Instagram doubles monthly users to 500M in 2 years, sees 300M daily

Photos transcend language barriers, leading Instagram to hit a major milestone today, Its growth is actually accelerating over time, thanks to popularity overseas in countries like Japan, Germany, France, and Indonesia. Instagram now has over 500 million users, twice its count from two years ago. It added the last 100 million since September 2015, faster than the previous 100 million.

80% of Instagram users come from outside the US, up from 75% in September, showing the popularity of pretty pictures that cross language barriers. It still has 100 million in the US, which command high rates for ads delivered through new video units and Facebook’s Ads API.

But perhaps the most important stat is that Instagram now has 300 million daily active users, proving it’s become a true addiction, not something people just occasionally check.

That means it’s definitively bigger than Twitter, which Instagram surpassed at the end of 2014, and has stalled out at 320 million monthly users. Instagram is also now twice as big as Snapchat, which is making its own bold claims to advertisers. Highlighting its double daily reach might have spurred Instagram to share this stat.

One concerning fact amongst all this celebration: Instagram’s count of images shared per day has slowed down. At 300 million monthlies it saw 70 million images per day. At 400 million monthlies it had 80 million per day. And now at 500 million monthlies it gets 95 million per day. That could point to users moving rapid sharing to Snapchat, or being more cautious about blowing up their friends’ Insta feeds.


When asked how Instagram reached its new milestones, the company told me its growing really well in certain foreign countries, and has gotten good at connecting new and old users with interests like food and sports through Explore, which now feature Snapchat-esque curated Spotlight collections of the best videos around a theme or event.

The company said in its announcement, “Thank you for your creativity, your openness and your passion for sharing your worlds with one another. We can’t wait to see what you create next.” Zuck seems visibly excited too.


Now it’s time for Instagram to become a serious business. In the past year it announced a marketing partner program, built calls to action, extended video ads to 60 seconds, began showing video view counts to court ad dollars, reached 200,000 advertisers, introduced video carousel ads, and opened dynamic retargeting. Most recently, it launched official business profiles with analytics and the option to instantly turn posts into ads.

Maybe this quarter we’ll see Facebook break out Instagram’s revenue for the first time.

Instagram Video Carousel Gif Medium

The question going forward will be whether Instagram’s calculated move to an algorithmically sorted feed will make the service even more addictive, or ruin the real-time, what-you-post-is-what-they-see-now feel of the social network.

Snapchat might be the place for off-the-cuff sharing you won’t care about tomorrow, and Facebook might dominate messaging.  But Instagram has become the permanent online presence of the next generation.


Here’s a look at Instagram’s rise:
  • October 2010: Launch on iPhone
  • December 2010: 1 million users
  • June 2011: 5 million users
  • September 2011: 10 million users
  • April 3rd, 2012: 30 million registered accounts on iPhone, launches on Android
  • April 4th, 2012: Instagram sees 1 million Android signups in the first 24 hours
  • April 9th, 2012: Instagram hits 5 million monthly Android users, is acquired by Facebook
  • April 30th, 2012: 50 million monthly users
  • February 2013: 100 million monthly users
  • September 2013: 150 million monthly users
  • December 2013: 75 million daily users
  • March 2014: 200 million monthly users
  • December 2014: 300 million monthly users
  • September 2015: 400 million monthly users
  • June 2016: 500 million monthly users, 300 million daily users