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VidCon 2016: Instagram, 500 million users strong, takes on video

Instagram this week announced that it has 500 million monthly active users (MAUs), with 100 million joining in just the past nine months.

vidcon

That’s some pretty good news for the platform, which is heading into VidCon this year with the wind behind its back: Instagram’s user base has doubled in size in just the past two years.

Celebrities have made Instagram their go-to platform of choice, but the growth has mainly been driven by everyday users and creators who have since become influencers and celebrities in their own rights.

To interact with these super users, Instagram for the second straight year is hosting an official creators lounge, featuring a custom video activation.

Instagram took off because of photos, but like Facebook - its parent company - it understands that the future is in video and has invested heavily in products like Hyperlapse and Boomerang. So far, the investments have paid off: over the last six months, the aggregate time people spent watching video on Instagram has increased 150 per cent.

Along these lines, Instagram yesterday also announced that it will productize video discovery in the form of recommended video channels that will now appear in the explore section.

With Instagram video, creators see a happy medium between Snapchat’s and Vine’s short form videos and the longer videos of YouTube and Facebook.

Keruan Harris, for example, who has built a following on platforms like Vine and Snapchat too, rose to prominence on Instagram by using its video tools to post comedy sketches and collaborations with other up-and-coming creators. 2,300-plus posts later, Harris now has 1.5 million followers.

Women who understand are the best be that woman ladies w/ @simoneshepherd #kingkeraun

A video posted by Mo City King (@kingkeraun) on

Other creators like Summerella have become “Instafamous” via beauty and music videos, where YouTube normally excels. Summerella posts both types of content, along with comedy videos, and has gained over one million followers in just the past six months.

From Snapchat to YouNow, Instagram is competing for the attention of creators and users. The main challenge it faces is whether it can retain talent and keep pace with changing content consumption habits (edited videos? It’s now all about live streaming videos). Still, its recent investments have proven extremely successful, and maybe, just maybe, there’s still something compelling about great still photos.

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