Instagram reaches 500 million monthly active users

From memes to selfies to shelfies to Boomerangs, it seems we can’t get enough Instagram. The social network of endlessly scrolling images and videos announced on Tuesday it had reached 500 million monthly active users, and of those, 300 million—a full 60 percent—use the app every day. 

Instagram users share 95 million photos a day, which would suggest that not everyone is posting, but people can’t help but peek at what their friends have shared. The app isn’t only popular in the United States either—80 percent of its users are outside the U.S.

Twitter, by comparison, has about 320 million monthly users, so Instagram is seeing in one day almost as many people as Twitter gets in a month. 

Instagram’s growth is even accelerating; the company says it added the last 100 million since September 2015, nine months ago. The previous 100 million took 14 months to achieve. But as TechCrunch points out, the number of photos posted isn’t growing as quickly, going from 70 million images per day at 300 million monthly users, to just 95 million images per day now at 500 million monthly users. 

The story behind the story: People seem to curate their Instagram feeds more closely than they do with, say, Snapchat, which could explain why people check it more than posting. Instagram really is a highlight reel—personally, I check it multiple times a day but only post a few times a week. But that addictiveness is good news for Instagram’s bottom line, as the company has rolled out business profiles, enhanced ads, and buy buttons, all in the last year. 


Susie Ochs

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