Instagram Now Has More Advertisers Than Twitter

More than 200,000 brands have bought ads from Instagram, and 75% of them are outside the US.

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2015 was a big year for Instagram’s advertising business. It rolled out new ad formats that could contain links, expanded the length of its video ads and, most importantly, made it easier for advertisers of any size — and increasingly anywhere — to buy its ads and target those ads.

Seemingly as a result of all those moves, Instagram now claims more than 200,000 active advertisers as of February 2016, the Facebook-owned photo-and-video-sharing service announced on Wednesday. That number may pale in comparison to Instagram’s parent company — Facebook claims more than 2.5 million advertisers — but it trumps Twitter, which had more than 130,000 active advertisers as of the fourth quarter of 2015.

The comparison between Instagram’s and Twitter’s advertiser numbers isn’t an entirely fair one. Twitter has built its advertising business on its own, while Instagram has been able to stand on Facebook’s shoulders. For example, advertisers can buy ads on Instagram using the same self-serve tools from Facebook that they use to buy ads on the larger social network and with the same level of targeting Facebook offers. But still, at the end of the day, more advertisers is more advertisers.

“We’ve gone from hundreds of advertisers last summer to now more than 200,000, which is exciting because the more diverse our advertiser base, the more relevant we can make the ads people see,” said James Quarles, global head of business and brand development at Instagram, in a statement.

The stat also shows the success Instagram has had in extending its ad business worldwide, another of its priorities in 2015. In September, it expanded the number of countries in which it sells ads from eight to 30. Since then, that number has grown to total more than 200 countries. And now, 75 percent of the 200,000 brands buying ads on Instagram are based outside of the US.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat's ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar's attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon's ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking's rise; and documented digital video's biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed's branded video production process and Snapchat Discover's ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands' early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo's and Google's search designs and examine the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.

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