A huge chunk of the world’s population is now using Instagram. There’s no surprise that there are so many huge fans of the platform, since it is pretty versatile, both for private users, marketers and for individuals and businesses that want to use it to increase their presence, or to become an influencer and earn from the platform. We’ll be looking at why Instagram has been such a success, and why you should be using Instagram – if, of course, you’re not already on board!
Instagram was launched on October 6th, 2010. In the decade it has been in existence, it has grown to be one of the biggest social media success stories – possibly in part due to being bought by Facebook in the first couple of years the platform was in existence. When Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, they paid $1 billion in cash and stock – and yet at that time, Instagram had only amassed 30 million users. From there, Instagram was monetised for advertising in 2013. As of 2018, Bloomberg valued Instagram as worth $100 billion – and considering we’re now in 2020 and that figure has continued to rise, we’d say that’s a pretty impressive return on the initial investment!
Instagram currently employs around 550 people worldwide.
Worldwide, Instagram is currently the 6th most popular social network, behind Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Weixin/WeChat, the Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app. If we take out the three messaging apps in that list, (WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are both owned by Facebook anyway) then it comes in as the third most popular social media website in terms of monthly active users.
Although Instagram is currently around half as popular as their parent platform Facebook, Instagram users actually spend a pretty similar amount of time on Instagram as they do on Facebook – with around 53 minutes spent on Instagram each day, compared with 58 minutes on Facebook.
Instagram has over 1 billion accounts worldwide that are active each month. Of those 1 billion accounts, in 2019, there were just under 855 million users worldwide who were accessing their accounts each month, but by 2023, this number is expected to pass 988 million users.
Instagram post statistics
Instagram bios have just 150 characters.
Instagram post captions have 2,200 characters.
As we write this post there have been over 50 billion photos shared on Instagram.
89.5% of Instagram photos are posted normally with no Instagram filter having been added (we can’t speak for filters from phones, other apps or graphic design platforms!)
The most popular filters are Clarendon, followed by Juno, Ludwig, Lark, and Gingham.
Instagram post size
When you’re creating your Instagram posts – especially those that aren’t photos you’ve snapped inside the Instagram app – you’ll need to know the optimal size and aspect ratio. We’ve gathered these into a handy grid for you to be able to refer back to!
|Type of Instagram Post||Aspect Ratio||Instagram Post Size|
|Square Photo||1:1||1080 x 1080 pixels|
|Landscape Photo||1.91:1||1080 x 608 pixels|
|Portrait Photo||4:5||1080 x 1350 pixels|
|Instagram Stories||9:16||1080 x 1920 pixels|
|IGTV Cover Photo||1:1.55||420 x 654 pixels|
|Instagram Square Video||1:1||1080 x 1080 pixels|
|Instagram Landscape Video||1.91:1||1080 x 608 pixels|
|Instagram Portrait Video||4:5||1080 x 1350 pixels|
If you’re uploading photos to Instagram and they’re turning out fuzzy in your feed, it is likely to be because you’ve used a file that is larger than, or smaller than 1080 pixels. Where images are too large, Instagram automatically compresses the image, which can cause the image to be distorted and lower the quality.
Pro tip: if you’re struggling to get your image to upload without it being compressed, you can try uploading your images from your desktop. The Instagram web browser application is able to keep photo quality much more than the mobile app does.
Who uses Instagram?
It might seem like the whole world is using Instagram, but that isn’t quite the case. Let’s take a look at some of the demographic information that you might want to know:
Age of Instagram users worldwide
When we take a look at information about the age of Instagram users, 71% of the monthly active users on Instagram are under the age of 35. 2/3 of Instagram users in the age 18-24 bracket use the platform multiple times every single day – which means there is a lot of chance of engagement! But even in the 35-44 age bracket, half the user base are using it more than once per day, while 31% the oldest group (age 55+) access their Instagram account multiple times daily.
Gender information for Instagram users worldwide
When it comes to gender split, 51% are female and 49% male. However, this this is looking at worldwide figures, remember – and when we get to looking at different countries, there are some very different splits in usage by men and women.
Unfortunately, although Instagram has allowed users to choose ‘not specified’ when they sign up, many reports aren’t talking about how many users choose that option, or the custom options that they rolled out as part of their Pride 2019 updates – which was a full five years after Facebook did. That means that at the moment we’re not able to work with data about users of Instagram who identify as non-binary, or another gender option – which could be really useful for businesses to know.
In terms of the top 10 most followed accounts on Instagram, there is a pretty even split – it is made up of 5 male users, and 5 female users.
Education and household income
It might not be something that you would necessarily wonder about at first, but 32% of Instagram users attended college, with just 27% having high school degree or less.
In terms of average annual household income for Instagram users – well, worldwide data would be a pretty tall order, but in the US, breakdown is as follows:
$30,000 to $49,999: 32%
$50,000 to $74,999: 32%
$75,000 or more: 37%
Pretty even split – so if you’re a marketer, you’ll need to keep this in mind.
Where in the world does Instagram have the most users?
When businesses are choosing which social media channels are going to be the most effective, worldwide usage is important to know. Businesses are likely to work with the biggest, and most popular social media channels worldwide, but when they know where the most users of those platforms live across the territories they work in, they will know where to direct the majority of their social media marketing efforts.
Countries with the most Instagram users in 2020
Let’s take a look at the top 10 countries where Instagram has the most users:
United States: 120 million users – in the US, 63% Instagram users access the app more than once a day!
India: 88 million users – 72.7% of users in India are male.
Brazil: 82 million users – the majority of Instagram users in Brazil are in the 25 – 34 age bracket.
Indonesia: 64 million users – Instagram is marginally more popular with women in Indonesia (51%).
Russia: 46 million users – 40% of Instagram users in Russia are in the 25 – 34 age bracket.
Turkey: 39 million users – Instagram users in Turkey are predominantly male (58%).
Japan: 31 million users – Instagram has a penetration rate of over 63% in 20 – 29 year olds in Japan.
Mexico: 26 million users – Instagram has just 0.23% market share in Mexico – Facebook has 80.14%!
United Kingdom: 25 million users – More women than men use Instagram in the UK – 56.2%
Germany: 22 million users – Germany has an even split of male to female Instagram users – 50.3% to 49.7%.
Although there is a pretty huge number of Instagram users in the United States, it isn’t where the highest percentage of reach is. Interestingly, the countries that have the highest percentage of Instagram users for the population aren’t even in the top 10 list of most users, and in some cases, they’re some of the smaller nations of the world – Brunei is just 5,765km2! Let’s take a look at the countries with the highest percentage of reach:
Brunei: 60% of the population use Instagram
Iceland: 56% of the population use Instagram
Turkey: 56% of the population use Instagram
Sweden: 55% of the population use Instagram
Kuwait: 55% of the population use Instagram
Where businesses are aiming to reach customers in these countries, Instagram should definitely be on their agenda, both for posting organic content, for working with Instagram influencers, and for creating ad posts.
Instagram usage intent
Time zones worldwide make it pretty tricky to determine generalised information about when people use Instagram the most – because when it is midday somewhere, it is midnight somewhere else! But there is evidence to suggest that Instagram users engage with posts much more on weekdays, with Tuesdays and Thursdays showing more engagement than other days. However, evidence for this is conflicting, with some research showing that there is consistent engagement on weekdays (Monday to Friday) between 9-4. Are we all bored at work and looking for entertainment from our Instagram feed and Stories? Quite possibly, but don’t worry, we won’t tell the boss if you don’t…!
What do people use Instagram for?
Generally, people use Instagram for the purpose it was designed for – sharing photos and interacting with other people. But there are a whole bunch of other reasons that people are using Instagram for as the platform has evolved!
Finding people and posts with the same interest
Instagram is a social media platform – and so it makes complete sense that people extend their social circle on there! Instagram allows users to use up to 30 hashtags on each post, and those hashtags come in useful. Hashtags allow the post to be returned when another user searches for them – which then helps to increase engagement in terms of likes and follows.
Data from Facebook (who own Instagram, remember?) suggest that around 91% of Instagram users follow at least one of their interests. This can be as high as 98% in some countries though! The top three interests on Instagram are travel (45%), music (44%) and food and drink (43%) – which probably isn’t much of a surprise to anyone who is a regular Instagram user, considering the number of posts we see showing off holiday snaps, and photos of avocado toast – yum!
To increase their business
As a visual platform, Instagram is an ideal platform for people to start a business. In fact, it is estimated that there are more than 500,000 active influencers that are working on Instagram at present. That counts for around 39% of Instagram accounts with over 15,000 followers!
How do people make money from their Instagram account, you might wonder? Brand sponsored influencer posts are expected to surpass 6.12 million in 2020, while in just the first quarter of 2019, there were almost 25,000 Instagram accounts that published with the #ad hashtag. It isn’t just about creating influencer advertising though – almost any business can benefit from setting up an Instagram account, and sharing posts about their daily activities.
Creating more authentic content has been shown to increase trust in brands, and the use of Story posts, alongside behind the scenes and candid footage can help followers to become even more invested in the brands they follow.
To support businesses, Instagram created business profiles in 2016. With the launch of business profiles came advanced analytics and gave those accounts the ability to turn Instagram posts into ads without needing to leave the Instagram app itself. Currently here are five types of ads that businesses can make use of on Instagram: photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, Story ads and ads in Explore.
There isn’t really any wonder Instagram has been working with, and for businesses to create branded content on the platform, since 68% of people say they come to Instagram to interact with creators. Not only that, 50% of Instagram users follow at least one business account. There’s even more evidence that Instagram is a great platform for businesses. A Facebook survey showed that 78% of Instagram users see brands on Instagram as popular, 77% as entertaining and 72% as committed to building community. That’s a pretty positive perception, considering how often we see complaints about adverts on TV, YouTube and so on!
Instagram has become essential to the world of eCommerce too. 80% of Instagram users turn to Instagram before they make a purchase decision. Every month, 130 million Instagram accounts tap Shopping posts to learn more about a product. Not only that, after seeing a product or service on Instagram, 79% searched for more information, 37% visited the retail store and 46% made a purchase. Not bad going for a social media post that might not have cost anything but time to create!
As a source for news
In the UK, the use of Instagram to discover news information has doubled in the past two years – and around 28% start their news journeys with a website or app rather than mainstream formats. Currently nearly a quarter of 18 to 24 year olds have used Instagram as a source of news, but just 26% of people say they trust social media as a source of information. We expect this trend to continue, especially with the tendency of people to share news stories on their profiles.
Instagram account statistics
Users can have up to five Instagram accounts that they can switch between within the Instagram app – which is incredibly useful for business owners who need to be able to post to their company Instagram feed as well as their own when they are on the go.
When it comes to how many accounts you’re allowed to follow – well, you can only follow 7500 accounts on one account, to help reduce spam. If you manage to spot someone who is following more than this number of accounts, they have been following them all since before Instagram implemented this change. For those that are following that many accounts, we’d hate to see how long it takes them to scroll through their feed in the morning!
The top 10 Instagram accounts with the most followers
If you are using Instagram, it is pretty likely that you will know most of these celebrities! Here are the top ten most followed Instagram accounts at the time we wrote the post:
@instagram (Instagram) – 353.91 million followers
@cristiano (Cristiano Ronaldo) – 244.56 million followers
@arianagrande (Ariana Grande) – 190.89 million followers
@therock (Dwayne Johnson ‘The Rock’) – 187.05 million followers
@kyliejenner (Kylie Jenner) – 181.19 million followers
@selenagomez (Selena Gomez) – 180.14 million followers
@kimkardashian (Kim Kardashian West) – 175.42 million followers
@leomessi (Leo Messi) – 155.07 million followers
@beyonce (Beyoncé) – 148.51 million followers
@justinbieber (Justin Bieber) – 142 million followers
For those of you who aren’t in the know – Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi are football players, while Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez are both singers and actresses, Beyoncé and Justin Bieber are both musicians, Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian West are TV personalities, models and businesswomen, and Dwayne Johnson is an actor and professional wrestler.
Top 10 most liked posts on Instagram
The most liked photo on Instagram was set up purely to attempt to set a world record – and it has yet to be cracked! (Oh…. We’re so sorry about that terrible pun!) Chris Godfrey set up the @world_record_egg account for his world record attempt, and so far there is no sign of the post being surpassed. But although 54.5 million likes is a pretty decent number of likes for a single post, it is only a fraction of the accounts that are using Instagram monthly! Of those active monthly users, there are another 800 million accounts that haven’t liked the post, so there’s a lot of potential ground to be covered.
@world_record_egg (Chris Godfrey) – Photo of an egg: 54.5 million likes
@xxxtentacion (XXXTentacion) – Final post before his death: 20.9 million likes
@kyliejenner (Kylie Jenner) – First photo of her daughter: 18.5 million likes
@jenniferaniston (Jennifer Aniston) – Photo with Friends co-stars: 16.1 million likes
@kyliejenner (Kylie Jenner) – Birthday post for ex-boyfriend Travis Scott: 15.8 million likes
@tentree (tentree) – Planting trees in Indonesia for likes: 15.5 million likes
@kingjames (LeBron James) – Post in remembrance of Kobe Bryant: 15.5 million likes
@kyliejenner (Kylie Jenner) – Photo of her daughter in a bathtub: 15.2 million likes
@therock (Dwayne Johnson) – Photo of his wedding: 14.5 million likes
@selenagomez (Selena Gomez) – Photos with friends: 14.4 million likes
We’ve pulled our information for this list from Statista.
There’s a lot of difference between the most liked post and the 10th most liked post on Instagram – a whole 40 million likes!
Since 2019, Instagram has been testing hiding likes in order to help encourage more realistic content, rather than encouraging content creators to post what they think their followers might like. It is a bit too soon to know the impact of this action, but we’re expecting there will be a drop in use of superficial statistics in exchange for much more valuable metrics. Will that stop people attempting to make the list of most liked posts? We very much doubt it!
Instagram Story statistics
Instagram Story posts were added to accounts in 2016, when there was a lot of criticism that the feature was blatantly lifted from Snapchat. Although that may or may not have been the case, Instagram Stories only took six months to outperform Snapchat’s entire database. In 2019, there were 500 million daily active Instagram Stories users.
Instagram Stories are the second most popular content format for influencer marketing, after Instagram feed posts.
Stories are also incredibly popular for brands that are using Instagram. Let’s take these statistics into consideration:
- More than 90% of accounts follow a business on Instagram
- A third of the most viewed Stories are from businesses
- 200 million Instagram users view at least one business profile every day
- Brands post an average of 2.5 Stories every single week, while 50% of businesses worldwide that have Instagram accounts are creating at least one Story post in a typical month
- 62% of Instagram users say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing a Story about it
- Brands posting Stories on Instagram have an 85% completion rate
If these statistics can’t convince you that Instagram Story posts are essential for social media strategy, we’re honestly not sure what possibly can.
Instagram advertising statistics
Since Instagram was monetised for advertising in 2013, it has grown significantly in popularity – and it is hardly surprising. Costs are low in terms of cost per click, and working with influencers has opened up a whole new type of authentic advertising that followers love – and provides a great return on investment.
Instagram advertising costs
Influencer advertising on Instagram can be incredibly lucrative for the influencer, as long as they have the right audience. Kylie Jenner earns an estimated $1.3 million per sponsored post! It is unlikely that the average influencer can earn that kind of money, but there is some serious money being spent on influencer marketing worldwide – global spend on Instagram is between $5 billion and $10 billion, rising to as much as $15 billion by 2022!
Typical influencer rates for Instagram posts are as follows – although these are an average, there will be some influencers who earn wildly different rates, depending on their audience and what they can help the brand to achieve:
|Nano (500 to 5000 followers)||Micro (5000 to 30,000 followers)||Power (30,000 to 500,000 followers)||Celebrity (500,000+ followers)|
The lower cost to marketers is possibly one reason that more than one third of Instagram posts with the #ad hashtag are Story posts. Around 50% of sponsored feed posts originate in the USA – which tells us that the rest of the world is likely to be playing catchup!
69% of marketers plan to spend the most money on Instagram for influencer marketing this year which is more than six times the expected spend by marketers on YouTube. Not only that, 78% of marketers chose Instagram posts as their first choice for influencer marketing, so there is clearly a lot of opportunity for people who want to create an influencer business on Instagram.
The top five influencer marketing goals that Instagram is used by marketers are:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Reaching new audiences
- Creating sales
- Helping to improve brand advocacy
- Increase potential leads
Cost per click for Instagram feed ads is around $0.60, and for Stories $0.50 – which is pretty reasonable compared to other social media. Despite this pretty low cost, Instagram is expected to earn $12.32 billion in ad revenue in 2020, which means their ad revenue growth is seriously outpacing that of Facebook.
Instagram video statistics
Video sharing on posts was added to Instagram in 2013, and it was quickly adopted by the users with over five million videos being shared in the first 24 hours. although Instagram was created as a photo sharing platform, the importance of video on the platform has grown over time. Let’s have a quick look at the basics you need to know for video on Instagram:
Instagram video basics
- Video posts to an Instagram profile can be up to 60 seconds
- Video post to an Instagram Story can be up to 15 seconds
- Instagram Live Video can be up to 60 minutes
- IGTV Video (uploaded from the separate IGTV app) can be up to 60 minutes
Until 25th May 2020, the most viewed Instagram Live video was of rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine who was talking about his prison sentence and explaining how he got his jail time reduced. This Live feed got more than 2 million views, but on 25th May, the Turkish TV star Acun Ilicali smashed this record when he saw 3 million views on his Instagram Live video when he was talking about his TV show Survivor 2020.
Let’s just remind ourselves that there are more than 1 billion accounts on Instagram – so we don’t think it will be very long at all before these records are smashed again! Not only that, these numbers don’t come anywhere close to the most viewed videos on YouTube (Despacito has had more than 6.8 billion views on YouTube, and there are many more YouTube videos in the ‘Billion View Club’) but as far as we can see, these figures just show the incredible potential that video has to grow on Instagram.
Why use Instagram for video posts?
Instagram video posts get twice the engagement than photo posts. That’s more likes, comments and shares – which all adds up to increased reach, especially when used with the appropriate hashtags.
Stickers on Story videos help to enhance video performance 83% of the time. Considering that stickers are free and easy to apply to a Story post, there is little wonder that brands are using them!
Instagram video for marketing
Instagram video posts are viewed as favourite amongst 54% of marketers for influencer marketing. Since it’s a preferred medium for marketers, there is little wonder that video can be a big earner for influencers. Remember that table we just looked at? It showed us that influencers with between 30,000 and 500,000 followers are able to earn around $775 for a video post, while nano-influencers (those with 500 to 5000 followers) are able to earn an average of $114 per video post on Instagram.
The most popular Instagram video content is how-to guides, followed by behind the scenes posts, interviews and news coverage.
Launched in June 2018, the IGTV app has been installed 7 million times worldwide. Unfortunately, IGTV has been pretty widely criticised in terms of the quality of the long-form content that is offered from creators around the world. In February 2019, it was shown that users created an average of just five IGTV videos before giving up and returning to creating for YouTube. With Facebook as Instagram’s parent company, we expect IGTV will be revamped and relaunched before long – so it is wise not to simply write it off!
Instagram hashtag statistics
Hashtags as an internet phenomena predate Instagram by a good three years – the format was proposed by Chris Messina on Twitter in 2007, when suggesting how to help group ideas together. Since then, hashtags have been widely used by users on different social media platforms for exactly the purpose they were suggested – to help others to find posts that they are interested in. Instagram is absolutely no different, and users have been using hashtags to get more likes, followers and sales, as well as increasing feedback.
On Instagram, users are allowed to use up to 30 hashtags on each post – Instagram have determined that any more than 30 hashtags encourages spam, and keeping hashtag counts low can help accounts to keep their posts relevant. It’s important to use the right hashtags though, as using the most commonly used hashtags (such as #love – which is by far the most used hashtag on Instagram) will see your posts simply fade into the distance.
Branded hashtags are ones that are used specifically by businesses, and research has found that around 70% of hashtags on Instagram are branded. Why do businesses use brand-specific hashtags, you might wonder? Well here are five great reasons to use branded hashtags:
- They can be used to collect user-generated content, which means reposts can be made, increasing brand awareness, the likelihood of gaining new followers and increasing trust.
- They can help to create a community, and encourage brand followers to follow each other. This is social media, after all!
- They can help followers to see more content – especially for behind the scenes content, company news and product launches.
- They can increase awareness of special events. This can be really important where brands are sponsoring major events such as the Olympics, for example, where the investment needs to be worth the exposure.
- They can be used to promote exciting new products that have a lot of hype. Having a specific hashtag for each and every new product isn’t ideal, but where there is an innovative new product that will have a major impact on people’s lives – definitely.
Talking of keeping content relevant – the problem with the more popular (and in some cases, risqué) hashtags – or the ones that get overused and abused for spam – is that Instagram sometimes bans their use. When Instagram bans a hashtag, the accounts that use them potentially receive a shadow ban – either temporarily, or permanently. Unfortunately, Instagram don’t really talk about shadow bans, so we can’t give you exact statistics, or any guidance on how to get your account unblocked from a shadow ban.
As we mentioned earlier, since 2019 Instagram have been hiding the number of likes on posts, with the intention of encouraging more meaningful content. But likes aren’t the only engagement that you might want from your followers! Especially for businesses, you’ll want to consider comments, the number of people that tap answers on Story post stickers, the number of DMs (direct messages) that you receive after posting, and even the number of people who swipe up (Story functionality that is enabled once you have more than 10,000 followers).
Stickers on Story posts are a great way to increase engagement – and it has been shown that using a location marker on your post will increase engagement by 79%, while you can get even more engagement by using quiz, question or poll stickers, adding music to your Story posts and so on. They’re free and easy to use, so why wouldn’t you use them to increase your engagement?
Random interesting Instagram statistics
Now that we’ve covered all the directly relevant facts and figures about Instagram, we’ll have a look at some of the more diverse statistics – from those that didn’t quite fit in our sections, to the random and weird ones!
- The Instagram Explore page is seen by more than 200 million accounts every day, with half of Instagram users checking the Explore page each month.
- Photos that feature faces get 38% more likes.
- Posts that have at least one hashtag get around 12.6% more engagement.
- During back to school time, Instagram users post twice as many red apples as they do green apples. No logical reason we can think of for this – people must just prefer eating red apples!
- 41% of Instagram users don’t watch television on any sort of regular basis.
- Over 50% of Instagram captions and comments have emojis. This means that businesses need to be fully aware of how emojis are used on Instagram, especially if there are suggestive connotations or regional meanings, especially if the comment only uses emojis!
- The first ever photo that was shared on Instagram was by co-founder @kevin on July 16th, 2010 and was a picture of a dog.
- The most Instagrammed location is Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
- Pizza is the most Instagrammed food globally, followed by sushi.
- A bug in the system led to details of more than 1000 high profile stars and celebrities being leaked on the dark web in August 2017.
- The creators of Instagram (Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger) met when they were both attending Stanford University. They both left Instagram in 2018.
Wow – that was a heck of a lot of facts and figures to trawl through! If you made it this far – well done for sticking with us! If you’re here, then it might be pretty safe to assume that you’re probably making decisions about where to invest your time and advertising budget for your business.
It is pretty clear that there is a huge amount of opportunity to reach new customers, and increase sales by having a brand presence on Instagram. We’re pretty certain that as both an advertising platform, and for personal use, that Instagram is here to stay, and will continue to provide businesses with incredible return on their investment well into the next decade, and probably beyond.
Instagram isn’t your only option for marketing your business – so if you’re right at the beginning of creating a marketing strategy, or you’re revamping an existing one, get in touch! We can talk you through your options, and make sure you’re investing in the right type of content to reach your customers and to get the best return on your investment.
Last Updated on January 14, 2021
Aires Loutsaris is a content marketing specialist working with some of the world’s biggest VC funded startups and eCommerce companies. He has 15 years of experience in organic search optimisation and content writing with over 2500 students enrolled in his Udemy SEO course. An ex-head of two award-winning agencies, he has lectured at the University of the Arts, London College of Fashion on content marketing and has consulted for all three of the Universities he studied at: The Open University, The University of Hull and Kings College University of London. Feel free to connect with Aires on LinkedIn or Facebook.