Instagram Stories and IG Shopping Give It a Brand Advantage Over Facebook



While Facebook disappointed in its recent earnings report in terms of the growth in its monthly active user (MAU) base, prompting a dip in its stock price that removed $120 billion in value (and hit CEO Mark Zuckerberg particularly hard), its Instagram app has seen its MAU figures double over the last two years, to more than one billion.

With more than one billion actives, Instagram is one of the world’s largest mobile ads platforms. What’s more, users have quickly adopted Instagram Stories, which has attracted over 400 million daily active users (DAUs) since launching in August 2016, and its new IGTV platform, which offers longer videos, is also doing well.

“The success of Instagram Stories showed us that stories, and camera-based messaging, are experiences that people are craving,” Instagram’s blog post states—a success that has inspired its sibling platforms.

“This led us (i.e. Facebook) to roll out stories in Messenger in 2017, and on Facebook and WhatsApp soon after. Since then, we’ve seen people embrace stories across our platforms. There are now over 150 million people using Facebook Stories and 450 million people using WhatsApp Status every day.”

Instagram Stories

Zuckerberg was particularly bullish about the prospects for Instagram to keep growing, telling analysts on the company’s quarterly earnings call on July 25th (before the stock plunge hit):

“This is a moment to reflect on how this acquisition has been an amazing success. When Instagram joined us the team had only 16 people. And since then, Kevin and the team have built Stories, Direct, and now IGTV. This has been a story of great innovation and product execution. And it’s also a story of how effective the integration has been. We believe Instagram has been able to use Facebook’s infrastructure to grow more than twice as quickly as it would have on its own. So a big congratulations to the Instagram team and to all the teams across our company that have contributed to this success.”

“I’m really excited about video too,” Zuckerberg added. “And this quarter, we launched IGTV. People are watching less TV, but more video, but most video is not yet optimized for mobile. IGTV will help solve that problem. It’s designed specifically for mobile and makes watching long-form vertical video from creators easy. There’s a stand-alone IGTV app, but you can also watch within the Instagram app, so that means the entire Instagram community has been able to use it from the start.”

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, meanwhile, responded to an analyst’s question about Instagram’s revenue outlook with an anecdote:

“When we think about Instagram, we think we have a great opportunity: 25 million Instagram business profiles, 2 million advertisers. We’re growing quite nicely across brand and DR (direct response). And with 1 billion active people on the platform, I think Instagram is definitely both a direct response opportunity but an opportunity for discovery.”

“Part of it’s the format,” she continued. “The format is so visually appealing and people are telling stories with pictures, so we see both anecdotally and in the data that this is a great place for people to become aware of a product in the first place. And we see a lot of small businesses really able to do things on the platform.”

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Sandberg also shared how Instagram Shopping is taking off: “We just launched a shopping experience that was just expanded in Q2 to all consumers in an additional 45 countries. DefShop is an e-commerce fashion brand in Germany. They were an early tester for IG Shopping. And what they did in that test is tag each article of clothing. They had 56% more website visitors and a 64% increase in sales for tagged products. A lot of those were discovered and purchased right through that advertising funnel.”


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