There are now over one BILLION users on Instagram.
And 50+ billion images shared, making it one of the most popular social media platforms for everyone — consumers, marketers, business, bloggers and influencers alike.
It has been estimated that more than 100 million images and videos are shared on a daily basis, accumulating over 4 billion ‘likes’.
Unfortunately, Instagram can also be the platform that people have the least success with. Getting likes and comments now seems to be more impossible than ever before, especially with seemingly constant algorithm changes.
Don’t get us started on just how difficult it can be to grow your Instagram following, even with all of the information and advice available online.
Let’s break down the facts and statistics to get the REAL truth about what your Instagram strategy should look like … and whether all of that other advice you read is really as useful as you think it is.
1 – 8.8% of Instagram users are on the platform more than 5 hours per day.
The Preview App’s study revealed some very surprising statistics about the way users are behaving on Instagram, particularly when it came to how long they were spending on the platform.
Most people are on the site, either browsing or posting, for at least an hour a day — 50.5% of users agreed that they spend between one and three hours on there.
This gives you some idea of just how much work Instagram is likely to be for you … and whether or not it will be worth it.
It is not the kind of platform on which you can just throw some content out into the world and wait for the likes, comments, and followers to flow right in. None of the social sites are like that, but with Instagram, that’s DEFINITELY not the case.
Instagram takes work. Hard work. In turn, this takes up a lot of time. Creating content takes up enough of your day, and that’s before you need to look at things like hashtag research, what times or days you should post, whether or not your filter is on-trend, understanding analytics, and a truckload of other factors.
Then, there’s liking and commenting on other people’s content, following new accounts, browsing hashtag list-follows, responding to those leaving comments on your content.
In short, a successful Instagram strategy takes a lot of figuring out, but once you get the right combination of “ingredients”, the perfect algorithm-busting recipe won’t be as hard to find.
2 – Only 8% of American adults aged 65 and over use Instagram.
Knowing the BEST social media platform for your target demographic is very important. It’s common for inexperienced businesses, brands or bloggers to try and target everyone on every social media platform at first, but that strategy will see burnout before it reaps results.
If your brand targets people in the range of 18 to 29 years old, Instagram is absolutely a great social platform to utilise — 67% of all US adults in that bracket use it, according to Pew Research Center.
You will also have fairly decent luck on the platform if you’re trying to hit the 30-49 years old grouping, with 47% of adults.
Hit 50 and over and you’ll start to see things decline fairly dramatically — 23% of adults aged 50-64 in the US are on Instagram, and only 8% of 65-and-overs.
As a side-note, Facebook seems to be the best platform to hit the age ranges that Instagram doesn’t. As you can see from the image, 46% of 65-and-overs are using Facebook, increasing to 68% of 50-64 year olds. And with 79% of ALL 18-29 and 30-49 year olds US adults using Facebook, it might just be the platform to focus on first.
3 – More 18-24 year olds in the UK use Instagram than any other age group.
In fact, over 81% of all 18-24 year olds in the UK, with internet access, are using the photo-sharing platform, according to We Are Flint.
If you jump to the other end of the scale, only 1% of 75+ year olds and 12% of 65-75 year olds in the UK are on Instagram.
If you are a brand or blogger specifically targeting browsers aged 65 and above, prioritising other social platforms over Instagram is a smart decision, such as Facebook.
There’s nothing to stop you from targeting younger family members of your target audience on Instagram, though. 38% of UK 45-54 year olds are doing it for the ‘Gram, and even more 35-44 year olds are – 53%.
These could be the daughters, sons, grandchildren, etc. of the demographic you ARE trying to hit. Make those your target audience in a “look at this for your grandparents” kind of way and your strategy is likely to be more successful.
4 – 52% of consumers in the UK want to see “real content”.
Instagram revealed this Instagram statistic after Facebook IQ and Canvas8 polled 1,666 UK consumers about their online food-related habits for the Connected Consumption study.
In case you weren’t aware, food-related content is the most popular niche of content on the image-based platform — the most popular interest among 39% of UK Insta-users.
People don’t just want to see the perfectly-curated stuff on Instagram anymore. They want REAL life, relatable content, content they can actually make use of. Yes, it’s great to look at beautiful images and videos, but just being beautiful isn’t enough to make your content great. It needs to have some worth.
Created a beautiful plate of food? How about a behind-the-scenes video or some shots of the mess you made as you put it together? Or how much it really cost you to make?
The “real” content is the mess you make in the process, as well as the things that go wrong, the ways the mistakes are fixed, and how many attempts it took you to get there.
THAT’S helpful content to a reader, and it doesn’t matter what niche you put your blog in. Makeup mistakes, fashion fails, tech catastrophes … It’s all real, relatable content that’ll make you seem more like a friendly, approachable blogger or brand.
It’ll also make you seem much more upfront and honest, especially on a platform filled with not-really-real picture-perfect visions.
For your information, the same study revealed that only 31% of food shoppers in the UK feel that they can relate to the food content that bloggers, influencers and celebrities show them.
5 – 81% of people use Instagram to decide whether or not they buy a product.
Not only that, 47% of people said that brand or business content on Instagram would compel them to research more about the products or services being promoted, according to Facebook Business.
This means searching on other social media channels, seeing what other people say in reviews, and also using the #linkinbio to check out the website and see what the fuss is all about.
Instagram can and will help a business to sell more products when used properly.
The fashion industry, for instance, virtually revolves around social media, with brands clambering over each other to share their latest celeb-inspired designs on the hottest and most popular Insta-influencers. Consumers then use those images and videos as outfit inspiration, which makes them add the promoted items to their basket.
You heard about THAT Zara dress, right?
If you haven’t, it’s a £39.99/$70 dress from clothes retailer, Zara, that went viral because of its popularity among influencers and “regular consumers” alike on Instagram. It even got its own Instagram account and was worn as a wedding dress!
6 – Instagram says your saves are important.
We revealed one of the surprising factors that Instagram’s algorithm uses to “rank” your content in our article on social media statistics, but here’s another one that you should definitely pay attention to …
Yes, that’s right, getting people to simply like and comment on your Insta-content is no longer enough to keep the platform happy. These days, you need to create content that is WORTH something to your audience; content that just looks good isn’t going to cut the mustard.
Ideally, you’re going to want to try and get a nice little combination of the two: Instagram posts that not only look great and catch the eye of passing browsers, but also gives them enough information to make them hit the save button from time to time.
Look into the idea of creating save-worthy content — the kind that your audience wants to keep for later reference. It could be a list of hashtags that you’ve been using a lot of lately, or a list of the recent purchases you’ve made and loved (or hated).
There are plenty of “saveable” content ideas you could come up with, but why not have a think about the kind of content YOU would save for later? What would make you hit the save button?
7 – Instagram is growing at a steady pace … unlike other platforms.
Instagram has seen a steady increase in the number of UK, but other social networks have either plateaued in their growth … or have even lost users.
From 2016 to 2017, the We Are Flint study showed that Instagram users in the UK, aged 18+, jumped up from just 29% to 35%.
2017 to 2018 saw that number hike up to 41%.
Compare the same time frames to the likes of YouTube and Facebook — their growth has stalled.
Out of all of the social platforms, Instagram is the one that has steadily grown. Not even Snapchat is gaining popularity among UK adults as fast as Instagram. (And Snapchat has the most beautifying filters!)
If you want to increase awareness of your blog or brand, using the fastest, most-relevant and steadiest-growing platform is a smart move. Just imagine how much bigger and better the platform will be by 2020, and even beyond that.
If things stay at just the pace they are now, we can expect the end-of 2019 figures to show that close to 50% of all UK adults are using Instagram.
8 – 84.4% of Instagram users prefer photos over video.
Okay, so, we’re about to get REALLY real about Instagram videos and Stories. (And you’re probably not going to like it much.)
If you’ve done some research into promoting your blog via Instagram, you’ll have probably read that you should use ALL of the features that the social platform has to offer: posting photos and videos to your feed, as well as using Instagram Stories and Instagram TV. And yes, it does make sense to use all of the features in order to get the best results.
… The Preview App did some studies into the kind of things people were actually looking at on Instagram and the results weren’t entirely in favour of videos, Stories, and Instagram TV.
A whopping 84.4% preferred to look at photos and NOT videos on their timeline. And that’s not the only surprising statistic the Preview study revealed …
9 – Only 36.6% of Instagram users are watching Instagram Stories.
These stats, although somewhat unexpected, can give you a better idea of how to better set out your Instagram marketing strategy — the areas you should spend your time and money.
If only 36.6% of people are watching your Instagram Stories, by focusing on those alone you’ll be missing the other 63.4% of folk that don’t watch them. A better plan might be that you spend 63.4% of your time working on post photos and videos, and the other 36.6% of your time working on Stories.
If one area isn’t working for you as well as you’d like, it might be time to reevaluate and refocus your attention elsewhere. Throwing lots of time and effort at something that isn’t working is going to make you miserable and want to quit.
10 – 33.3% of the most watched and popular Instagram Stories are from businesses.
… According to Instagram Business.
But how do you create a well-engaged Instagram Story?
You use all of the tools that are available to you.
Instagram Stories actually has a lot to offer, including polls, adding text to make the videos more accessible and inclusive, and geotags. These all come together to create a sort-of interactive interaction between you or the business/brand and the visitor.
Even adding something as simple as a poll to your Story adds a new, exciting way for people to engage with you — and it’s simpler, quicker, and requires less effort than leaving a comment. It’s just a simple left/right tap to put an opinion across.
People on the internet LOVE giving their opinions … A poll in your Instagram Stories helps you to utilise that in the best and most productive way. You might even learn a thing or two about the people that are actually following you, which will then allow you to give them what they want.
11 – In-feed videos get the most comments.
A study performed by Mention showed that videos actually received more engagement than other types of Instagram media. The average number of comments on an image post was 22, with carousel-style updates getting slightly more – 29.
Videos on the Insta-feed, on the other hand, had virtually double that – 46.
In-feed photos and images are great if you want to raise awareness of your brand, blog, or business on Instagram; but in-feed videos are where it’s at if you want to increase engagement.
Which one is it – engagement or awareness – that you want to do?
12 – 500 million+ accounts are active on Instagram daily.
That’s a lot of people!
Incidentally, Facebook Business for Instagram also revealed that the same number [500 million+ accounts] use Instagram Stories. This includes both watching Stories and uploading/sharing Stories.
There are truckloads of completely free resources out there for people looking to use Instagram for a blog or business, but one that is often overlooked is Facebook Blueprint – where these stats were found.
You might not have heard of it, but it’s estimated that more than a quarter of a million businesses or brands across the world will have signed up for the various courses and certifications by 2020.
Although the name makes it sound like a Facebook-only thing, there are many Instagram courses you can take (Facebook owns Instagram now) to not help you to get a better grasp of all Insta-features available.
Not only that, you can also boast about them. You’ll look much more suitable for a social media job or project (for example) if you have an actual Facebook or Instagram-based certification to show that you’ve properly learned your stuff.
13 – More hashtags won’t always mean increased engagement …
This actually contradicts pretty much EVERYTHING ELSE you’ve read on the internet about using Instagram for promotion or marketing, but the Mention study displayed some *very* surprising results.
The number of engagements received actually DECREASED when more hashtags were used in an Instagram post.
When fewer hashtags were used, or none at all, the number of engagements INCREASED.
*I was not prepared for this information.*
If you’ve found that your Instagram strategy has gone stale and your growth plateaued, it might be time to take a different, experimental approach. Cut your hashtags in half – from 30 to 15 – and then make a note of how your engagement pans out.
Just make sure you’re using the right hashtags — a mix of high and low competition hashtags — to ensure you’re not missed in a sea of well-used tags.
14 – The more you post, the more engagement you’ll get.
Whether you’re posting videos, images, Stories, or IGTV content, one thing is for sure: the more you post, the more likes and comments you’ll receive.
Tailwind, the social media scheduling tool, performed a study to investigate the variables of getting more ‘likes’ on Instagram, over the course of three months. When accounts posted the same as they always did, they experienced very low engagement rates – only around 3%.
When accounts posted more frequently — up to 100% more — the engagement rate hopped up to 9%, and if those accounts increased posting by more than 100%, the engagement rate hopped up once again to 19%.
Instagram is a very slow platform to work with if you can’t dedicate the right amount of time and work to it. This doesn’t mean you should give up on the platform entirely; it just means that you need to tweak your strategy to make it work better for you.
Just one way of doing that is to batch-create your content, in advance, and then schedule it for later publishing. You’ll find a guide to Instagram scheduling tools right here: 9 Powerful Instagram Tools To Boost Your Social Media Presence.
15 – The average Instagram engagement rate for businesses is 4.7%.
The Iconosquare blog released this figure after studying more than 30,000 business Instagram accounts.
As you can probably imagine, public figures — famous people, musicians, politicians, TV and movie celebrities, etc. — get the most engagement (and engagement on reach) with the fewest posts.
Media-style posts get the highest reach; however, media-based accounts also post more frequently.
There are many different variables to take into account when determining engagement rate, including whether or not there are fake/bot/paid-for followers, likes and comments; and there are also different kinds of engagement rate that companies look for, when looking for bloggers and influencers to work with.
The Hootsuite blog has a really detailed but easy-to-understand guide on engagement rates right here.
If your engagement rate is lower than you’d like, start focusing less on the percentages and more on the content you’re creating. If you’re not creating the kind of content your audience wants, it doesn’t matter how hard you work at trying to get them to interact with your account … it’ll always be an uphill battle.
16 – Being honest about your ads/sponsored posts actually works in your favour!
If you’re one of those people who chooses to casually ignore the rules for being an influencer on social media now, you’re probably going to kick yourself after reading these Mention study results.
The Instagram hashtag with the MOST engagement is … *drum roll, please* … #ad.
It could actually be the case that using the hashtag #ad and being honest with your followers actually encourages people to interact and engage with you.
Disclose your sponsored posts and ads, folks. Your followers love it. You can’t argue with the stats.
17 – Instagram has the second highest total advertising audience of all platforms.
With a grand total of 895 million monthly active users that advertisements could reach, Instagram sits at second place behind Facebook, with 2.1 million. The We Are Social and Hootsuite study also showed that Instagram was the most even platform for male/female split — 50% of each.
What this means for you, as a blogger, business or brand, is that your adverts [boosted posts/paid promotions/etc.] will reach more people on Instagram than on Twitter, Snapchat or Pinterest. You must take into consideration your target age range too, though.
If your products/services/posts are designed for older age groups, the percentage of Instagram users you’ll have the ability to reach decreases because there are fewer of them. In that case, Facebook would be the better advertising option — there are more users in that age range.
18 – Brand-sponsored Instagram posts are on the rise.
A recent Statista study showed just how fast the influencer marketing industry was growing: it had risen from 1.26 million sponsored posts in 2016, to 3.7 million sponsored posts in 2018. 2019 is projected to finish at 4.95 million.
By 2020, the number of sponsored posts is estimated to reach 6.12 million.
Influencer marketing isn’t going away. The benefits of online and digital marketing far outweighs what you can get from traditional styles of media advertising, especially in terms of money spent.
19 – Fake followers are costing US businesses $1.3 billion annually …
… according to a report published by Wired.
The business pays an influencer to promote a product, in the hope of increasing sales, to a certain amount of people. If you’re talking about the likes of Kim Kardashian or Kylie Jenner, millions and millions of people.
However, if some of those followers are fake, brands are essentially paying out money for nothing. Fake or bot followers aren’t going to buy products, nor will they sign up to services, read blog posts, or leave comments that are of any value.
Marketing teams and managers are now being trained in the art of spotting fake and bot followers, and will actively avoid working with influencers or bloggers with a suspicious-looking follower list.
A study performed by eMarketer in January 2019 showed over fifty percent of all US marketers agreed that “spotting fake followers and inauthentic engagement” was one of the biggest challenges they faced. It was even more so of a problem than trying to battle constant Instagram algorithm changes, which is saying something.
Instagram is also starting to crack down on the “vanity metrics” scene, even going as far as to hide likes on accounts in certain countries.
Focus more on genuine engagement rather than fake follower counts or paid-for engagement. Comment on and like content from other Instagrammers in the same niche as you and really immerse yourself in the community.
It’ll be a much more productive way to spend your time than spending a few quid on a couple of thousand followers.
20 – 940 Instagram photos are uploaded every second.
In the 13 seconds it took me to find the buttons and screenshot the Internet Live Stats page, 16,184 photos had been uploaded to Instagram.
That’s quite a lot — and that’s your competition.
In order for your account to stand out in the crowd, you’re going to need to make sure that your Instagram content stands out. It needs to be bright, eye-catching, and intriguing enough for a passer-by to want to stop and take a closer look.
At the exact same second that you upload your newest favourite image, 16,184 other accounts are doing exactly the same thing.
So, how do you make yours better than theirs?
Here are a few helpful tips:
- Use editing tools to get rid of clutter in the background, to brighten the image up or straighten it out, or to add a specific look or feel to it. Lightroom Presets are particularly good for this, and you can usually find [free] tutorials for blogger-favourited Presets online.
- Use line breaks to add white space to your Instagram captions, especially when they’re long, to make it easier for everyone to read. Lots and lots of text is intimidating and overwhelming in that small phone-sized box.
- Separate hashtags from the caption (because your audience doesn’t actually need to read the hashtags) by using dots + line breaks, or by adding them to comments instead of the caption. Hashtags make your caption look cluttered, fussy, and sometimes even difficult to read.
There are plenty of tips n’ tricks you can use to make your Instagram feed shine bright, but it makes sense to start with the basics and work your way up from there.
As a final note, in the 11 minutes and 32 seconds I left the Internet Live Stats page open, 886,021 new Insta-updates had been shared.
21 – Instagram users are spending more and more time on the app …
… and less time on other platforms, such as Facebook.
The eMarketer study showed that US adults aged 18+ spent, on average, 27 minutes per day on the image-based platform – an increase from just 22 minutes in 2016, 25 minutes in 2017, and 26 minutes in 2018.
It is predicted to grow at the same pace, the average Instagram time per day increasing by one minute each year.
Facebook, on the other hand, is showing a plateau of time-spent, after a period of decreasing average times. Back in 2016, users were spending 40 minutes on the platform each day, even going up to 41 minutes in 2017.
Things took a downward turn in 2018, with a 38-minute average, and by 2021 it’s predicted the average will go down again – to 37 minutes.
Infographic: 21 Instagram statistics & facts
We’ve wrapped all of these Instagram statistics up into an infographic that you can publish on your blog.
Note: If you’d like to republish this infographic, save the infographic to your computer, upload to your blog and include a credit link back to this post.
With it’s 1 billion+ active monthly users, Instagram is a social network that shouldn’t be ignored.
But you’re going to need a data-driven strategy to cut ahead of the competition. Use the data covered in this article to give your strategy a solid starting point.