More users, more ads: Instagram hits 400 million milestone

Instagram isn't slowing down—in fact, it's more popular than ever.

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In just nine months, Instagram wooed 100 million new amateur photographers, bringing its total user base to 400 million. Sure, parent company Facebook still slays with almost 1.5 billion monthly active users, but for a social network, Instagram’s announcement is nothing to sneeze at.

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Even more impressive than its swift growth is how international Instagram’s reach is. The network said that 75 percent of its community lives outside the U.S., with more than 50 percent of the newest 100 million users residing in Europe and Asia. This makes Instagram’s places search filter more useful if you’re looking for somewhere specific, or if you’re in the mood to explore, the Trending Places section is full of stunning images from exotic locales.

Instagrammers now share more than 80 million photos per day. With that growth has come advertising, which is to be expected for a free social platform. Instagram has been slowly expanding its advertising business, keeping a close eye on the quality of ads that appear in your feed so they don’t look jarringly out of place. But the network just opened the floodgates to any company who wants in, which means quality control could suffer—and in the process, outrage the now 400 million people who love Instagram.

Why this matters: All of this growth is despite the great scammer purge of 2014, where Instagram culled milions of fake accounts. While other networks like Twitter struggle to attract new users, Facebook’s photo-sharing network clearly stands on its own, both as a platform and as a moneymaker.

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