Facebook (FB) Hits Home Run with Instagram

Facebook Inc’s (FB) stock gained 0.53% in pre-market trade Wednesday following an announcement that Instagram now has more than 400 million monthly-active-users, a number that makes the Facebook-owned photo-sharing service far larger than rival Twitter (TWTR). Just nine months ago, Instagram had only 300 million users.

The photo-and-video-sharing app said the popularity of the service is extending around the globe, with more than 75% of its users currently being based outside the U.S., and more than half of the last 100 million in Europe and Asia. The countries that added the most new users included Brazil, Japan and Indonesia, Instagram said, noting that more than 80 million photos are shared on the service each day.

“When Instagram launched nearly five years ago, 400 million seemed like a distant dream,” the company writes. “Now, we continue to strive to improve Instagram — helping you experience the world through images and connect with others through shared passions.”

The latest numbers will be a significant boost for Facebook as it looks to monetize Instagram. Research firm eMarketer recently estimated that the app’s global ad revenue will reach about $600 million this fiscal year, $1.5 billion in 2016, and $2.8 billion in 2017.

Facebook bought Instagram for a modest $1 billion in 2012.

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