Instagram Beats YouTube in Ad Revenue, Taking More Than $20 Billion in 2019

Instagram Beats YouTube in Ad Revenue, Taking More Than $20 Billion in 2019

According to Bloomberg, an anonymous source has revealed Instagram brought in more than $20 billion worth of ad revenue in 2019 alone. Generating more profit than YouTube, the sums from Instagram made up more than a quarter of Facebook’s ad income for the year.

 For the very first time, YouTube’s ad revenue has been released by Alphabet Inc. Despite taking an impressive $15.1billion last year, it’s noticeably less than that of Instagram, which raised more than a third extra. Instagram’s ad revenue was provided to Bloomberg by a source who wished to keep their identity secret, due to the information not being readily available to the public.

What’s more, as Engadget points out, Instagram likely has a higher profit margin, given that the platform doesn’t share ad revenue profits with content creators in the way that YouTube does. That’s despite the increase in adverts on the site, with users reporting sponsored posts cropping up more frequently on their feed, with fewer posts from users they follow in between each advert. It’s a great feat for Facebook though, when we bear in mind Instagram had no model in place for revenue when it was acquired by its now-parent company back in 2012.

At a time when many speculate whether video content will replace photo content, these figures come as a reassurance to photographers that there is still much life left in photography yet.

Lead image courtesy via Pexels.

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Stoopy McPheenis's picture

Not surprising. IG reads like one big ad.

Travis Alex's picture

I think what I find most offending about this numbers is not them profiting as a company, but the fact that they actively seek to suppress certain content creators, as well as punish the crap out of new and old content creators who don't slave their page to the popular mass of content that the general public sees as "unique".

If your not making landscapes, drone shots, ciche and cliche picturesk places, or overdone portrait concepts that are highly over edited, you don't get pushed up in the feed. It makes it so all content creators have to confrom to be noticed.

It's utter nonsense given the amount of revenue they make off us as content makers. There should be more transparency on how the algorithm works and make it easier for people to get discovered.

Kawika Lopez's picture

I doubt this will last very long. The way Facebook has perverted the social landscape, especially on Instagram, users will begin to realize that ad dollars will go much further on other platforms such as google, YouTube, and podcasts.

Teresa Oldenbourg's picture

One of the main reasons I deleted my Instagram. I shoot for myself and my own enjoyment. I try to create what I want. With that in mind, I had no need for advertising. I just wanted to share my work. Instagram constantly shadow banned me and always hid my work. Defeated the purpose of having the app. I was being punshed for them not profitting off of me.

Steven de Vet's picture

unsurprising with every 3rd post or story being an annoying ad...

I can deal with a 5-30 second ad on youtube just fine since I get a 10min video in return.. But I do find it very annoying on instagram with the amount of them there, for every ad I have to "watch" or scroll past, I only get 3 posts in return.. the content vs. ad ratio is just crap..


For me it's one post, one ad, two more posts, another ad.

Deleted Account's picture

Growing your own portfolio
is much more rewarding than growing Instasham.

Ian Meyers's picture

Deleted my facebook in 2019, 2020 looks like it might be the year to delete insta.

Deleted Account's picture

It is much more rewarding being off of Social Mememedia and growing for you and in your craft.

Think of the future. You will be much further ahead while everyone is still stuck in the mud...

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

I view IG mostly on a desktop/laptop and mobile browser and there's no ads. And no, I'm not complaining. :) For some reason, they don't show ads when viewing on these platforms even when you're not using any kind of ad blocker.