Instagram surpasses YouTube in ad revenue

Court filing reveals Instagram's massive contribution to Meta's earnings since its acquisition in 2012 for $1 billion 

Photo and video-sharing social platform Instagram garnered $32.4 billion in advertising revenue, accounting for 27% of Meta’s total revenue in 2021. 

This figure surpasses the ad revenue generated by Google’s YouTube, which stood at $28.8 billion for the same period.

These revenue figures of Instagram were disclosed during a recent court filing. The disclosure, part of an effort to dismiss a federal antitrust lawsuit against Meta, highlights Instagram’s growth since its acquisition in 2012 for $1 billion. 

At the time of purchase, Instagram was a small, revenue-free photo-sharing app.  Under Meta’s stewardship, its revenue has exhibited a remarkable acceleration. 

Instagram generated advertising revenues of $11.3 billion in 2018, $17.9 billion in 2019, $22 billion in 2020, $32.4 billion in 2021, and $16.5 billion in the first half of 2022.

According to reports, Instagram’s revenue trajectory not only underscores its importance within Meta’s portfolio but also signals its competitive edge in the digital ad space, outperforming giants like YouTube. 

Analysts have speculated on the potential valuation of Instagram, suggesting it could be comparable to YouTube’s estimated worth of $400 billion, especially given Instagram’s continued revenue growth.

The comparison of ad revenue share distribution highlights Instagram’s cost efficiency, contrasting with YouTube’s model of sharing 55% of ad revenue with content creators.

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  3. Wow, Instagram’s revenue growth over the past few years has been incredibly impressive. To think it went from being a small photo sharing app to generating over $30 billion in ad revenue shows just how much potential was realized under Meta’s ownership. It’s fascinating that it now outperforms YouTube in this space too. Instagram has truly cemented itself as one of the most lucrative social platforms. With continued growth like this, it’s valuation will surely grow to match the estimates being made. Really amazing to see what it has become since being acquired a decade ago.


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