To take on Snapchat, Instagram has done more than just copy its features. It’s also heavily ramped up advertising on its parent site Facebook, and adopted other growth strategies long used by Facebook, such as sending more messages to users to get them to reopen the app.
Instagram last year boosted digital ad spending by 30% to 40% to about $80 million, mostly on Facebook, according to a person briefed on the figure. Snap, in comparison, spent $9.4 million last year on advertising, according to its IPO filing. The ads are likely one of the reasons why Instagram reported on Wednesday an increase in monthly active users to 700 million—doubling in the last two years.