Instagram Leads App Download Race, Outpaces TikTok in User Growth

Instagram has surged ahead of TikTok in the race for new users and app downloads, marking a significant shift in the landscape of social media platforms, the Financial Times reports.

Tiktok vs insta

According to data from Sensor Tower, Instagram’s app downloads surpassed TikTok’s in the previous year, driven by its strategic adoption of features reminiscent of its Chinese competitor.

In 2023, Instagram witnessed a remarkable 20% increase in total app downloads, reaching an impressive 768 million globally. Meanwhile, TikTok’s growth in app downloads was comparatively modest, with a mere 4% increase to 733 million downloads during the same period.

This surge in Instagram’s downloads underscores the success of Meta’s efforts to attract new users, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledging TikTok’s rapid growth as one of the most significant threats to Meta’s social media empire.

A pivotal moment in this competition occurred in 2020 when Instagram introduced “reels,” a feature mirroring TikTok’s format of sharing short video clips.

Abraham Yousef, a senior insights manager at Sensor Tower, noted that Instagram’s outperformance of TikTok is attributed to the widespread adoption of its reels feature, alongside its traditional social media functionalities.

Despite Instagram’s achievement in app downloads, TikTok continues to maintain an edge in user engagement. On average, TikTok users spend 95 minutes per day on the platform, compared to 62 minutes on Instagram.

Instagram vs TikTok

Mark Shmulik, an analyst at Bernstein, highlighted Instagram’s success in retaining existing users through its emphasis on short-form video content. This strategy has effectively discouraged potential TikTok users from switching platforms.

While TikTok excels in its algorithm-driven content recommendations, Meta has invested heavily in artificial intelligence to enhance the freshness and relevance of content on Instagram.

Furthermore, TikTok’s policy of allowing users to download and share videos on other platforms, including Instagram, inadvertently contributes to its rival’s visibility and user engagement.

Beyond app downloads, TikTok has also made significant strides in ecommerce with its TikTok Shop feature, generating over $1.1 billion in gross merchandise revenue in the US in 2023.

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