Instagram snaps into top 10 social networks

This week Facebook announced the $1 billion acquisition of photo sharing app Instagram. This is a landmark deal for the acquisition of an app but Instagram became the 10th most visited social network in the UK in March 2012, showing the increasing appetite for photo sharing online.

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Instagram received almost 13 million UK Internet visits in March 2012, a massive increase from the 300,000 visits it received in March 2011. During the last year Instagram has increased traffic to its website 43-fold. In the US Instagram received 3.8 million visits in a week, which my colleague Heather commented on in her blog.

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In the last month alone Instagram has increased UK Internet visits by 44%, a growth which saw the site jump from 12th place to 10th in the social rankings between February and March. 12 months ago Instagram was barely scraping into the top 1,000 social networks, so it has come a long way in a very short period of time.

So where is all this traffic coming from? Using clickstream data we can see that Instagram relies on Facebook as its biggest source of traffic, with nearly 1 in every 5 visits coming to Instagram coming from Facebook in March 2012.

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What’s interesting here is not just the amount of traffic Instagram receives from social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, but also the prominence of other photo sharing sites like yfrog and TwitPic. What this indicates is that people who like sharing photos do so through multiple platforms and that there is definitely room in this industry for more than one dominant player (currently Flickr with 24 million UK Internet visits in March 2012).

In the last 12 months, Instagram has come to rely less on social networks as a source of traffic and more on Entertainment sites (including other photo sharing sites) and search.

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From the graph above you can see that traffic from social networks has fallen from 56.7% of all visits to 39.5% year-on-year. On the other hand visits from the Entertainment category and from search engines have doubled.

Future investments in tech start ups

The acquisition of Instagram has already prompted speculation about which tech start ups will be next on the investors’ list. From the list below highlighted in The Guardian the two companies that are head and shoulders above the rest are Tumblr and Spotify.

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Visits to Tumblr have doubled in the last 12 months, whereas visits to Spotify have tripled since March 2011. The fast moving asset of this small group however is Pinterest, which I blogged about last month. Pinterest has increased UK Internet visits 100-fold in the last 12 months, and had its biggest ever month of traffic in March with nearly 5 million visits.

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