Facebook is reaping the benefits of buying Instagram six years ago.
A recent report revealed that people are spending nearly as much time on Instagram as they are on Facebook—and the app is also attracting hard-to-court teenage social media users.
This month, Instagram users in the U.S. spent nearly as much time in the Android app as Facebook users spent on their app, according to new data from online measurement company SimilarWeb.
On average, Instagram users spent 53 minutes per day with the Android app in June — just five minutes less than Facebook users spent with their app. Snapchat users spent 49.5 minutes in the Snap app, on average.
In early June, Pew Research Center revealed that nearly half of teenagers in the United States are flocking to social media platforms other than Facebook, including Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.
This popularity has made Instagram both popular and lucrative—especially to Facebook.
If you consider Instagram apart from its parent company, Facebook, the app would be worth $100 billion—100 times Facebook’s return on investment—according to a recent Bloomberg report.
Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jitendra Waral wrote that the photo-sharing app will “likely help nudge Instagram revenue past $10 billion over the next 12 months,” and is continuing to attract the younger audiences that Facebook is losing. Waral also reported that in the next five years, Instagram will probably reach 2 billion users.
Instagram is also bringing in large amounts of advertising revenue.
Instagram could account for about 16 percent of Facebook’s revenue over the next year, up from 10.6 percent last year, according to eMarketer data cited by Bloomberg Intelligence. The unit announced the addition of Instagram television, or IGTV, last week as an attempt to catalyze future growth. Most of Instagram’s 2018 revenue growth will still likely come from its newsfeed ads, as the TV platform is still developing, Waral said.
… Instagram is predicted to generate $5.5 billion in US ad revenue this year. That’s a whopping 70% more than last year. The photo-sharing platform will also account for nearly 30% of Facebook-the-company’s net mobile ad revenue in 2018. By 2020, that number will be 40%.
Instagram features cater to video
As Instagram continues to grow, it also is adding features and tools to continue to entice current and potential users—many of them aimed at the popularity of video content.
On Tuesday, the platform rolled out its video chat and group video chat features along with its augmented reality stickers.
Video chatting can be initiated from the Instagram Direct tab with either one other person or in a group of up to four people total. It will only work with people you already have an active Direct thread with, which requires both parties to respond. Blocking or muting someone will also disable that person’s ability to video chat with you. The Explore redesign is also turning the search tab into a topic-focused area where you scroll through categories like “animals” or “architecture,” as well as trending hashtags.
First teased last month during Facebook’s F8 conference, video chat is part of Instagram Direct. You can launch video calls of up to four people from chats in your inbox. One of the nice features is that the app allows you to multitask while on a call, so you can keep browsing your feed, or post to your Story, while chatting.
Like so many other recent Instagram features, group video calling is something many of its competitors did first. Snapchat introduced the feature in April and Facebook Messenger has had the feature since 2016. There are also standalone apps, like Houseparty, which are entirely dedicated to group video. But, even though they’re late to the game, none of Instagram’s non-Facebook owned competitors come even close to its size (Instagram just passed 1 billion users).
The reason Instagram wants to be more like Google-owned YouTube boils down to this: one billion users is not enough. In order to spur future growth, and satisfy shareholders in its parent Facebook, it must do something new. The fact that it has chosen long-form video as its weapon of choice is not an accident, but a strategy born of real cultural shifts.
“People are watching less TV and more digital video,” Instagram said, citing eMarketer’s identification of a tipping point among US viewers. “By 2021, mobile video will account for 78 per cent of total mobile data traffic”…
Though both Instagram and Facebook want users to spend as much time as possible on the platforms, they’re also working on helping users set time periods and establish more meaningful experiences.
The Your Time on Facebook feature appears to show you how much time you’ve spent on the Facebook app over the last seven days. It also shows the average daily amount of time spent on the app.
This feature also has an ability to offer alerts. That means you can set a daily limit and if you reach that amount of time, the app will let you know via your phone’s notifications.
Confirming development of the feature to TechCrunch, a Facebook spokesperson explained that the team is “always working on new ways to help make sure people’s time on Facebook is well spent”.
It will also enable users to switch off their notifications for specific features, such as new posts and direct messages.
Similar tools are also allegedly being trialed for Instagram, with one Twitter user sharing screenshots of the photo-sharing platform’s “Manage your time” feature.
How does this news affect your marketing strategies involving Instagram, PR Daily readers?