Since its launch in October 2010, Instagram has seen a meteoric rise to 1 billion active users, making it one of the top 4 social networks worldwide. How does that translate into terms of scale? Well, almost one-quarter of the world’s active internet users will access the app EACH month!
So how many people use Instagram right now in 2021?
In this data-driven roundup on the platform’s users and demographics, you’ll see exactly why Facebook paid $1 billion in cash and stock to buy the photo-sharing platform 24 months after launch.
- Instagram Statistics (Top Picks)
- How Many People Use Instagram? MAU vs. DAU
- Number of Instagram Monthly Active Users (MAU’s)
- Number of Instagram Daily Active Users (DAU’s)
- Instagram User Growth Rate History
- Number of Fake Instagram Bot Accounts
- Most Instagram Users By Country
- Ranked 4th: Most Used Social Media Platforms Worldwide
- Popular Instagram User Demographics
- Average number of Instagram Followers
- Average Time Spent On Instagram Per Day
- What’s The Best Time To Post On Instagram?
- How Many Employees Does Instagram Have?
People visit Instagram’s free app to connect, discover, and be inspired. These emotional ties make it the ultimate platform for brands to connect with their audience, as well as taking advantage of influencer marketing opportunities.
Let’s dive into the most jaw-dropping discoveries from one of the most popular Android and iOS apps to date:
Instagram Statistics (Top Picks)
- MAUs – Instagram monthly active users: 1 billion monthly active users access the Instagram app globally.
- DAUs – Instagram daily active users: 500 million daily active users access the Instagram app globally.
- Instagram Stories surpassed rival Snap Chat’s 150 million DAU’s in 8 months, now reaching 500 million people a day.
- At 1.386 billion (in terms of potential ad reach) Instagram is ranked as the 4th most popular social network by number of users. In front are Facebook 2.85b, YouTube 2.29b and WhatsApp 1.6b.
- 23.92% of the 4.18 billion active mobile internet users access Instagram monthly, the same amount of people that live in Europe and North America combined.
- 9.5% or 95 million Instagram users could be fake bots according to a Ghost Data report, costing brands $1.3 billion in 2019.
- Instagram is most popular in India, with 180 million users, followed by the United States (170 million), Brazil (110 million), Indonesia (93 million), and Russia (61 million).
- People spend an average of 29 minutes a day on Instagram – Users under the age of 25 spent 32 minutes and 24 minutes for those over 25.
- Instagram now has just 450 employees servicing over 1 billion users, compared to its parent company, Facebook, which has 58,000 employees for its 2.9 billion user base.
- Cristiano Ronaldo owns the influencer account with the most followers, equaling 33.9% of all monthly active Instagram users.
How Many People Use Instagram? MAU vs. DAU
Social networks are typically ranked and measured by the size of their active user base on a monthly and daily basis.
Monthly Active Users Definition (MAU’s): These are registered and logged-in users who visit Instagram’s App or web application within 30 days from the date of measurement.
Daily Active Users Definition (DAU’s): These are registered and logged-in users who visit Instagram’s App or web application every day.
According to Instagram’s parent company Facebook’s latest announcements, the current known number of Instagram users is 1 billion monthly active users (MAU’s) and 500 million daily (DAU’s).
In recent years, Instagram’s MAU’s growth rate has decelerated where some territories like the United States are full of users. However, they’ve still added over 100 million new user accounts year-over-year as they expand globally.
Number of Instagram Monthly Active Users (MAU’s)
The last official release confirmed the number of people on Instagram is currently over 1 billion monthly active user accounts (200 million increase in 9 months). The 1 billion MAUs made Instagram the 6th largest social network worldwide, with 23.92% of the world’s 4.18 billion mobile internet users access the app monthly.
- According to the latest official data, Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users (MAU’s) globally.
- Right now, the country with the largest addressable Instagram ad audience size is in India 180 million, followed by the United States (170 million) and Brazil (110 million).
- 28.88% of the world’s 4.8 billion active internet users regularly access Instagram.
- 26.3% of the world’s 5.27 billion active mobile phone users access Instagram.
- 30.94% of the world’s 4.48 billion active social media users access Instagram regularly.
- 17.54% of the world’s 7.9 billion population uses Instagram monthly.
- Instagram’s monthly user base is the same as the total population of Europe and North America combined.
Instagram’s MAU timeline:
After the owners Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger changed its name from Burbn, Instagram launched a year later on October 6th, 2010, and snatched up 100,000 users in a week!
In 67 days, Instagram hit 1 million monthly users, and by February 2011, funding from investors resulted in the app getting valued at $25 million.
It took Instagram a year to hit 10 million MAU’s. Then with the launch of an iPhone app, Facebook acquired the social network after 24 months of the original release date with 30 million monthly active users.
Notable Instagram MAU milestones:
- February 2013: Instagram hit 100 million users (MAU)
- June 2016: Instagram hit 500 million users (MAU)
- June 2018: Instagram hit 1 billion users (MAU)
Next up, let’s see how many of those monthly users access the photo-sharing app daily.
Number of Instagram Daily Active Users (DAU’s)
According to the latest DAU data, 500 million people around the world are actively using Instagram daily. Meaning, globally 1 in 8 people with mobile internet access it at least once every 24 hours, and Instagram’s daily users are higher than the population of South America.
- Instagram has 500+ million daily active users (DAUs) globally, ranking it second behind Facebook for the social network with the highest daily logins.
- The company reports that 500+ million daily users interact with Instagram Stories, up from June 2018’s 400 million.
- It took Snapchat 6 years to hit 150 million daily active users, Instagram’s story usage surpassed that milestone in 8 months from launch.
- 11.01% of the world’s 4.54 billion active internet users access Instagram daily.
- 11.96% of the world’s 4.18 billion active mobile internet users access Instagram daily.
- 13.15% of the world’s 3.8 billion active social media users access Instagram daily.
- 6.43% of the world’s 7.77 billion population uses Instagram daily.
- Instagram’s daily user base is 70 million more than the total population of South America.
Instagram’s Daily Users Exploded:
When looking at how many people use Instagram daily since launch, it’s clear to see that the abundance of new features they’ve added has made a big impact on the stickiness of the app.
If we looked back in October 2016, Instagram had 550 million monthly users with only 100 million daily users, meaning only about 18% of their user base would visit the app each day.
Fast forward to now, and over 50% of the monthly users interact with the app daily due to some impressive user-centric feature releases:
- Instagram Stories: 24-hour photo and video montages.
- Ephemeral messages: Private messaging media that deletes after viewing.
- Feed algorithm: Orders your feed by posts their computer modelling thinks you’ll like.
- IGTV: Post longer videos, removing the previous limits.
- Live video: Broadcast videos to your followers, who can comment.
- Instant translation: The ability to translate comments, captions, and profiles helped their expansion outside non-English speaking territories.
- Reels: Create fun 15-second videos. Instagram’s answer to TikTok.
Instagram’s Stories DAU timeline:
On August 2nd, 2016, Instagram released a ‘stories’ feature to give its users 24-hour video and photo sequences that disappear like Snapchat. In October 2016 (within two months), they had 100 million users interacting with their new stories function daily.
Parent company Facebook loves to flex on significant growth milestones publically. Eight months after launch, it was made public that Instagram stories overtook the 150 million daily active users of rival Snapchat.
Notable Instagram story DAU milestones:
- October 2016: Instagram stories hit 100 million users (DAU)
- June 2017: Instagram stories hit 250 million users (DAU)
- January 2019: Instagram stories hit 500 million users (DAU)
In January 2019, the media sharing platform also reported 500+ million daily active users interacting with their stories feature. It took four years for nearly all of Instagram’s daily active users to also interact with stories daily.
Instagram User Growth Rate History
According to Instagram’s growth rate data, the company has been adding over 100 million new users every 4 to 9 months – This user growth rate has been consistent since 2014. However, between September 2017 and June 2018, the company had a massive 200 million increase in new user growth. From 2018 to 2019, the user growth rate reverted to a steadier 6.7%.
Global Instagram Monthly Active User Growth Rate
Below is the latest data made available in 2020 via Instagram (Facebook).
- Sep-14 to Jun-18 – 200 Million user growth in 9 months
- Apr-17 to Sep-17 – 100 Million user growth in 6 months
- Dec-16 to Apr-17 – 100 Million user growth in 4 months
- Jun-16 to Dec-16 – 100 Million user growth in 6 months
- Sep-15 to Jun-16 – 100 Million user growth in 9 months
- Dec-14 to Sep-15 – 100 Million user growth in 9 months
- Mar-14 to Dec-14 – 100 Million user growth in 9 months
An eMarketer study estimated that Instagram’s growth in the US is slower in older age groups, while users aged 25 to 34 are joining the platform like wildfire.
Another interesting estimate they’ve made is about the US growth of the platform:
US Instagram Monthly Active User Growth Rate
- 2023’s estimated growth is +1.8% in US Instagram users
- 2022’s estimated growth is +2.2% in US Instagram users
- 2021’s growth is +3.7% in US Instagram users
- 2020’s growth is +6.2% in US Instagram users
*Estimated growth data from eMarketer
As the platform has become more accessible to the world with new features like instant translation, Instagram has seen some impressive growth outside of the US.
What you have to consider with Instagram’s growth is that there are only 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide, and so far, a whopping 28.57% of them have the app.
Instagram App Penetration Rates vs. Smartphone Users
Below, we see Instagram’s estimated penetration rates in the top countries by the number of Instagram users.
Some developing countries have HUGE populations but low smartphone adoption rates. Like parent company Facebook, these territories are where Instagram will see the most growth in years to come:
|Country||Total population (MM)||Smartphone owners (MM)||Smartphone penetration (%)||Instagram users (MM)||Instagram penetration (%)|
As you can see below, an estimated 46.2% of all smartphone owners in the US, regardless of age, have Instagram installed on their phones. Brazil, Indonesia, and Turkey are the countries that have the highest app adoption, leaving little room for market growth.
Number of Fake Instagram Bot Accounts
In 2020, the current number of fake bot accounts on Instagram was 95 million, which means 9.5% of their 1 billion monthly users are fake profiles. Instagram’s fake bot accounts cost brands an estimated $1.3 billion in a year in the influencer advertising economy, according to cybersecurity firm Cheq projects.
- Instagram bot accounts could be as much as 95 million of the 1 billion monthly active users, according to a Ghost Data Report.
- The number of Instagram bot accounts in 2015 was 7.9% and has risen to 9.5% in 2019.
- Influencers get paid in part for the audience size, and, if they’re full of bots, brands are the ones losing money in the influencer economy.
- An influencer with 42,575 followers can expect to earn $37,442 annually if they post a steady 8 posts and 8 stories a month. That’s an amount equivalent to the average UK salary.
- Fake bot fans cost brands $1.3 billion in 2019, according to Cheq projects, a cybersecurity firm for digital media.
- Influencers with under 10,000 followers get paid around $88 to post.
- Influencers with under 100,000 followers get paid around $200 to post.
- Influencers with 250,000 to 500,000 followers will get paid around $670 per post.
- Influencers with over 1 million followers will get paid around $1,870 per post
Due to its media sharing nature, Instagram is a key player in the influencer economy, where people earn money, in part, for the size of your account in terms of followers.
If you’re a brand, it’s not very reassuring to know that 9.5% of your campaign spend is going on fake bot accounts on Instagram.
Parent company Facebook is excellent at taking down fake accounts on its own platform. However, Instagram is much more vulnerable to fake bot users as videos and photos go viral a lot quicker, making it difficult to crawl the platform and flag keywords or patterns of abuse.
This doesn’t mean Instagram hasn’t been fighting back, and Facebook has over 20,000 security staff that work towards identifying fake users and harmful activity on their family of products.
Instagram’s crackdown on fake bot users has even resulted in the closure of third-party fake follower services, but the war is far from over!
Most Instagram Users By Country
Next up, we look at which country has the most Instagram users.
In 2021, 87.77% of Instagram’s 1.39 billion users that can be potentially reached with adverts on the platform are outside the US. The countries with the most active accounts accessing the photo-sharing app are India with 180 million users, followed by the United States with 170 million, Brazil (110 million), Indonesia (93 million), and Russia (61 million).
This international presence, you see below, makes Instagram especially appealing to both influencers and brands for advertising:
|Country||Instagram users (MM)|
How Many Americans Use Instagram?
According to the latest data, America is the country with 170 million users accessing the photo-sharing app monthly. Market share wise, 17% of the 1 billion monthly active Instagram accounts are in the US, making up 46.2% of all US smartphone users.
Ranked 4th: Most Used Social Media Platforms Worldwide
In 2021, Instagram is currently ranked 4th out of all social media networks worldwide, with over 1 billion people using the app each month. Parent company Facebook owns four of the six top-ranked social networks (Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram).
Right now, there are over 4.48 billion social media users globally. Hopefully, that will put some perspective on how dominant some of the players in the table below genuinely are!
|FB Messenger||1.3 billion|
|Sina Weibo||530 million|
Popular Instagram User Demographics
The United States has 120 million users, making it the most popular country for the number of active accounts on the app. In the US, 75% of people aged 18-24 use Instagram making up the largest group by age, followed by 57% of 25-30 year-olds.
Launching in 2010, Instagram has had plenty of time to become part of the younger generation’s lives. So much so, over half of millennial’s use Instagram, and two-thirds of generation Z, with 35% stating it’s their favorite social network.
Next up, we take a look at the current demographics of the world’s biggest social media platform.
Instagram user demographics by gender
More females than males are using Instagram. However, the users by gender are evenly split.
- Globally: 51.4% of females and 48.6% of males use the app.
- United States: According to a study of US adults, 36% of men and 44% of women use the app.
Average age of an Instagram user
According to a Pew Research study of Americans, Instagram is the most popular app among 18 to 24-year-olds, with rival Snapchat coming in a close second. Though the study did not include newcomer TikTok.
To get an idea of who uses Instagram the most, here’s a breakdown of the platforms age-related demographics among US adults:
- 71% of people aged 18-29 have active Instagram accounts
- 48% of people aged 30-49 have active Instagram accounts
- 29% of people aged 50-64 have active Instagram accounts
- 13% of people aged 65+ have active Instagram accounts
US Regional demographics of Instagram users
- 45% of people living in an urban area use the app
- 41% of people living in a suburban area use the app
- 25% of people living in a rural area use the app
Instagram user education demographics
- 33% of people educated at high school or less use the app
- 37% of people educated at the college level use the app
- 43% of people educated at more than college-level use the app
Instagram user income demographics
- 35% of people earning less than $29,999 use the app
- 39% of people earning between $30,000 to $74,999 use the app
- 42% of people earning more than $75,000 use the app
Average number of Instagram Followers
According to a study by Mention, the majority of Instagram users have less than 1,000 followers. Brands turn to micro-influencers to promote their products, typically with 50,000 to 100,000 followers.
As you’ll see below from the breakdown of users and followers, this is only 0.94% of the platform’s total population.
Average number of Instagram followers
- 53.62% of users have less than 1,000 followers
- 38.03% of users have 1,001 to 10,000 followers
- 6.2% of users have 10,001 to 50,000 followers
- 0.94% of users have 50,001 to 100,000 followers
- 0.94% of users have 100,001 to 500,000 followers
- 0.27% of users have 500,001 to 10+ million followers
Top 10 most-followed Instagram accounts
Ignoring Instagram’s profile as the number one followed account on its platform, the top-ranked list is like a who’s who from music, sports, and entertainment. Some celebs on the list like Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian enhanced their fame and income through social media platforms like this.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the most followed profile on Instagram, so much so, every 1 in 5 people that have Instagram follow him – 209 million followers at 20.9% of the platform’s total user base.
- Instagram – 421 million followers
- Cristiano Ronaldo – 339 million followers
- The Rock – 268 million followers
- Ariana Grande – 265 million followers
- Kylie Jenner – 265 million followers
- Lionel Messi – 262 million followers
- Selena Gomez – 260 million followers
- Kim Kardashian – 251 million followers
- Beyoncé – 206 million followers
- Justin Bieber – 194 million followers
Average Time Spent On Instagram Per Day
According to their press release, globally, people spend an average of 28 minutes a day on Instagram. That number can get split down into users aged under 25 years old, spending 32 minutes a day, and users aged 25 and over, spending 24 minutes a day on the app (on average).
The release of Instagram Stories in 2016, with features like Boomerang, and stickers have also contributed to increasing the amount of time people spend on Instagram.
- The average time spent on Instagram a day is 29 minutes
- Users aged below 25 years old spend 32 minutes a day, on average
- According to this data, the average Instagram user under the age of 25 will spend over eight days a year on the platform
- Users aged 25 or over will spend 24 minutes a day, on average
- According to this data, the average Instagram user over the age of 25 will spend over six days a year on the platform
- In comparison, the average user spends 1 hour and 15 minutes per day on social media
- According to this data on all platforms, the average person over the age of 18 will spend over 19 days a year on social media
What’s The Best Time To Post On Instagram?
On average, the best time to post on Instagram is between 10:00 pm and 2:00 pm CDT (Central Daylight Time). However, posting on different days of the week can considerably alter your follower’s engagement levels.
What are the best days to post on Instagram? Wednesday at 11:00 am, and Friday between 10:00 am to 11:00 am.
Best Times to Post on Instagram Daily
Here we have the most popular traffic and engagement times on Instagram, and overall you want to avoid posting on Sunday as it has the lowest user interaction out of the seven days.
- Monday: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm (Best engagement time: 12:00 noon)
- Tuesday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (Best engagement time: 1:00 pm*)
- Wednesday: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm (Best engagement time: 11:00 am)
- Thursday: 10:00 – 3:00 pm (Best engagement time: 11:00 am)
- Friday: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (Best engagement time: 11 am)
- Saturday: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm (Best engagement time: 10:00 am)
- Sunday: 9 am – 3:00 pm (Best engagement time: 10:00 am)
*One off engagement spike outside of the standard peak times.
What About Time Zones?
If you have followers split across different countries or even east/west coast of America, this can make a difference to your engagement.
The simplest way of tackling this is to use Instagram’s insights tool, the free analytics available in the app to all professional account users.
- Go to your profile page, and click the menu icon in the top right
- Click on insights from the list
- Click on the audience tab
- Then, scroll down to the Cities and location section
By checking this data out, you can work out what time zones the majority of your users are in, then plan your posts around that with the top engagement times I’ve added above!
How Many Employees Does Instagram Have?
The current number of people that work at Instagram is 450 employees, servicing 1 billion monthly users. This is a small number compared to the parent company Facebook, which has over 58,600 dealing with 2.9 billion users.
By comparison, Instagram has always managed to run on a small team when compared to other popular social media players. Twitter, for example, has 6,600 employees servicing almost one-third of the monthly active users Instagram has.
Before selling for half a billion, Instagram only had 13 employees
- 2009 Kevin Systrom starts working on Burbn (Instagram)
- 2010 Mike Krieger joined the project, totaling two employees
- 2012 grows to 13 employees and 30 million users, and Facebook acquires them for $500 million
There you have it, that’s it for my Instagram user base statistics.
This roundup was a tough one to put together as Facebook doesn’t regularly publish as much data about the other platforms they own, even the second most logged-in social network Instagram.
Now I’d like to hear from you:
What else would you like to see added to this roundup? Or have a question?
Either way, please jump in and leave a comment below.