Imgur began as a gift to the users of Reddit by Alan Schaaf in 2009. Since then, and possibly because of its connection to Reddit, it has grown into a internet powerhouse. By 2012 the fledgling site had gone from a little site nobody knew to processing nearly 5 petabytes per month.
Imgur, which Schaaf has stated has never taken corporate money, now has an Alexa ranking of 45th in the world and 16th in the US, competing directly with Instagram, which is ranked 20th in the US and 24th in the world.
As mentioned before, it was a gift to Reddit and Reddit is giving back. As of one year ago, nearly 65% of all the images shared on Reddit, ranked 32nd in the world and 10th in the US, were hosted on Imgur.
Just how serious of a force is Imgur? A good demonstration can be made from a picture of a Syrian refugee in Germany feeding the homeless. While it was shared 3,000 times of Facebook, it was shared 3 million times on Imgur. This doesn’t correlate directly to the amount of users Imgur has, but it does speak volumes about how powerful it can be as an image-sharing site.
When the user data is directly laid out versus Instagram and Snapchat, the numbers don’t lie. As of late 2014, Imgur had 150 million active monthly users on its site while Instagram had 400 million as of September 2015 and Snapchat’s app (the primary place that Snapchat is utilized) was buried at just 70 million users in April 2014.
Imgur’s user engagement is nothing to scoff at either. Around 30 million of its 150 million users spend over 10 hours per week on the site. Compare that with the average Instagram user who spends around 24 minutes per day on the site.
While Imgur is currently behind Instagram in terms of active monthly users, that gap seems to be closing quickly. And, for anyone in website marketing and e-commerce, just a few days can mean a world of difference for a company, especially a social media company.
What does the future hold for Imgur? Given the connection to Reddit and the aspirations for social networking, it looks as if the future is bright for the image sharing service.