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Meta Shares Insight into Instagram’s Revenue Performance, Providing New Growth Context

While Meta shares its quarterly performance updates, which show the total numbers of users that it has on Facebook, and across its “Family of Apps” (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger), it’s hard to get a more specific breakdown of each of its app’s solo performance numbers at any given time, as Meta only reports on key milestones and events.

So for Facebook, we know that 3.065 billion people log into the app every month, but we don’t know how many use IG in isolation.

The last official usage update we got from Meta on Instagram usage was in 2022, when it reported that the platform had reached 2 billion monthly active users. The most recent update before that was in 2018, when IG reached a billion actives.

So, as you can see, fairly inconsistent reportage.

But last week, we finally got a glimpse of Instagram’s revenue performance figures in isolation, as part of Meta’s latest legal filing to dismiss the FTC’s antitrust lawsuit, which seeks to force Meta to sell off Instagram and WhatsApp.

According to the documents, Instagram earned:

  • $11.3 billion in ad revenue in 2018
  • $17.9 billion in 2019
  • $22 billion in 2020
  • $32.4 billion in 2021

The filing also notes that IG earned $16.5 billion in ad revenue in the first half of 2022, putting it on track to earn more than $33 billion for that year (based on higher holiday spend).

Which is a staggering amount of money.

As reported by Bloomberg, the data suggests that Instagram generated around 30% of Meta’s total revenue in 2022. Which, if you were to extrapolate that into last year’s numbers, would suggest that IG brought in around $40 billion in ad revenue in 2023.

Not bad for an app that Meta acquired for $1 billion back in 2012.

In terms of user growth, the new E.U. regulations have also provided some insight, with Meta now required to share its E.U. user counts every six months.

Based on this, we know that IG had 259 million monthly active users in Europe as of September 2023.

There’s even a breakdown of those users:

Instagram EU members

So, based on this, and the officially reported 2 billion users, we can estimate, referring to Facebook’s user spread as a proxy, that IG likely has around 175 million users in the U.S., with the remaining majority of its audience being in the Asia Pacific (around 750 million users), with India now being Instagram’s top market.

Those are estimated, of course, but the data points provide some context as to what IG is seeing around the world, and where the app is most popular.

So, if you were trying to work out just how big IG is, and how significant it’s become, this is the data that we know.

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