The 27 Definitive Instagram Statistics for 2021 You Should Know - and Why

The 27 Definitive Instagram Statistics for 2021 You Should Know – and Why

There are tons of blog posts out there about Instagram statistics for 2021. I don’t intend to add to the noise, but I think that there is some data that is important for every marketer to understand so that they maximize their marketing. These are the statistics that I bring up in my speeches and classes, so I thought it worthy to create a blog post on the subject.

Instagram continues to boom among consumers and businesses alike right now. There’s no denying that this global platform allows companies and brands to collaborate with influencers, humanize their content and showcase their products and services in a unique and relatable way. Let me break down some important statistics for 2021 that every marketer needs to understand today and help you turn them into your advantage.

These statistics are conveniently divided into what I see are the 8 most important categories:

  • It’s popularity
  • Business-specific stats
  • Advertising
  • Influencer marketing
  • How frequently are users publishing
  • How customers use the visual platform for product insight
  • User purchasing trends
  • Demographics

I also take a look at the end as to how Instagram statistics compare with those of its closest competitors, Facebook (although owned by the same parent company) and YouTube.

Popularity Statistics

1. The Most Important of these Statistics: 1 Billion Users

There are 1 billion Instagram users Starting off this list is the fact that Instagram has announced that their active monthly user base had surpassed 1 billion. This places them well ahead of LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat. In fact if you add up the active monthly users for each of these four networks it might not equal 1 billion!

Let’s look at this in the context of the world’s population. Given that there are a little less than 8 Billion people worldwide, this is a very large segment of the planet who can be reached with Instagram marketing.

The below image, courtesy of Statista, shows how dramatic this growth has been. Note that while the image says 2018, that is because there have been no updated Instagram statistics released from them since then.

instagram statistics 1 billion users

Takeaway: If we take out YouTube, mobile messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat and Chinese social media, Instagram is the second most popular – and active – social media site in the world.

2. Stories are HUGE: 500 Million Active Users Daily

Instagram Stories Has 500 Million Daily Users If you thought Instagram was just about posting to your photo feed, think again. They have announced that about half of their active users are checking out Stories on a daily basis.

I like to think of Instagram as being two social networks in one: Static images and videos and Stories. You really can’t maximize your presence on the platform unless you are utilizing both platforms.

Check out the impressive growth of Stories users with this graph courtesy of Buffer.

Instagram Stories Growth

Takeaway: Consider Instagram Stories to be a separate social network and make sure you place equal importance on publishing content there.

How Businesses are Using Instagram Statistics

3. 7 out of 10 US Companies – if Not More – are Already Using Instagram

7 Out of 10 Companies Are Already Using Instagram An eMarketer study found that 71% of all companies in the United States are already using Instagram, surpassing Twitter at 67%. That number was only at 32.3% in 2015. The platform continues to expand its marketing options, which now include the Carousel ad platform, the native ad program and sponsored influencer collaborations.

Takeaway: Will your company be in the majority or minority? If you’re still trying to determine what to post on Instagram, you’re losing out on the potential.

4. In the US, 75.3% of businesses plan to use Instagram in 2020, and post an average of 2.5 Stories per week.

That’s a ton of commercial Stories. And, they are being put in a place where consumers can easily find them. One of the great things is that the content is being sent to people who want to see it. For example, followers are going to get your latest post in their feed, and this is wonderfully useful because they don’t feel like they’re being spammed. But unlike with email marketing, the content is there when they are in the mood to check their account. Email, by contrast, is always there regardless.

In the US, over 75% of businesses plan to use Instagram in 2020

Takeaway: Instagram is now a mainstream marketing channel for businesses, and that includes Stories. Stories should now be a fundamental part of your marketing strategy.

5. 80% of Instagrammers are Engaging with Businesses

Users are following their favorite brands, with 80 percent of users following at least one business account. According to the latest data, there are 200 million users who will visit a business profile on a daily basis. It’s no wonder that 25 million businesses are already present and 2 million advertisers are using ads, including Stories ads, to promote their products and services. Below is a great snapshot of these stats and more from Instagram:

instagram statistics for businesses

Takeaway: Instagram is a very different social network which requires you to create a new type of visual content, but more and more businesses are finding a way to do so, and, more importantly, Instagram users WILL follow and engage with content from businesses.

6. 70% of the most used Instagram hashtags are branded (source: Simply Measured).

Hashtags are used by every kind of user, from the brands themselves to teenagers bragging about how much fun they had playing their favorite video game or creating the latest makeup look. Even older people can add branded hashtags to their posts and help create buzz for the latest thing. Although the hashtag may have begun on Twitter, the way Instagram users use them brings them to a new level of popularity.

beach footprint hashtag

Takeaway: While hashtags can help your brand be found, don’t be afraid to use branded hashtags as a normal part of your Instagram marketing. Users on other platforms might not use them, but Instagram users will.

Instagram Advertising Statistics

Since Instagram users make up such a large percentage of the US market, it is no surprise that Instagram is a useful marketing tool. One of the great things about a creative platform is that it allows users to see the possibilities. Even in the early days, with the vacation photographs everywhere, seeing a magical beach could make another user want to go there as well. It’s the same thing with products and services. Visualizing possibilities sells.

Maybe that’s why:

7. It is estimated that Instagram will make over $9 Billion in 2019, and $12.3B in 2020.

That’s a lot of money, though it’s still a drop in the bucket when compared to total marketing budgets. If businesses couldn’t make this method of marketing pay, then they wouldn’t use it.

US Facebook and Instagram Net Ad Revenues, 2016-2021

After all:

8. Instagram has an estimated advertising reach of 928 million this year.

Instagram Has An Estimated Advertising Reach of 928 Million This Year In short, Instagram is a great place to find customers that are likely to spend money. And, unlike TV or radio advertisements, Instagram ads are cheap with a larger reach. These ads can be viewed at any time of the day or night, and from anywhere in the world-not just during the program in locations served by the station.

Instagram is a great place for influencer marketing

Since Instagram is so popular for consumers hoping to make a buying decision, it is worth talking about the third parties who try and assist in getting the content out there: influencers. In short, Instagram is one of the top destinations for influencers hoping to cash in on the latest marketing trend. Because there is so much potential in this method of marketing, let’s take a look at why:

9. Researchers estimate that in 2020 marketers will spend $5 to $10 Billion on Instagram influencers alone.

That’s a huge segment of the influencer market. And perhaps it’s no wonder that both customers and advertisers like the platform so much. Instagram dishes up content in small, bite-sized pieces that consumers can enjoy in just a minute or two. It doesn’t have to be flashy, just something worth looking at.

instagram influencer marketing spend predictions

We also know that:

10. Over 55% of influencers prefer to use Instagram for their campaigns.

One reason that influencers probably like Instagram is its ease of use. Just take a few great pictures, add some filters and tags, and you have a great little campaign. Or, they can shoot simple videos, no editing required, and post them. Other platforms, like YouTube, often require more effort. Another advantage, of course, is that the stories aren’t “out there” forever. You can say what you want to say, and it’ll disappear. Use YouTube, however, and you have a long-term archive of everything you’ve done and not deleted.

instagram influencer

Lastly, Instagram is popular with influencers and marketers alike because:

11. It has the best interaction rates among platforms.

In particular, Instagram profiles have engagement rates between 2% and 7%, depending on the size of its following. Smaller profiles have a higher engagement rate, while larger ones suffer. There are likely several reasons for this discrepancy. For one thing, small influencer profiles haven’t gotten rich yet, and so they have a more authentic flavor. Large brands, and popular influencers, have a lower engagement rate because there are more people following them who are just interested in seeing what they’re up to. In other words, they aren’t necessarily going to act on the recommendations, they just want to know what those recommendations are.

social media engagement

For that reason, if you are looking to drive immediate sales, using a series of smaller Instagram influencers might work well. Conversely, campaigns aimed mainly at increasing brand awareness can absorb that lower engagement rate, and using influencers with a larger following might be a better idea. Combined campaigns can obviously benefit from multiple types of influencer.

Posting Frequency Statistics

12. Only 5% of Accounts Post Once per Day or More

You would think that you would see more people posting frequently because of how attractive the platform is. The data shows that it is quite the contrary. Tailwind compiled their own data and found that only 5% of accounts post once per day per more. Clearly, companies are having a hard time finding their visual voice and posting regularly as they would do on other platforms.

Only 5% of Instagram Accounts Post Once per Day or More

Takeaway: With so few people posting, supply and demand in the newsfeed is more favorable to your posting on Instagram than on any other social network at the moment. If you’re still trying to figure out how to promote your Instagram presence, the answer might simply be to publish more frequently there.

13. Accounts That Posted 7+ Posts per Week Showed the Highest Follower Growth Rate

I hinted above about the concept of supply and demand in the newsfeed. When fewer people post, those that know how to post on Instagram everyday appear more often in the newsfeed and thus reap the benefits of getting more mindshare. Case in point: The same Tailwind study mentioned above also showed that the more frequently you posted, the faster you get more followers on Instagram. This hints that the Instagram algorithm might benefit those who publish more frequently.

the more you post to instagram the faster your followers grow instagram statistics for 2019

Takeaway: What are you waiting for? Create a solid Instagram marketing strategy, build up some content, and start posting more often!

How Customers use Instagram for Product Insight

Yes, you heard it right. Instagram is one of the places where customers go when they’re trying to decide what to purchase. In fact,

14. 70% of users were looking up brands on Instagram, way back in 2015.

I didn’t see a more recent figure, but it is safe to assume that amount is even higher in 2019. Remember what I said earlier: people like to visualize products and how they work before buying them. It’s kind of like those virtual try-on tools that many e-commerce sites in the beauty and fashion industries use.

70% of users were looking up brands on Instagram

On a related note:

15. 60% of Instagram users discover new products on the platform.

Sure, this isn’t exactly everyone, but you never know when something your business posts on its page will resonate with a potential customer.

60% of Instagram users discover new products on the platform.

At the same time, according to Instagram:

16. 90% of users follow one or more businesses.

90% of Instagrammers Are Engaging With Businesses This could be any type of business, from gaming companies or clothing retailers, all the way to housing developers and major artists. In short, your Instagram profile has the potential to be a major bragging board, and one that people want to see. Artist? You have an awesome place to put a portfolio. Landscaping firm? Get permission from homeowners to put their yard up on your page.

Also, consider that:

17. 80% use Instagram to help decide if they’re going to buy something.

Back to the whole visual thing. It’s easier to decide if a product is the right one to buy if you can see how it is used. Otherwise, you just have an item in a package. Pictures and reviews sell. So do Instagram videos.

80% use Instagram to help decide if they’re going to buy something

Takeaway: If your business isn’t on Instagram, you’re missing out!

18. 83% of Users Discover New Products on Instagram

Users not only follow friends and brands but they are also potentially introduced to new brands and products through following hashtags, discovering them through search, or seeing their Instagram ads. This stat hints at the potential to find new customers and generate brand awareness from a demographic that might not be exposed to your brand through other means. Related stats published by Facebook indicate the following purchasing trends:

83% of Users Discover New Products on Instagram statistics

Takeaway: Use Instagram as a place to showcase your products and services, but do so in a unique way that won’t be seen as an organic advertisement from the user eye. Smart businesses have already figured out how to make money on Instagram.

19. 54% of Millennials Bought Products after Seeing Them on Instagram

A study found that Millennials were the most responsive generation to posts, with a whopping 68% of 18-24 year-olds saying they were more likely to purchase an item if someone they followed shared it. 54% of respondents said they bought products after spotting them in their feed.

An interesting side note is that the same study found that Instagram had the most influence on consumer behavior than any other as follows when participants were asked who influenced them the most:

  1. Friends
  2. Family
  3. Partner
  4. Customer Reviews
  5. Television
  6. Instagram

Facebook came it at number 7 while YouTube was 11th, Twitter was 12th, and Blogs were 15th.

Takeaway: Millennials aren’t just active on Instagram; a majority of them are being influenced to purchase from the images they see there. Of all of these statistics, this one should provide you ammunition to accelerate your marketing efforts.

Instagram User Demographics Statistics

20. 71% of Instagram Users are Under 35 Years Old

This stat from Statista clearly shows that while Instagram is not limited to a younger demographic, it is definitely a young person’s social network. That being said, 16% of users being between 35 and 44 year olds being users also hints that older generations are using this social network more frequently than before. This is a natural progression: Just as Facebook began as a college student social network and has now evolved into an older persons’ one, Instagram is also moving from a millennial-only social network to one that is growing beyond its original demographic.

71% of Instagram Users are Under 35 Years Old

Takeaway: For many brands, Instagram is their chosen social network to reach out to millennials. However, as user demographics continue to expand to older generations, don’t limit your marketing efforts to a single generation.

21. 75% of US adults ages 18-24 use Instagram, and only 57% of the 25-29 age group.

Not only do under 35-year olds dominate the platform, but those that are aged 18 to 24 clearly use Instagram the same way that most other demographics use Facebook. In fact, the 75% of users aged 18 to 24 is even higher than the highest demographic using Facebook, which is 68% of those ages 50 to 64.

75% of US adults ages 18-24 use Instagram, and only 57% of the 25-29 age group.

Takeaway: If you want to reach 18 to 24 year olds, there is no better social network to do so than Instagram. While you might be able to reach other demographics, you will clearly be able to easily reach this young demographic.

22. 47% of Millennials Use Instagram as a Messaging App

I predicted back in the day that a movement by social media users to retake the “personal” from social media and move to social networks that are more communication-centric, as opposed to information-centric. The rise of mobile messaging apps in the likes of Facebook Messenger, What’s App, and WeChat are an example of how this prediction came true. But don’t stop there: This study indicated that Millennials actually use Instagram as a mobile messaging app 47% of the time, just behind the top Facebook Messenger at 50% and tied with Snapchat.

instagram messaging app

Takeaway: To truly humanize your brand on Instagram, consider building relationships with other users by communicating with them one-on-one through Sliding into the DM.

How do Instagram statistics compare to Facebook?

As we mentioned above, Instagram users tend towards the younger end of the population. However, within those age groups, the platform is very popular. Some other social networks have a broader appeal for older adults.

Compared to Facebook:

23. Instagram is the third-largest social media network, after Facebook and YouTube.

To be precise, Facebook has about 2.3 Billion monthly users, and Youtube just under 2 Billion. Instagram is about half that size. It will be interesting to see

Another difference between Facebook and Instagram is the conversion rate.

24. Instagram ads have a lower conversion rate than Facebook ads: 3.1% instead of 4.7%.

One kind of wonders why this might be, but let me make a suggestion: since Instagram has a younger user base, it also has a user base with less money. That is, within any given geographic location the younger adults tend to have a smaller amount of income that they can spend on products and services, than their older (but still working) counterparts. Even in professional circles, the younger managers usually make less than the ones who have had a number of raises over the years. In turn, they might be inclined to buy something, but not be able to afford it. Depending on the nature of what you’re selling, or the price point within a category, the income factor can have a varying degree of influence.

One more closing thought:

25. Facebook ads have a higher click through rate of 1.44%, vs. a 0.67% rate on Instagram.

Maybe people don’t click through in situations where they can’t afford to buy? It would be an interesting study to find out. Then again, with Instagram less “friend” based, there may be less of a peer pressure factor as well.

How do Instagram statistics compare to YouTube?

It is fair to say that these two platforms are significantly different. And yet, they have two things in common: visual content, and some use of video. You see, Instagram and YouTube are owned by different companies, so they are competing for advertising dollars and users.

With that said:

26. About 95% of Instagram users also watch YouTube.

This is to say that both platforms hold the interests of young consumers. And of course, it also means that you’ll want to craft your marketing campaigns in such a way that there isn’t too much overlap in content, and the campaigns don’t compete with each other. You’re reaching many of the same customers, but you may want to use a different approach on each platform.

27. 1.9 Billion YouTube users log in every month.

YouTube is quick to point out that this is around 1/3 of Internet connected people. And as I mentioned above, Instagram has around a billion users, roughly half as many as YouTube. To put this in perspective, if 95% of these users are also YouTube users, it stands to reason that around 35-40% of YouTube watchers also have an Instagram account. Therefore, there’s a lot of overlap but not so much that you should only be using one platform.

Which of the above statistics did you find especially compelling? Any other takeaways to add? Fire away!

Hero photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Understanding these definitive Instagram statistics in 2021 will help your business better understand the potential of Instagram marketing.
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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.
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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this insight on Instagram! Some other articles that I have read have said that although Instagram is popular, less people have been actively using it than a year ago. Do you think that the loss of engagement from its users is due to changing to the algorithm method?

    • I think it’s a case of having a lot more supply of images with demand not growing as fast, meaning, on average, less engagement for all. I don’t think that the algorithm has changed things much as I saw the less engagement before the announcement.

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