Top Instagram Demographics That Matter to Social Media Marketers

By Paige Worthy

Social

Image via Veronica Benavides under CC0

Instagram launched in October 2010, and when Facebook purchased the photo-sharing platform in 2012 it had just 30 million users.

Instagram is the sixth most popular social media platform in the world. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom announced in June 2018 that Instagram has reached more than 1 billion users. (That’s more than 1/10th of the world’s population!)

But who are these 1 billion Instagram users?

As a marketer, understanding Instagram demographics—who’s actually going to see the content you publish —is critical to your success on the platform.

Whether you’re gearing up to start an Instagram ads campaign or hoping to extend your organic reach on Instagram, here are the Instagram user demographics you need to know for maximum impact.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps an adventure photographer used to grow from 0 to 110,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

Instagram age demographics

Millennials may be ruining the world, but they’re the juggernaut Instagram user demographic.
Users under 35 make up more than 70 percent of Instagram’s more than 800 million active accounts worldwide. Here’s a look at the age-demographic breakdown:

Instagram’s most active users are in the 18- to 29-year-old demographic, with 71 percent saying they use the platform, according to the Pew report. That’s up from just 59 percent in 2016. And 55 percent of them say that they check in on the app more than once a day.

According to Piper Jaffray’s fall 2017 Taking Stock With Teens consumer insights survey, 24 percent of teenagers say Instagram is their preferred social network. (Instagram came in second to Snapchat, which 47 percent of teens preferred.)

It isn’t just the younger demographics logging into Instagram, though.

In the 50- to 64-year-old demographic, 21 percent say they’re using Instagram, up from 18 percent in 2016. And 10 percent of Americans 65 and older say they’re using Instagram today, up from 8 percent in 2016.

Some seniors are even using the platform to showcase their fashion sense. Nonagenarian Instagram sensation @baddiewinkle has almost 4 million followers who follow her edgy style!

Instagram gender demographics

According to the Pew Research report, more women than men are using Instagram: 39 percent of female respondents use Instagram, and just 30 percent of men surveyed do.

Among active Instagram users, however, it’s an even gender split: 50.3 percent are female, while 49.7 percent are male.

Within individual age groups, women outnumber men, except for users aged 18 to 34: there are 20 million more male users than female.

Six of the top 10 most-followed Instagram accounts (as of September 2018; it’s an unending struggle to keep up) are owned by women:

It’s worth noting that Instagram’s registration process offers just three choices: “male,” “female,” or “not specified.” Pew’s research results also did not include gender non-binary classifications. (Some apps, including Tinder, now offer 37 gender options, so let’s hope that Instagram demographic stats will better reflect gender fluidity and diversity in the future, too.)

Instagram racial and ethnic demographics

The Pew Research study found that, of three major ethnic groups it surveyed, black Americans were using Instagram the most. In the United States, 43 percent of black respondents said they use Instagram. That’s compared to 38 percent of Hispanic respondents and 32 percent of white respondents.

Instagram doesn’t ask its new users about their race or ethnicity during the signup process, so there is little official data on this demographic.

Instagram geographical demographics

The United States is the global leader in active Instagram users, with 120 million users.

The Pew Research survey found that 42 percent of urban respondents are using Instagram. Of suburban respondents, 34 percent use Instagram. And of those living in rural areas, just 25 percent are Instagram users.

Brands like REI are transcending these demographic differences by bringing Instagram users everywhere together over a love of the outdoors. The company’s branded hashtag campaign #OptOutside has nearly 10 million posts from Instagram users who are enjoying a little fresh air as they scroll through Instagram.

Users all over the world are adopting the platform — and some countries are seeing massive growth in their number of Instagram users. Here’s a look at the global top 10 for Instagram usage:

Instagram income demographics

Instagram users run the income gamut, from hourly retail employees to Fortune 100 CEOs to trust-fund babies.
A survey of 2,000 U.S. residents’ social media habits by U.K.-based communications consultancy We are Flint broke down Instagram use by several demographic indicators, including household income:

This means there’s room on Instagram for budget brands and luxury labels alike—and plenty of followers to go around.

Zara’s Instagram account boasts more than 28 million followers, posting photos that look luxury but feature the brand’s affordable styles.

And with more than 16 million followers, Prada’s Instagram account posts luxury looks straight from the runway.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps an adventure photographer used to grow from 0 to 110,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

Instagram education demographics

Just 29 percent of those with a high school degree or less say they use Instagram, according to the Pew “Social Media Use in 2018” study.

Of those with some college education, 36 percent use Instagram, while 42 percent of those with college degrees use Instagram.

Many colleges and universities are maintaining their own Instagram accounts to keep current students and alumni alike engaged. My alma mater, The University of Kansas, has been showing off professional and amateur photos of campus life since 2012. It now has more than 50,000 followers.

Instagram demographics are just the beginning

Sixty percent of people say they discover new products on Instagram—and there are more than 25 million business profiles on Instagram, all working to get the eyes of those 1 billion users on their offerings.

Are you getting your business in front of the right people?

If you’re trying to get more Instagram followers or create the perfect Instagram ad, understanding Instagram statistics and demographics is just a piece of the puzzle in creating your Instagram marketing strategy.

Ready to put your Instagram user demographic insights to work? Start scheduling and publishing posts alongside all your other social media channels directly from the Hootsuite dashboard. Try it free today.

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