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March 28, 2014
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All those shameless selfies and filtered photos have done Instagram well: The photo-sharing app surpassed Twitter's monthly active mobile users in the US, according to a new report.
Research company eMarketer released new numbers this week on Instagram's growth: This year, 40.5 million Instagram users will log on monthly. Meanwhile, Twitter's monthly active users are set to grow by 7 million this year to 37.8 million -- 2.7 million less than Instagram.
"Instagram usage in the US has ramped up rapidly and is already maturing, reaching regular usage levels nearly matching Twitter's, particularly on smartphones and among millennials and Gen Xers," the report said. "By the end of this year, almost 25% of US smartphone users will snap a photo, slap on a filter, and share their creations with their friends on Instagram on a monthly basis."
Earlier this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Instagram, which the social network acquired in 2012 for $1 billion, crossed the 200-million-user mark. Zuckerberg revealed the milestone during an investor relations call explaining Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus VR.
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Instagram's growth under Facebook has been impressive. After the acquisition, Facebook said it would be happy if Instagram hit 100 million users. Two years later, Instagram has exceeded that expectation and gained an edge over Twitter.
The eMarketer report comes at an interesting time for Twitter, which announced two major photo updates this week: Users can now tag up to ten people in a photo and upload up to four photos in one tweet without it affecting their character limit.
While the update makes photo-sharing more convenient, it could be too little too late -- both Instagram and Facebook have impressive photo-sharing figures: Facebook users have shared more than 250 billion photos, while Instagram users have uploaded more than 20 billion.
The report also delved into the composition of Instagram and Twitter users. Twitter, which launched in 2006, is four years older than Instagram, and its user base shows signs of maturity. While Twitter's composition spreads the user population more evenly across age groups, Instagram's is still largely limited to a pool of millennial and Gen X users. Last year, 69% of Instagram users were between the ages of 18 and 44; this year, that figure will drop slightly to 67.5%, according to eMarketer.
"Over time, Instagram's user base in these age groups will approach, but not surpass, Twitter's," the report said. "eMarketer does not expect significant shifts in usage by age for either site within our forecast period, and Instagram's user count among 19- to 44-year-olds will remain about 1 million fewer than Twitter's in each year throughout our forecast."
Instagram's growing mobile market share is also good news for its advertising efforts. In October, the app announced it would slowly introduce image- and video-based ads into users' feeds. Earlier this month, Instagram landed its first major deal with ad agency Omnicom, worth as much as $100 million in ads from clients the agency represents, according to reports.
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About the Author(s)
Senior Editor, InformationWeek.com
Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior writer. Kristin's writing has earned an ASBPE Gold Award in 2010 for her Facebook coverage and a Min Editorial and Design Award in 2011 for "Single Online Article." She is a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
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