As we previously discussed, in its fourth quarter earnings slides, Facebook for the first time provided color on mobile only user base growth since Q4 2011. Growth in mobile only monthly active users rose to 157 million in the fourth quarter. While the emphasis on mobile only users represents a shift in Facebook’s focus, it is important to remember that Facebook’s mobile only emphasis really started with its purchase of Instagram on April 12, 2012.
It is instructive to contrast the user base growth of both platforms. While Instagram has provided sporadic updates on its user base growth, and it is unclear whether Instagram has reported monthly active users or total registrations, the chart shows that Instagram has been growing quickly, notably without the benefit of Facebook’s network effect on Instagram’s user base growth until at least its acquisition by Facebook at month 18 in the chart.