Instagram Blows the Doors Off Twitter

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Instagram, headed by CEO Kevin Systrom (pictured left), was bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion. It now has more than 400 million users–100 million of them signing up in the past nine months. Twitter has just 316 million monthly active users and we bet it wishes it had been successful in its attempt to buy the company!

The most followed Instagram accounts include David Beckham from the UK, Caitlyn Jenner from the US, Indonesia’s Raffi and Nagita, German soccer player Toni Kroos and South Korea’s T.O.P. More than 80 million photos are shared on the service every day, up from 70 million in June.

But do those users translate into income for the company? Big time! Research firm eMarketer estimates while this year Instagram’s global ad revenue will be $600 million, it will reach about $1.5 billion in 2016 and $2.8 billion in 2017. And Instagram’s advertising push puts it in direct competition with Twitter for ad revenue as well as users.

Why is Twitter lagging behind Instagram? Twitter’s interim CEO Jack Dorsey has been quoted as saying that Twitter hasn’t been making bold product changes quickly enough, lacks discipline as a company, and has failed to get employees focused on a clear company vision.

So who are the 100 million newest Instagram members? More than 75% of them live outside of the U.S; over half live in Europe and Asia; Brazil, Japan and Indonesia have added the most new users.

What’s Twitter Up To? Twitter recently unveiled plans to launch Lightening so they can hand-curate live events coverage. But Instagram already has a new live events feature on its Explore page, a move that challenges Twitter as the source for tracking real-time conversations and trends. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has declared that Instagram is now “one of the best places to get a real time snapshot of the world.”

Instagram isn’t the only Facebook product to make impressive strides this year. Facebook’s messaging service Messenger, grew to 700 million monthly active users in June, up from 600 million in March. And Facebook’s messaging app WhatsApp now boasts 900 million monthly active users. Can it be long before Facebook explores how to monetize these messaging apps?

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