Instagram Growth Timeline

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It’s a household name.

Even if you’re not one of Instagram’s 400 million-and-counting users, and chances are, you are, you’re probably familiar with the picture sharing platform and its cool, retro-camera icon. Like its popular social media counterparts, Instagram started as a simple app that allowed users to connect in a unique way. The app allowed anyone to be a photographer and share their favorite photos with others. People caught on… and then it grew. A lot. Just how much?



Instagram’s growth has been exponential and lets’s face it, impressive, since Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched the app on October 6, 2010.

The first few months for any new app are make it or die. Instagram headed out of the gate strong and kept going. One month after launch, Instagram had over one million users—a record milestone for a baby company to achieve. Two months’ later, it celebrated 150 million photo uploads. As word-of-mouth spread, user numbers skyrocketed to 100 million app downloads by September 2011. Instagram’s momentum continued to grow organically, thanks in part to excitement and engagement from users as it launched the “Lux” filter and compatibility with the Android operating system app in 2012.



Twenty-twelve proved to be a benchmark for the company. Instagram’s rapid growth and user satisfaction caught Facebook’s eye. The company was purchased by the social media powerhouse on April 9th, 2012 for a reported $1 billion in cash and stock. By July of that year, reports that 80 million users had downloaded Instagram surfaced. It continues to have the highest interaction rate among users of all social networking platforms to date.

The world became Instagram’s playground. The app launched the ‘Willow’ filter in 2013, along with the ability to embed photos. One of their more popular features, Instagram video, also released that year, allowing users to share their videos along with images. The app became available in twenty-five languages. Ready to capitalize on their popularity, the company released sponsorships and advertising opportunities in 2013, as well. The updates were successful in feeding growth. Instagram claimed 100 million users by January 26th, 2013, and 150 million on September 6th, 2013.

Instagram’s statistics are impressive and a testament to their consistent growth pattern. In 2016, the company boasted 55 million photos shared per day, which inspired users to leave 1.2 billion daily likes. With services like Buzzoid selling Instagram likes, the business of likes and followers has become a business in and of itself – and what was once an app for sharing photos has burgeoned industries that followed in its steps. There are even services boasting free Instagram likes, allowing you to give a like and get a like in return – a namesake for gaming the system.

Very recent additions like direct messaging keep growth going and Instagram marked 400 million users in 2015.

Ready to see that impressive growth timeline again?

(10/6/10) Instagram is launched
(12/12/12) First 1 million users
(8/3/11) 150 millionth upload
(9/26/11) 10 million users
(4/9/12) Facebook purchases Instagram
(7/26/12) 80 million users
(2/26/13) 100 million users
(9/6/13) 150 million users
(2015) Marked 400 million users

In the ever-changing social media landscape, Instagram has rooted itself firmly in place. Adaptability and change based on user need and experience are keys to survival—things Instagram has worked to its favor. In 2017, the app continues to be a user favorite and doesn’t show signs of losing growth, anytime soon.

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