Almost nine months ago, Instagram blatantly lifted Snapchat s Stories feature and received a lot of flak for it. People laughed at them for being unoriginal. Two months in, Instagram‘s Stories reached 100 million daily active users. Overall as well, Instagram took big leaps in its reach, with 500 million monthly active users recorded in June last year, which increased by 100 million in just six months. And now, taking one other giant hop, in just four months, Instagram has added another 100 million to its user base, reaching a 700 million monthly active users. And the last 100 million joined faster than ever. Also Read - Instagram will now show ads on Reels just like StoriesAlso Read - Accidently broke Snapchat streak with friends? Here's how to restore it
To put this in perspective, with a base of 700 million active users, Instagram now has more than twice the size of Twitter s user base, which was recently recorded at 328 million monthly active users. And, looking at the gallops Instagram s user base has been taking, it may soon join Facebook s other properties in the billion-user club, where WhatsApp and Messenger have about 1.2 billion users, and Facebook close to 1.9 billion. Also Read - Facebook smartwatch to feature cameras alongside fitness functions: Yes, detachable cameras!
We re thrilled to announce that our community has grown to more than 700 million Instagrammers. And the last 100 million of you joined faster than ever. We ve made it even easier for people across the globe to join the Instagram community, share their experiences and strengthen connections to their friends and passions. With new features like stories, live video and disappearing messages in Direct, people now have more ways than ever to express themselves and feel closer to what matters to them. From all of us at Instagram, thank you! Photo by @heysp
But the most important perspective to gain here is the comparison to Snapchat s user base. Last year, Snapchat was reported to have close to 301 million monthly active users, and most recently it revealed that it has 161 million daily active users. Instagram Stories reached 200 million daily active users earlier this month. In fact, Instagram s combined ephemeral and permanent messaging feature Direct, also inspired by Snapchat, recently hit 375 million monthly users.
It s undeniable that among other things, Instagram does owe this growth to Snapchat s Stories feature, at least a little bit. And Instagram most certainly does not deny the fact. When asked if the inspiration from Snapchat helped boost the Instagram s user count, a spokesperson told TechCrunch, Yes, it s impacted growth and retention.
Having said that, it is also unfair to entirely take the credit away from Instagram for its success. It borrowed the Stories feature? Yes. It felt like a shameful process of cloning when one feature after the other was borrowed from Snapchat? (Direct Messages, Screenshot notification, disappearing DMs, and so on) Yes. But, what differentiates Instagram from Snapchat is that it has fully embraced the creators community while the latter is still shy of expanding beyond being a private messaging platform. ALSO READ: Facebook has over 184 million monthly active users in India; rolls out reactions for Lite app, camera effects for India, and more
Besides, Instagram has been working in a bundle of other features which automatically makes the platform more attractive. To begin with, Instagram has been simplifying the sign-up process and making it easier to find friends on the platform. The Explore tab has been made richer with really apt suggestions. The integration of Boomerang into its Stories is one of the irrefutable factor behind its success. Live videos is another addition.
Then, Instagram has been building products specifically for users who can t afford data plans or have weak connectivity. It just introduced offline mode on Android, it has been consistently working on its mobile web experience, at the same time keeping the Android app s file size to a minimum. ALSO READ: Instagram Stories popularity leads to steep decline in Snapchat Story usage: Report
Instagram has also managed to create an extremely strong base for businesses and advertisers. The app now has 1 million active advertisers, up from 500,000 in September, with plans to offer them more data and flexibility.
It s rare for a photo editing and sharing app to evolve into a primary platform for visual communication, and stay this relevant for over six years. Like an amoeba, Instagram shaped itself with whatever trends that hit it on its way, and it deserves to get due credit for its journey. ALSO READ: Sure, Facebook Messenger crosses 1.2 billion monthly active users, but what next?