Instagram reaches 500m users milestone

Instagram founder Kevin Systrom

Fashion’s social network of choice Instagram has today announced it has reached the 500m users milestone.

The Facebook-owned photo sharing app was first launched in October 2010 by two Stanford University alumni Kevin Systrom (pictured) and Mike Krieger and within two months had acquired 1m users; it was bought by Facebook about 18 months after it was launched in April 2012.

In an announcement on its blog, Instagram said that around 300m of the 500m users access the app daily. It also said its user community is now increasingly global with around 80% of users outside of the United States.

Instagram’s audience is primarily made up of “Millennials” (18-35 year olds) and it is believed the split between men and women is roughly half and half.

The ability to add images, moving images and video with unlimited text descriptions led to many fashion brands switching allegiance from Twitter as Instagram has more creative and visual scope. It has also introduced a number of new initiatives to make its content more actionable and shoppable since it joined the Facebook stable.

Last year it introduced the “shop now” button for sponsored posts which enables brands to link directly to product pages on e-commerce sites and recently it revealed that brands, who have a business page on Facebook, could set up a business profile on Instagram which would include features such as “contact us”, ad creation within the app (much like Facebook) and user analytics.

Instagram has recognised the fashion industry’s love affair with its app and has courted it; last year it appointed leading fashion influencer and former Lucky magazine editor Eva Chen as head of fashion partnerships.

Instagram’s 500m users compares to Facebook’s 1.65bn active monthly users, Twitter’s 310m active monthly users and Snapchat’s 150m daily active users (Snapchat official figures put its daily active users as 100m but analysts place it much higher).