Instagram recently announced that it now has 150 million monthly active users (MAUs).
This is up from 130 million on June 20, the date of Instagram’s last update on MAUs. That means the app added nearly 250,000 active users daily, on average, in the 81-day interval between announcements. June 20 is also the day that Instagram gave users the ability to share videos, matching similar capabilities offered by Snapchat and Vine.
However, the addition of video hasn’t produced a noticeable increase in the rate at which Instagram is adding users. In fact, we estimate that in the 81-day period prior to releasing video, MAUs grew at a faster rate — nearly 280,000 a day average.
The slight deceleration is perhaps due to the popularity of other competitors in the increasingly crowded photo- and video-sharing space, including Vine, Tout, Snapchat, and messaging apps like WhatsApp that also allow photo-sharing. Snapchat photo uploads have soared over 400% in seven months. Also, it’s possible that Instagram may have simply reached a natural growth peak.
Of course, Instagram’s growth rate is still impressive, and adding video was likely more tied to increasing user engagement rather than audience size (not to mention, 15-second videos are a great ad format).
Facebook is currently working on a monetization strategy for Instagram, which will bring advertising to the service. Heading up that charge is Emily White, who told the Wall Street Journal that the service should be ready to begin selling ads within one year. It will be interesting to see what if any impact the advent of Instagram advertising has on user growth.