More than half a billion people on the planet today are using Instagram. And it isn't simply a passing fancy: three out of five users visit the photo-sharing platform every day.
The app is soaring past competitors, Twitter and Snapchat, in terms of the size of their user base.
Instagram users are posting an average of 95 million images and clips daily. But it isn't simply a numbers game for the Facebook-owned social media site.
Instagram takes pride in itself as "a place where the everyday and the epic are always within reach," especially with a steady base of celebrities — from the world of Hollywood to the world of sports, from Capitol Hill to the Vatican — using the platform as an avenue for storytelling.
What appears to define the Instagramming community foremost is diversity: the platform is a canvas for the world's best photography, whether the user is a professional, a hobbyist or just social media savvy. .
"Our community also continues to become even more global," writes Instagram. More than 80 percent of its users are living outside the U.S. — and this has allowed people from every corner of the planet to showcase millions of the most vibrant, most intriguing, and most meaningful snapshots of events, places and people.
"Whether you're an illustrator, a sneakerhead or an astronaut on the International Space Station," adds the group, "every photo and video you share helps bring people closer to friends and interests, broadens perspectives and inspires a sense of wonder."
Was Instagram An Instant Success?
The first day Instagram was released to the public in 2010, the company saw instant success with 25,000 app downloads. Building up a 500 million-strong user base now is no ordinary feat.
Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 to the tune of $1 billion. But much of the success we see of the 5-year-old photo-sharing platform today is, of course, the result of "a lot of hard work," as Kevin Systrom, the site's cofounder, tells the BBC.
Many consider Snapchat to be Instagram's closest rival since both Snapchat and Instagram appeal to the millennial, social media-savvy crowd.
The ephemeral messaging app registered 110 million daily active users in December 2015, according to TechCrunch. But with an almost 50 percent growth rate of its user base year on year, Snapchat is in a tight race with Instagram in capturing the same target market for advertisers.
Making Money Out Of Instagram
Monetizing social media posts continues to be one of the most crucial issues that social networking sites face — that is, aside from privacy concerns.
In 2012, Instagram was met with uproar from users when the app updated its terms of service, suggesting how posts might be sold to advertisers.
Having just been snagged by Facebook, which has gained notoriety for its advertising and monetizing tactics, might have sent the message that Instagram would soon be selling its community simply as a commodity to advertisers.