Instagram loses a quarter of its users over Christmas

News Stacy Warden 11:30, Dec 28 2012

... And so did plenty of other apps, so let's just all calm down now

Instagram lost at least a quarter of its daily active users over Christmas, according to recent stats from AppData. The New York Post took those numbers and ran with 'em in a story that suggests the massive drop in numbers was due to Instgram changing its terms of service.

“[We are] pretty sure the decline in Instagram users was due to the terms of service announcement” on Dec. 17, AppData told The Post. While recent evidence -- namely the big stink that whole debacle created -- would point to Instagram's new terms being a likely reason for the decline, it's probably not.

In fact, it may very well just have to do with the fact that it was Christmas; you know, that time of year meant for unadulterated family time. Maybe even the only time when folks actually feel obligated to turn their phones off, or are at least politely prompted to check 'em at the door. 

As both The Next Web and TechCrunch point out in their rebuttals to the NYP story, drops like this are actually perfectly normal over the holiday period. TNW writes:

"Yahoo’s Social Bar supposedly dropped from a peak of 5.8 million daily active users on Wednesday 19 December to 1.9 million daily active users on Wednesday 26 December, a 67.2 percent decrease. Zoosk had 1.6 million daily active users on Wednesday 19 December and supposedly dropped to 1.1 million daily active users on Wednesday 26 December, a 31.3 percent drop."

Clearly, Instagram wasn't alone. In fact, the photo-sharing app was in quite good company. Even Pinterest saw a 27.5 percent drop. Because here's the thing, holidays are now this crazy reminder that life exists outside of apps. It's true. I mean, I don't know what you mobile nerds were up to during your time off, but I busted out the board games. Actual board games, with tangible pieces. I played Monopoly for the first time in ... well, maybe since the first time I held an iPad

The only thing I find slightly askew about this whole Instagram decline during Christmas is that the holidays are a camera-happy time. Even Twitter went to the trouble to release its native photo filters just ahead of Christmas. But hey, maybe while I was busy playing actual board games other folks were attempting to use actual cameras. Perhaps we'll see a spike again with New Year's Eve. 

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