Instagram Continues Its Mind-Blowing Rise Instagram has combined Facebook's photo album of our lives with Snapchat's playfulness.

By Lesya Liu

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Lucia Lambriex | Getty Images

Instagram now boasts 700 million users, and what is more impressive is that its growth rate is only speeding up. For reference, it took the platform just four months to add the latest 100 million compared to six months it needed for the previous 100 million users.

It's really no exaggeration that Instagram is the hottest platform on the block. Did it help Instagram to copy Snapchat's features? Most likely. Did it help Instagram that it's owned by Facebook? Definitely. Let's count all the ways Instagram continues its mind-blowing rise.

Instagram continues to attract more users as it gets bigger because it gets better as well. Instagram becomes more and more artistic and sophisticated in storytelling. Stories is a big part of that creative self-expression. So, just in the last few months, Instagram added a ton of features to it and beyond.

Related: Marketers Are Using Instagram More Than Snapchat Right Now: Here's Why.

The first addition, face filters, is becoming a selfie norm for better or worse. Insta now also allows to post videos in reverse with the new feature "Rewind." Plus, just announced last week, you can now view Location and Hashtag Stories, a compilation of Stories from accounts (regardless if you follow them or not) that all use the same hashtag or a location near you. What a great way to explore your interests and find relevant handles worth following! Take that Snapchat!

Although ephemeral content is all the buzz lately, don't underestimate the power of regular, "permanent" content. While Stories is a fun way to share random one-offs or goof around with friends, people still crave to create a story of their life and keep around those photos of "milestones," like graduations, weddings and new house purchases. Plus, don't forget those guilty pleasures like sharing in a more lasting way vacation pics, awesome outfits or nights out with friends. Instagram has you covered there as well with a rollout of galleries, a collection of photos uploaded as a group.

Instagram brings together the best of both Facebook's photo album of our lives and Snapchat's discretion and goofiness. This is what makes Instagram so appealing to both young and old.

Related: How to Create an Effective Sales Funnel Using Instagram

Let's also talk about all the latest features Instagram has been adding to its business arsenal. While, compared to the last year, there was no major addition to its lineup -- like introduction of Instagram Stories, Live, or algorithm-based newsfeed -- so far, Instagram was (arguably) softly chugging away improvements, primarily to Stories.

Related: 8 Tips to Attract Your First 250K Instagram Followers

The biggest one has to be the announcement that now all advertisers can select Stories as a placement for their ad. This is pretty huge, because Stories are as immersive of an experience online as you can get. Not only Stories take up a whole mobile screen, viewers are much more engaged with them too. First of all, Stories are unobtrusive – you have to click on a Story to watch it, because you have to believe you're in for something special and exclusive. Understandably, less than a month after this news, the platform was proud to announce that one million advertisers chose Instagram as a place to be.

Overall, things are looking very bright for Instagram. Zuckenberg knew what he was doing when he purchased the app. That $1 billion purchase doesn't seem so silly after all; now, it looks like a steal.

Lesya Liu

Social Media Strategist at The Social Media Current

Lesya Liu helps entrepreneurs create a meaningful and profitable Instagram presence that feels right for their creative businesses. Born and raised in Ukraine, she is a social media strategist and a photographer. Her passion lies in combining art and marketing to create compelling storytelling, both visually and textually. Most days she roams the Interwebs, looking for fresh, inspirational ideas or testing things out on her own social channels.

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