UPDATE October 19, 2018 — With the launch of several new features (like IGTV, Stories, Live, and Galleries) and impressive user growth, Instagram marketing has popularized and Instagram itself has managed to prove why it’s one of the most powerful social networks, threatening Snapchat’s dominance in ephemeral messaging and expanding its feature set to elevate it beyond photo sharing. In the interest of keeping this post accurate and current, we’ve updated it to reflect the newest information.
Instagram’s user base and the way people interact with Instagram content has been gradually shifting; for marketers, staying current on the latest Instagram demographics, statistics, and usage trends can help brands make smart decisions regarding future social media marketing campaigns.
Below are the top Instagram demographics stats that marketers need to know:
Since launching eight years ago in October 2010, the photo- and video-sharing app shows no sign of slowing down. Instagram recently attained the 1B user mark (500M of whom use the platform daily). Instagram’s Stories feature alone draws over 400 million daily active users.
TechCrunch noted back in 2016 that the platform’s growth was actually accelerating—it took nine months for Instagram to grow from 300M to 400M users, and only eight months to grow from 400M to 500M users. Then in 2017, Instagram announced that it had over 700 million total users, and an earnings call from parent company Facebook revealed that Instagram had over 400 million daily active users.
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Though older generations are embracing and using Instagram, the platform is still largely favored by younger demographics. This 2018 data shows an adoption increase from 55% last year to now 64% of all Instagram users that fall within the 18- to 29-year-old range. 30- to 49-year olds make up roughly 28% of platform’s total users. A separate April 2016 study by eMarketer discovered that 59% of U.S. 18- to 24-year-olds use Instagram compared to 62% of the same demographic who use Snapchat and 89% who use Facebook.
eMarketer reported back in 2016 that 50% of all social media users would be on Instagram by the year 2020. Now only in 2018, more than half of U.S. social media users are on the platform, 61% of whom say they are using Instagram more in 2018 than they did in 2017.
For marketers looking to reach international audiences, Instagram is popular outside the United States as well. The 26% global user rate has decreased from the 2015 Global Web Index that found 30% of all worldwide internet users aged 16-64 (excluding China) had created an Instagram account, 15% of which were considered “active” users (they signed in to Instagram at least once per month).
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With over 88% of users hailing from outside the United States, Instagram is truly an international platform. Just last year, Instagram released that 80% of its users resided outside the United States. Marketers should look to Instagram when developing international social media campaigns, especially those that focus on burgeoning Spanish-speaking and Asian markets.
Though the relationship between people who use Instagram and level of education is not a profound one, it’s worth noting that Instagram is most favored by those who have college degrees or higher (42% of all U.S. internet users), followed by those who have some college (36% of all internet users), and those with high school diploma or less (29% of total U.S. users). U.S. Instagram users with college degrees or higher increased substantially from the 2015 reported percentage of 26% from Pew Research, followed by some college (32% of all internet users) and high school diploma or less (25% of total U.S. internet users).
A demographic statistic that may come as a surprise to many marketers, Instagram is most popular with non-white internet users. Among U.S. internet users, 43% of Instagram users are Black, Non-Hispanic, 38% are Hispanic, and 32% are White, Non-Hispanic.
Unlike income levels, where an internet user lives plays a larger role in whether or not they are Instagram users. The most recent numbers from Pew Research show that rural users are catching up. Back in 2015, Pew Research reported that only 18% of those living in rural areas claimed to be Instagram users. The 2018 numbers show that of those living in rural areas, 25% are now Instagram users. The current report found that Instagram is still favored by city residents, with 42% of urban respondents using Instagram, followed by 34% of suburban respondents using the app.
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Pew’s recent research shows this still holds true. 29% of adults on social media making less than $30,000 annually are on Instagram, 27% of adults making $30,000-$49,999, and 30% of adults making more than $50,000. The amount of money United States internet users earn in one year has little impact on Instagram usage. A 2015 study found that 26% of internet users who make less than $30K a year used Instagram, though that percentage only rose marginally (to 30%) for U.S. internet users making $75K a year or more. Based on these findings, it seems the desire to look at engaging Instagram photos and videos (and the advertisement therein) transcends income levels.
Pew’s research shows that gap widening. As of January 2017, Pew found that 32% of women using the internet are on Instagram as opposed to 23% of men. When segmented to U.S. Instagram users who visit the platform on a daily basis, the difference between genders is even more distinct—among daily active Instagram users (DAUs), 65% are women compared to only 35% male.
A further illustration of Instagram’s growth, Pew Research found that the proportion of U.S. adults (those aged 18 years and older) on Instagram more than doubled in only three years, growing from 13% of the total U.S. population in 2012 to 28% of the population by 2015. Coupled with Instagram’s large number of active users, this growth and penetration represent a valuable opportunity for marketers.
In Piper Jaffray’s bi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” survey, 27% of teenage respondents claimed that Instagram was the most important social media network, down from 33% in Fall 2015. In comparison, 28% said that Snapchat was the most important social network, 18% said Twitter was most important, and 17% said Facebook was the most important social media network/platform.
Instagram users spend 53 minutes on the app each day according to a recent study conducted by Similar Web. Back in 2016, that number was only 20 minutes. In August 2018, Facebook and Instagram rolled out features that let users see how much time they are spending on the apps. The features include daily and weekly reporting on time usage within each app, a feature for temporarily disabling push notifications, and a self-designated cut-off time for the day.
Our previous research on the amount of time users spend on social media over a lifetime showed that users were actually spending about 15 minutes per day on Instagram. For more information, context, and figures on time spent on Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter, see our infographic.