat –  which allows users to send each other pictures that last 10 seconds after opening and then self-destructing – Instagram has broader appeal. Yes, Snapchat is also growing fast, but its platform lacks Instagram’s maturity and broader-ranging appeal. Snapchat is for tweens, teens, and those in their early 20s, looking for more immediate gratification and the next big thing. Plus, Instagram is very well integrated with Facebook, giving it an edge over other platforms with regards to user base and the technology available to developers.

Most social media platforms don’t tend to hold much as much sway over those who are aged 35+. Sure, Facebook is used by people the world over, but it tends to be the young who take to new social media platforms. Then, as they grow up, they become familiar with it and then eschew other, newer platforms. This could be one of the main reasons for Instagram’s growth, whilst Facebook stalls. In other words, Facebook users are leaving (or even dying) as new users are joining.

Yes, Facebook will likely have people using it for an entire lifetime, but as new people enter, older people leave. The user base of Facebook ends up balancing out, with growth in its users likely to be linked to growth in an area’s populace. Newer and less well-established social media platforms don’t have this problem, though should Instagram become as big as Facebook, this probably will become a problem! For the moment, Instagram looks here to stay.

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