Instagram tops 300 million monthly users
Nine months after topping the 200-million mark, photo-sharing app Instagram reached a new milestone: 300 million monthly active users.
Of that 300 million, 65% of Instagram's users are outside the US. On average, Instagram users share 70 million photos a day, up from 60 million the year before. To date, users have shared 30 billion photos.
The milestone puts Instagram ahead of publicly traded social network Twitter, which as of October boasted 284 million monthly active users.
"We're thrilled to watch this community thrive and witness the amazing connections people make over shared passions and journeys," says Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram, in a blog post published Tuesday.
Research firm eMarketer estimates about one-sixth of US smartphone users - 52.5 million - use Instagram. Of those, nearly 80 per cent are between the ages of 12 and 34.
Systrom says he wants to keep Instagram "authentic," so the service will introduce verified badges in the coming days for celebrities, athletes and brands. It's not clear how a user can qualify to grab verified status.
The service is also cracking down on fake and spammy accounts, deleting them permanently from Instagram.
Launched in 2010, Instagram allows users to share photos, often with special filters. Last year, the mobile app for Android, iOS and Windows Phone added video. Earlier this year, Instagram launched a separate Hyperlapse app so users can capture time-lapsed videos.
In 2012, social network Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion, and has sought ways to make money off the photo-sharing service. Instagram began running ads last year, and its 300 million user base is "very attractive" to marketers, says eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson.
"Instagram's ad business is still very new and has a lot of growing up to do — for example, its targeting capabilities are still very limited," she says. "But the company's new authentication initiatives send a message to the ad community that their followers will be real entities and that the impressions they receive will not be fakes or bots."