Instagram, which has faced serious allegations of copying Snapchat features, is growing faster than ever. On Tuesday, the Facebook-owned company revealed that it had hit another milestone: 700 million monthly active users. It seems the copycat features are accelerating its growth.

Snapchat Instagram
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Instagram growing faster than ever

The social network said in a blog post: “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.”

Instagram is now twice as big as Twitter. Considering the pace at which it is growing, it won’t be long before it joins Facebook’s other properties (WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook itself) in the billion-user club.

According to Instagram, the U.S. is its biggest market, followed by Brazil, which it says has long been its number two. Other big markets for the network are the U.K., Japan, Indonesia, India and Turkey. About 80% of its users are now based outside the U.S., notes TechCrunch.

“Growth was driven by a number of factors, including our ability to better connect people with their friends on Instagram,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We also took steps to simplify and improve our sign-up process, which helped bring in new people from all over the world.”

Along with these efforts, the service has also been making products for users with weak connectivity or those who can’t afford data plans. For instance, it recently launched offline mode on Android and is focusing on making its mobile web experience better while keeping the size of the Android app to a minimum, notes TechCrunch.

After launching in October 2010, the service reached the first 100 million monthly users in February 2013, and then the next by March 2014. Thereafter, the service kept on adding 100 million users almost every nine months, until December, when it announced it had breached the 600 million mark. It took only about six months to go from 500 million to 600 million users, and this time, it took even less time, just about four months to add 100 million more users, notes The Verge.

How Snapchat helped Instagram’s growth

In March, the service touted one more achievement: 1 million monthly active advertisers on the platform. A few weeks ago, it revealed (probably to tease Snapchat) that its Stories feature alone has  200 million daily users. In comparison, Snapchat, which had a similar feature long before Instagram copied it, has around 158 million daily users in total. Instagram is also honest to acknowledge the contribution of the Snapchat-inspired features to its users count.

When asked if the Snapchat clone Instagram Stories boosted its user numbers, the service told TechCrunch, “Yes, it’s impacted growth and retention.”

Instagram’s combined ephemeral and permanent messaging feature Direct (also inspired by Snapchat) boasts 375 million monthly users.

Instagram’s growth has come at the expense of Snapchat. Since the launch of the Stories clone in August, Snapchat’s growth has dropped by 82%, notes TechCrunch. Now analysts and experts are eagerly waiting for the first public earnings report from Snap (the parent company of Snapchat) next month, which will reveal the user count.