Instagram Hits 400M Monthly Users As Twitter Slows To A Halt

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While Twitter may still dominate the political discourse as well as remaining relevant, Facebook’s photo sharing app Instagram has announced that it now has 400 million monthly users blowing past Twitter.

Oh what a difference nine months makes

It was only nine months ago that Instagram announced that it had reached 300 million monthly users. Comparatively, Twitter claims somewhere in the neighborhood of 315 million monthly users. While Twitter has had some success with building revenues, it is still struggling to find additional users. Conversely, Instagram seems to be finding them everywhere and from all corners of the world. While both David Beckham and Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner have joined the service in the last nine months, surely Instagram’s recent successes come from more than simply adding the two stars.

Instagram announced its 400 million with the following post from its team…

Our community has evolved to be even more global, with more than 75 percent living outside of the US. To all the new Instagrammers: welcome! Among the last 100 million to join, more than half live in Europe and Asia. The countries that added the most Instagrammers include Brazil, Japan and Indonesia.

Monetizing Instagram

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s “separate apps” strategy seems to be working. Facebook presently claims about 1.4 billion monthly users which is unlikely to be caught anytime soon. Given Facebook’s success and sway, its standalone (FB) Messenger app has over 700 million monthly users. WhatsApp, which Facebook purchased in 2014 for $19 billion, is rapidly approaching a billion users.

Next, is the money for Facebook if Instagram’s numbers are to be viewed as a success. Earlier this month, Instagram rolled out widespread advertising and will soon introduce targeted ads as well.

“We’re moving from the hundreds of large brands we work with today to the several thousands of medium and small businesses with a presence on Instagram,” said James Quarles, Instagram’s global head of business and brand development.

“There are 2 million advertisers on Facebook today—that’s the size and scale we’re looking at. Plus expanding from eight markets to 30, that gives you a sense of the broadening of availability.”

Additionally, the company rolled-out a feature called Marquee for brands to quickly get the word out on a movie debut or product launch.

“Lots and lots of advertisers have these moments they want to communicate broadly,” said Quarles. “If you have a movie launching, a new handset launching, those are all big moments. Marquee offers the ability for a campaign to have greater prominence.”

Lastly, Instagram introduced a “shop now” button to chase even more revenue.

“There are just so many small businesses, from coffee shops to retailers, that have organic accounts; we’ve found we can create value for the businesses, value for the community,” said Quarles.

Facebook’s bottom line

It remains nearly impossible to quantify what these new Instagram revenue streams mean to Facebook’s bottom line, but with announcements like today’s it’s difficult to look at the Instagram purchase as anything less than a shrewd investment for Facebook.

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