Instagram surges past Twitter to become 2nd biggest social network

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Instagram monthly active users hit 400m.

San Francisco: Instagram, the photo-sharing app owned by Facebook, said on Tuesday that its active monthly user base had reached 400m, growing faster than analysts anticipated.

Instagram, with its Kardashian selfies, retro filters and endless stream of images of meals, has reached 400 million active users, the company has announced. Facebook’s photo and video-sharing app has added 100 million users in the last nine months, with three-quarters now based outside the US. “While milestones like this are important, what really excites us is the way that visual communication makes the world feel a little bit smaller to every one of us,” the company said in a blog post, revealing that its fastest-growing countries include Brazil, Japan and Indonesia.

Sure, parent company Facebook still slays with almost 1.5 billion monthly active users, but for a social network, Instagram’s announcement is nothing to sneeze at. Instagram launched in October 2010, and eyebrows were raised throughout the technology industry 18 months later when Facebook agreed to pay $1bn for the app, which at the time had 30 million registered users. It unveiled a range of new ad products this month, including 30-second video ads and event-targeted “marquee” ads that are similar to Twitter campaigns. This makes Instagram’s places search filter more useful if you’re looking for somewhere specific, or if you’re in the mood to explore, the Trending Places section is full of stunning images from exotic locales.

In terms of active mobile users, Instagram still lags behind its parent company’s 1.3 billion, as well as Facebook-owned apps WhatsApp (900m) and Facebook Messenger (700m). It recently expanded its platform to all advertisers, rather than a select few, and is expected to make up to $2.8 billion in advertising revenue in 2017, according to eMarketer, a research firm. Facebook now owns many of the most popular apps, including WhatsApp with 900 million users and its Messenger platform, now the second-most popular app ever – behind only Facebook – with 700 million users. Instagram has been slowly expanding its advertising business, keeping a close eye on the quality of ads that appear in your feed so they don’t look jarringly out of place.

But the network just opened the floodgates to any company who wants in, which means quality control could suffer—and in the process, outrage the now 400 million people who love Instagram. Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson research said he expected Instagram ad sales could reach $1.8bn in the next two to three years. “With Instagram advertising finally going live globally, we can now begin to truly assess [its] revenue potential,” he wrote in a note before the announcement. So when you see your children taking a zillion photos of things that you would never take a picture of, it’s because they’re using photographs to talk,” said Snapchat’s chief executive, Evan Spiegel, in a recent video posted online to explain the app to parents. “Both teens and kids are a very aspirational audience and images are a much more powerful – or at least immediate – channel for that sentiment to flow compared with one hundred and forty text characters,” said Dylan Collins, chief executive of children’s digital media firm SuperAwesome. While other networks like Twitter struggle to attract new users, Facebook’s photo-sharing network clearly stands on its own, both as a platform and as a moneymaker.

He predicted that the growth of Instagram and Snapchat may be one of the biggest threats to the future of Twitter, which is “barely on the radar” of most teenagers. “I suspect that Twitter really doesn’t appreciate how important it is to engage the younger audience with their product. It’s entirely possible that the death of Twitter actually started a couple of years ago without the company even realising.” Instagram has become a haven for celebrities and public figures. Kim Kardashian posted her infamous #BreakTheInternet nude shot from her Instagram account, although more recently she was issued with a warning letter by the US regulator the FDA for posting a “false or misleading” Instagram post promoting the morning-sickness drug Diclegis.

Instagram has also created its own stars, who have followers in the millions – and can earn six-figure salaries from commercial endorsements, where they are paid to publish posts featuring particular products or services. “Companies have realised that one photo on the Instagram account of someone with over 100,000 followers is reaching more people directly than any traditional ad campaign,” said US Instagrammer Liz Eswein in November 2014, as she revealed that she charged brands $1 per like under her sponsored photos. The company started accepting its first paid advertisements in the US in 2013, before expanding to the UK in September 2014 with brands including Waitrose and Channel 4. Research firm eMarketer predicts that Instagram’s global advertising revenues will be $600m this year, rising to $1.48bn in 2016 and $2.81bn in 2017.

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