Instagram Hits 150m Users

Instagram now has 150m users worldwide, growing by 50m in the last six months alone, with 60 per cent of users now outside the US. 

Contrary to early worries that users would drop off after the service was bought by Facebook in April last year, it appears to be going from strength to strength, with its mobile views exceeding YouTubes on 4 July this year. The association may have even helped bring the app to a more mainstream audience – but it still isn’t making any money.

Instagram began testing ads in December and the company’s director of business operations Emily White, who joined from Facebook in March, has confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that they should be ready to sell ‘within the next year’. White says the company is still committed to making ads non-interruptive and will likely deliver them via the search and discover functions, ideas first outlined by co-founder Kevin Systrom last year.

Given that many major brands including Starbucks, Red Bull and Coca Cola are already using the platform for free, Instagram looks like it will have to do a hard sell on these ad opportunities, as well making sure it doesnt alienate its audience with too much advertising.

Brands appear to be pushing for mCommerce opportunities from their existing, free accounts, but the mobile web experience is far from perfect, White said. Although the company hasn’t yet launched a back-end platform for brands to buy ads, the company has been building out its analytics and brand relationship management teams.

Instagram is quickly gaining on Twitter, which has around 200m users, and is trouncing Twitter’s video app Vine, which has 40m users.