The Facebook-owned app announced on its blog that the platform has gained 100 million followers in just nine months yesterday (10 Dec).
Instagram has surpassed both Twitter and Tumblr in the amount of active users they have on their platform. According to a Statista report published in November 2014, Twitter and Tumblr have 284 million and 230 million active users respectively,while Facebook leads the way with 1.35 billion users. Google+ and LinkedIn have just over 300 million users.
The boost in user numbers comes in the same year Instagram announced that it would introduce ads into the app for the first time. It began trialling ads in the US with Michael Kors, Burberry and Taco Bell, in November. Starbucks, Cadbury, Channel 4, Rimmel, Estee Lauder and Waitrose became the first UK brands to advertise on Instagram in September 2014.
Related, Instagram also announced yesterday that “verified badges” will be added on the app, which will legitimise the profiles of brands and high profile celebrities.
Chris Buckley, chief digital officer at TMW Unlimited, is not convinced that more users will necessarily mean that the app can provide a better service for advertisers but it certainly doesn’t hamper.
“Size itself doesn’t equate to popularity and won’t make more advertisers turn to Instagram. What the increased size of community does do, however, is introduce more choice. With more users comes a broader range of interests and content. It gives more scale to the brand-specific topics that advertisers are interested in, and therefore, that’s a positive,” says Buckley.
Instagram has also announced that it would begin deleting spam accounts on the social network. Depending on how many spam accounts there are, it is not known how much this will reduce the groups follower account or if it would be significant for brands.
Ed Kitchingman research and insight director for We Are Social, told Marketing Week that there would be little impact on the size of users if Instagram removes spam accounts, he says: “This will further ensure the validity of the product and reassure potential advertisers that their investment is in safe hands.”
Instagram’s growth in users could potentially be a blow for Twitter after it has produced various strategies this year to accommodate brands and advertising on the platform.
Buckley says: “Every social platform is different. Instagram’s growth won’t impact negatively on Twitter, not least because Instagram’s ad options are little known and very limited, but instead just serves to mature the market – which is beneficial to everyone.”