Facebook-owned photo-sharing app Instagram now boasts over 500m users, more than 80 per cent of whom are outside the United States and 300m of whom use the app every day, the company has announced.
The app has seen its user base more than double over the past two years, and grow by over 100m users since just last September, when the firm announced it had reached to 400m milestone. Instagram has quickly outstripped rival social networks such as Twitter, which has stalled at around 300m, although still lags a considerable way behind Facebook, with its 1.6bn users.
According to Instagram, its users share on average almost 95m photos and videos a day, generating 4.2bn 'likes' a day as users engage with each other.
Instagram served as Facebook's first large acquisition in 2012, when it bought the photo-sharing app for $1bn (£681m), in what many industry experts at the time viewed as a poor deal. However, Facebook has helped the app grow into one of the most popular social media channels worldwide, and carefully monetised it into a $1.5bn-a-year ad platform.
"As one of the fastest growing mobile ad platforms, the business community is finding success reaching diverse demographics like millennials, moms and people in countries around the world," said an Instagram spokesperson in a post on its advertising blog. "By combining the power of Instagram and Facebook together, advertisers are finding the greatest and most efficient reach for campaigns across both platforms."
"Instagram attributing its success to being a 'useful and interesting place to be' hits the nail on the head," said Nick Fletcher, director of service strategy at Rakuten Marketing Europe. "The platform provides its users with behind the scenes access to celebrities and online influencers, creating captivating news headlines each day.
"Instagrammers now play an important role in our decision to buy a product, and the social network has become a crucial advertising platform for brands. In fact, our research shows that people are willing to spend more if they see a product endorsed by an online influencer. By working with social influencers who are seen as honest and informed by their loyal followers, brands are likely to gain favour with consumers who like and trust their products in return."
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