Instagram Hits 800 Million Monthly Users, Adding 100 Million in Just 5 Months

Facebook’s Carolyn Everson talks about video’s explosive growth

Instagram has 500 million daily active users. Getty Images
Headshot of Lauren Johnson

After announcing this morning that Instagram has 2 million advertisers, the Facebook-owned app also says that it has 800 million monthly users, up from 700 million in April.

Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vp of marketing solutions, mentioned the stat during an Advertising Week presentation on Monday about video, adding that the growth over the past five months is the fastest growth period for adding Instagram users. Moreover, 500 million of those users check out Instagram every day.

“Instagram is the largest global community of people that has ever been created around a set of passions,” Everson said. “People on Instagram follow people they know and many follow people they don’t know. They follow businesses, they follow passions and they create communities out of that.”

Video in particular has been massive for Instagram’s growth, and video production using the app has quadrupled over the past year, Everson said. In terms of Stories—Instagram’s Snapchat clone that lets accounts post ephemeral vertical-oriented content for 24 hours, 250 million accounts use the feature. The GIF-like Boomerang format has been a particular hit on Instagram and now makes up 25 percent of Instagram Stories.

“Calling video video would be like calling The Beatles just a band or Bobbi Brown just a makeup freelance artist,” Everson said. “In three years, the estimates are that 75 percent of all mobile data traffic will be actually video—we think this could even be underestimated.”

Later, Everson moderated a panel with Suzy Deering, eBay’s vp and CMO; Ben Lerer, CEO of Group Nine Media and BBDO Worldwide president and CEO Andrew Robertson.

Since announcing 24 shows for Facebook Watch—the social platform’s video hub—three weeks ago, Group Nine Media’s Lerer said that the platform is “working spectacularly.” The media brand’s clips have racked up more than 100 million video views that have generated more than 100 million minutes of viewing. More than half a million people have subscribed to Group Nine Media’s shows.

“We’re getting that behavior—people are staying longer than they might for news feed content,” Lerer said. “With 24 shows, it’s not just 24 [shows] of the same idea—we’re doing some shows that are animated, we’re doing some where we’ll publish for binge viewing … the idea is we can collectively take the learnings from all these different kinds of programs that we’re creating, we’re going to be able to continue to have this advantage.”

EBay’s Deering added that the number of video platforms available to brands these days can actually be a barrier to getting her team’s advertising out into the world, even with faster digital production times.

“Now we have a lot more means and I think that’s what actually gets in our way sometimes,” she said.

For example, eBay is currently working on its holiday campaign after months of planning but creating the campaign involves numerous processes and excess work when planning for individual platforms. “You find an idea and you realize that we’re in our own way to actually express or develop the idea because everybody immediately [thinks] that it’s going to take these massive steps in the journey of the production,” Deering said. “When we break it down, you think about the customer journey and where they’re taking those moments and understanding and unlocking that moment.”

According to Deering, part of the problem is that brands test out their video on across many platforms, but don’t apply that data well to future campaigns.

“I think sometimes we test and we learn but then we don’t really apply again and I think that’s where the challenge comes into play,” Deering said. “So often we get caught into the next thing and we’re moving too quick. What I would love to see is how do you apply those learnings, take it and be constantly re-inventing every single time we have another opportunity.”

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.