Meta’s Copycat Machine Fuels Instagram Growth

Instagram beat TikTok in growth and downloads in 2023.
March 22, 2024
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3 iphones showing instagram reels

In Nov. 2022, The Atlantic declared, “Instagram is Over.” 

But Instagram clearly didn’t listen, as they beat rival TikTok in several critical areas of growth last year, per Sensor Tower:

  • Instagram achieved 20% YoY growth in app downloads compared to TikTok’s 4% YoY growth
  • Instagram achieved 767 million total app downloads compared to TikTok’s 763 million

Not only did Instagram beat TikTok in growth and total volume of downloads, but a recent Pew Research Center survey showed that Instagram is more popular with younger people. 78% of US adults aged 18-29 say they have used Instagram, compared to just 62% for TikTok.

So, what’s driving growth?

Meta’s copycat machine. Meta is famous for cloning their competitor's most popular features, and a few of them are driving significant user growth for Instagram:

  • Instagram Threads, a Twitter copycat, drove 100 million downloads in the first week when it debuted in July 2023, per The Verge.
  • Instagram Reels, a TikTok copycat, increased time spent on Instagram by 24%, per Meta’s Q1 2023 Earnings Call.

While Instagram is trending up, it still lags behind TikTok in user engagement statistics. According to Sensor Tower, users spent 95 minutes daily on TikTok compared to 62 minutes on Instagram in 2023.

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