Instagram Stats Point to Holiday Slump, Not User Revolt

By Devon Glenn 

Over the holidays, Instagram saw a sharp decline in the number of daily active users who had connected to the photo-sharing service through Facebook.

While an article in the New York Post suggested that the users were boycotting the app in response to Instagram’s changes to its user agreement, the numbers did not support this claim.

Between Dec. 24 and 25, Instagram’s user base dropped to 12.5 million DAU from its peak of 16.4 million DAU on Dec. 19, according to statistics from AppData.

On Dec. 17, Instagram gave users a preview of the proposed updates to its terms of use, which the company retracted on Dec. 20 after rumors spread that Instagram would sell users’ personal photos to advertisers without compensation.

An Inside Network spokesperson said that although “the terms of service change spurred a lot of negative media attention and complaints from users, the decline in Facebook-connected daily active users began closer to Christmas, not immediately after the proposed policy changes. The drop between Dec. 24 and 25 seems likely to be related to the holiday, during which time people are traveling and otherwise have different routines than usual. A number of other apps saw similar trends, including Skype, Pandora, Pinterest and Yelp.”

Further, AppData measures only Facebook-connected users of the Instagram app. In a previous report, our sibling blog InsideFacebook said that Facebook users represent 20 to 30 percent of Instagram’s user base as a whole.

Earlier today, Instagram posted a list of notable celebrities and brands that joined Instagram in 2012, but did not provide statistics on overall user activity or growth.

Instagram denies the claim that the app’s usage has suffered. A company spokesperson said, “We continue to see strong and steady growth in both registered and active users of Instagram.