Instagram Is the Pace Car of Social Media


Al Urbanski, Senior Editor
Direct Marketing News

February 22, 2016

It’s growing five times faster than social media overall and will pass 100 million U.S. users in 2018.

emarketerinstagram22216_923719Instagram’s U.S. user base is projected to grow by 15% this year. The user base of social media as a whole is expected to grow just 3%. Add to that the fact that the image-posting site will account for one-fifth of Facebook’s mobile ad revenues in 2016 and it’s for sure that the billion dollars that Mark Zuckerberg paid for Instagram four years ago was money well spent.

These figures emanate from a new report by eMarketer, which charts a steady climb for Instagram—in tandem with its parent company—through 2020. It’s expected to have 116 million American users then, still far shy of Facebook’s projected 178 million, but well ahead of Twitter’s 71 million and Pinterest’s 67 million.

Instagram’s future is bolstered by a strong contingent of millennials. Currently more than half of its 89 million users fall into that age group; eMarketer predicts that nearly two thirds of all millennial smartphone owners will use Instagram by 2019.

“Instagram and Facebook know that mobile has changed the way people—especially millennials and Gen X-ers—communicate,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer’s principal analyst. “Instagram has a lot of momentum with advertisers and its revenue is increasing rapidly.”