According to the report, the global monthly active users of the US social photo-sharing site Instagram reached 2 billion, while the social networking site Facebook, which also belongs to Meta Platform, has 2.96 billion monthly active users. The shrinking user gap between the two underscores the transformation of the social networking giant.
Wednesday’s earnings report, which would have been overshadowed by pessimism, was a bright spot as the state of the advertising market dimmed the outlook for Meta’s expected numbers, sending the company’s shares tumbling. Meta also said that its messaging app WhatsApp also has more than 2 billion daily active users. The total global monthly active users of all Meta apps reached 3.71 billion.
In June 2018, the company said Instagram had over 1 billion monthly active users. Since then, the app has undergone its biggest transformation since it was acquired by Meta 10 years ago. Instagram, which used to only show content posted by people that users follow, is now algorithmically showing users more content that might be of interest to them. The service has also added TikTok-style short video Reels, which have been given priority over other video formats on the platform.
Meta made these adjustments in hopes of avoiding the marginalization of Instagram in an increasingly competitive social media industry. TikTok has risen to prominence over the past few years with trending themed videos. On TikTok, the system uses algorithms to recommend content to users who follow specific topics, rather than just showing content from creators that users follow.
Meta’s social media platform had to keep users sticky and make them spend more time on Facebook and Instagram. The vast majority of the company’s revenue comes from advertising on those platforms, but uncertainty about the economic outlook has led to a recent drop in marketers’ digital ad spending, forcing Meta and rivals to compete for smaller budgets.
Moreover, Instagram was acquired by Meta in 2012 and currently relies on advertising as its main source of revenue. WhatsApp, which was acquired by Meta in 2014, is still in the early stages of exploring its business model.