Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) made perhaps the best tech acquisition of the new millennium back in 2012 when it bought photo sharing app Instagram.
What was seen largely as a defensive move at the time has morphed into a massive money maker for the social behemoth. Instagram just keeps on growing, and as Yahoo! Finance points out, it will soon occupy nearly a third of the total global social networking market:
The digital marketing research firm eMarketer estimates that 30% of all social network users worldwide, or nearly 928 million users, will be Instagram users in four years — up from 24%, or 593.7 million users, worldwide this year.
eMarketer analyst Cindy Liu chalks up the photo-sharing app’s strong growth to a steady stream of new product updates and features rolled out over the last 24 months, including live video, and virtual stickers and masks that compete well with offerings from Snapchat and other Facebook-owned services like Messenger.
Instagram’s relentless copying of rival Snapchat’s features has been seen as a massive contributor to its growth. Instagram Stories — a near direct clone of Snapchat Stories — itself has eclipsed Snap in terms of monthly active users after just over a year in existence.
Interestingly, eMarketer found that Sweden, Norway, and Australia are the three markets where Instagram is the most pervasive app among social media users. The United States didn’t even make the top ten.
Facebook Inc shares closed at $180.18 on Friday, up $1.79 (+1.00%). Year-to-date, FB has gained 56.61%, versus a 20.93% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.