When Instagram launched its Android app in early April, we said that it would only be a couple of weeks before the company crossed the 50 million mark. Well, it took three weeks (interrupted by its $1 billion dollar acquisition by Facebook) to cross that milestone. In early April 2012, Instagram had about 30 million members.
The speed of Instagram’s growth was what panicked Mark Zuckerberg. Despite pretensions, Facebook is primarily a photo sharing site and photos happen to be one of the key sources of engagement on its vast platform. While their “photo” franchise might not be a money maker for the company, it keeps bringing people back.
The growth of Instagram photos being shared on both Facebook and Twitter was one of the reasons Zuckerberg paid a billion dollars for the 13-person operation without as much as consulting his board.