According to research by Experian, Instagram boasted an astonishing 17,319% boost in the US and a 2028% boost in the UK, across the timeframe of July 2011 to July 2012.
Instagram launched in October 2010, and was purchased by Facebook for $1bn in April this year. It focuses on posting smartphone pictures, with anachronistic applied filters and small comments. It is popular amongst the hipster demographic.
Pinterest saw growth of 5124% in the US, and 1489% in the UK across the same period. Pinterest launched in March 2010, and works as a picture pinboard for users to collect images to share amongst their friends - for this reason it has run into copyright SNAFUs. Previously an invite only service, it opened itself up to open registration last week.
Instagram and Pinterest growth between July 2011 and July 2012
Both companies are now prominently featured in the top 20 social media networks used in Singapore, the UK and North America, while other niche social networks such as Reddit in Australia (177%), FanPop in the UK (178%) and Stock Twits in the US (943%) have also experienced significant gains.
It is no coincidence that both companies are primarily visually based, and have seen much of their successes come from mobile - a problem Facebook has yet to crack.
"The growth of both Instagram and Pinterest over the past year has been phenomenal. The reason for their success is that they haven't tried to be 'another Facebook'. Instead, they both identified a gap in the market and used the scale of Facebook to reach consumers. Both networks are image based which people love - we all relate better to pictures than just words. For brands that are retailers for example, a site like Pinterest presents a fantastic opportunity to promote products in a compelling and organised way to a wide group of people across the world," said James Murray Experian's Digital Insights Manager.
Interestingly, the struggling Google+ has seen a big uptick in usage in the UK (476%) as Google introduced new features such hangouts and sparks. Google has repositioned itself as a 'grown ups' or business social network and has seen some life in Brazil also, which saw a phenomenal 5750% increase.
Facebook has continued to struggle since its IPO, as its share price dipped below $20 for the first time - and stayed there. The company listed at $38, but has struggled to monetise mobile platforms, where most social users are moving. It raises the risk of another tech bubble - this may even include Pinterest and Instagram, as social media companies have been receiving absurd valuations.