Looking for Instagram statistics to guide your strategy in 2021?


Because the platform is perhaps the most rapidly-evolving across all of social media. And trust us: plenty changed in 2020 that’ll ultimately influence how you approach the ‘gram moving forward.

Below we’ve broken down an up-to-date list of Instagram stats to help you make the most of the network in 2021.

  • Instagram user and usage statistics
  • Instagram content statistics
  • Instagram advertising statistics
  • Instagram statistics for brands

Instagram user and usage statistics

Let’s start with a basic question: how many people use Instagram?

Fun fact: Instagram surpassed the 1 billion global user mark as 2020 came to a close. A massive milestone that was seemingly only reserved for the likes of Facebook, this stat is a testament to Instagram’s staying power. In fact, Instagram’s user growth has been consistent and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

Graph from Emarketer forecasting worldwide Instagram usage statistics from 2019-2023

So, how many downloads does Instagram have versus other social apps? According to data from Sensor Tower, Instagram was among the top five most-downloaded apps in both the App Store and via Google Play last year. The app scored ~13 million downloads in Q2 2020 alone. As of January 2021, the app is second only to TikTok in the App Store in terms of downloads (occasionally sparring with Facebook).Bar graph showing the most-downloaded apps in the U.S. in Q2 2020

Now, let’s take at some Instagram statistics that shed some light on who’s using the platform. Recent social media demographics continue to point to a predominantly female (34.3%) user base that’s under the age of 34.

Although there are still older users present, the platform is largely still dominated by Gen Z and Millennials. This is further driven home by some recent Instagram stats compiled by Statista.

Statista bar chart showing Instagram demographics by age and gender as of October 2020

Beyond appealing to the younger crowd, Instagram is known for its rabid user base. Case in point, 63% of Americans say they check Instagram daily. Couple this data with research conducted in Australia which notes the average Instagram user spends at least 7 hours per week on the platform.

Key takeaways

  • Instagram’s user growth has been steady and consistent, especially among the younger crowd.
  • Building on the point above, Instagram’s users are among the most dedicated in terms of how frequently they log in.
  • The sheer number of app downloads signals the importance of mobile optimization for your Instagram marketing strategy.

Instagram content statistics

The Instagram algorithm has tripped up marketers in the past and that trend looks to continue in 2021.

Recent Instagram statistics tell us that organic engagement has fallen from 2020, which was at 1.60%. For reference, research from RivalIQ puts the average engagement rate at 1.22%. Long story short? Organic engagement isn’t what it used to be.

Bar chart from Rival IQ showing Instagram engagement rate across all industries

So, which types of content should brands prioritize to fight the phenomenon of lower reach? Research from Bannersnack highlights that Carousel posts score the highest engagement rate (1.94%) followed by images (1.74%) and video posts (1.45%).

Average engagement rates per carousel, image and video post on Instagram

This might come as a bit of surprise given that Carousels aren’t talked about as much compared to, say, Reels or Stories.

That said, video content is still booming. Interest in binge-watching content grew significantly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic with 70% of marketers looking to up their investment in video. This comes hot on the heels of Instagram Reels and looming competition from TikTok.

Speaking of which, TikTok (29%) just barely edges out Instagram (25%) as teens’ preferred social platform of choice. In terms of content, expect Instagram to continue to push Reels. With Reels ads seemingly on the horizon, brands should consider double-dipping their short-form video across both Instagram and TikTok rather than choosing between them.

Graph showing Gen Z/U.S. Teen's favorite social platform, Instagram being 25%

But the big story when it comes to our Instagram stats surrounding content is, well, Stories.

According to Instagram themselves, 500+ million people use Stories daily and one-third of the most-viewed stories come from brands. Stories should remain a staple of your content strategy, especially as they allow brands to “skip the line” in followers’ feeds and aren’t restricted by the Instagram algorithm.

Wrapping our Instagram content statistics, we’ve found that the best times to post are during the week around 11 a.m. (central time). Posting at the times when your audience is most likely engaged should be common practice. Scheduling tools like Sprout Social can help with that.

2021 Instagram overall best times to post

Key takeaways

  • Stories, Carousels and short-form video should remain central to your content strategy.
  • With fierce competition and so much content floating around, even the smallest aspects of optimization (think: timing, captions, bio) count.
  • As engagement rates dip, brands should consider supplementing their content with Instagram ads.

Instagram advertising statistics

Piggybacking on the Instagram stats above, social ads are becoming more and more popular.

According to research by Smartly.io, a staggering 50% of marketing teams spend half of their marketing budgets on social ads. Specifically, 29% of marketers spend the majority of their ad dollars on Instagram.

Graph showing on which platform the most ad spending occurs; Instagram is 29%

Data from Merkle highlights how Instagram Stories ads have been performing especially well for brands lately. Their research noted that Stories ads generated 35% of impressions and 29% of total Instagram ad spend for brands in Q3 2020. Also notable is the fact that Stories ads boast a lower-than-average CPM despite their recent growth.

Another fascinating Instagram statistic from the Merkle report highlights how many companies are running side-by-side ads on Facebook and Instagram In fact, Instagram accounted for 33% of Facebook ad spend and 36% of impressions for brands rolling out campaigns on both platforms.

Bar chart showing Instagram and Facebook ad share by spend and impression

Meanwhile, a recent Socialbakers report highlights how much cost per click (CPC) has dropped for Instagram Feed (~20% YoY) and Stories ads (~15% YoY).

Bar graph showing the cost per click by platform position with Instagram feed and Stories in the lead and growing year over year

We can’t talk about Instagram statistics without talking about influencers, though.

While there’s been some skepticism about whether or not influencers would stand the test of time, the numbers don’t lie. According to Instagram, 87% of people say that an influencer has driven them to make a purchase. They also note that 70% of “shopping enthusiasts” turn to Instagram for product discovery.

Even if people aren’t buying from influencers directly, there’s no denying their impact on cementing Instagram a shopping hub. For those that do purchase from influencers, standard image posts (78%) and Stories (73%) are regarded as the most effective types of influencer content according to MediaKix.

Key takeaways

  • Although not quite at the level of Facebook’s popularity, Instagram’s ad platform is definitely growing.
  • With new ad types rolling out every year, brands have more freedom than ever when it comes to their campaigns (signaling both challenges and opportunities).
  • Influencers still have staying power despite rumblings from critics both prior to and during the pandemic.

Instagram statistics for brands

To wrap things up, let’s look at some general Instagram stats for brands to keep in mind for 2021.

An oft-cited stat that has ticked upward year-over-year, 90% of people now follow a business on Instagram. Look no further than the consistent roll-out of new business features and shopping options for ecommerce merchants as evidence of how the platform is becoming more brand-friendly.

Perhaps this explains why Instagram is now the popular platform for following brands. This showcases not only the opportunities to sell products on Instagram, but also provide customer service and support.

Bar chart showing the use of social media to follow brands, with Instagram leading all other social platforms at 36%

However, remember that Instagram isn’t just a B2C network anymore as 46% of B2B content marketers used organic Instagram within the past 12 months. Not quite as much as LinkedIn (95%) or Twitter (86%), it’s still telling that Instagram is growing in popularity for B2B. For example, business influencers and SaaS marketers are slowly but surely staking their claim on the platform.

Pie charts showing how B2B content marketers used in the last 12 months

Key takeaways

  • Organic Instagram is valuable for both B2C and B2B brands for the sake of building brand awareness.
  • More people are following brands on Instagram than ever before, signaling how the platform could rival Facebook in terms of shopping and ads in the long-term.
  • Even if Instagram isn’t resulting in direct sales, the network remains a key component of any social marketing funnel for educating and nurturing customers.

Which Instagram statistics stand out to you?

Listen: Instagram is a fast-growing and ever-evolving network.

Making the most of the platform means knowing how to adapt. Hopefully, the Instagram stats above can help you master the platform this year.

And if you’re still in need of advice or inspiration on how to make the most of 2021, make sure to check out our most recent guide on how to build your social media marketing strategy.

The post The most important Instagram statistics you need to know for 2021 appeared first on Sprout Social.