New information from Web analytics firm Experian Hitwise suggests Instagram has recovered nicely from a seeminglylast month.
For the 15 days since December 18, Instagram.com received more than 41.7 million total U.S. visits, an increase of 18 percent compared with the 15 days prior to the controversial proposed policy changes. The data was provided to CNET by Experian Marketing Services on request.
"The holidays see a spike in traffic as people are sharing more pictures than perhaps normal," Experian Marketing Services spokesman Matt Tatham told CNET, adding that the data doesn't include mobile traffic.
Facebook declined to provide official data or comment on this story.
Instagram members were alarmed in mid December when the Facebook-owned property announced it would include new language in its terms of service. The ambiguous language additions led many to believe that Instagram would be allowed to sell members' photos without their permission and without payment. The proposed changes set off a ruckus so loud that many users, influential celebrities included, said they'd be deleting their accounts.
Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom responded by , and he apologized for the confusion. The offending language has since been removed -- with Instagram -- but the damage was done, according to a widely circulated New York Post article claiming an Instagram exodus was in effect. That story cited third-party data from AppData -- which tracks Instagram users who log on through Facebook -- that showed a decline of close to 25 percent of the app's daily active users. An Instagram representative .
If Instagram's Web traffic is any indicator, the photo-sharing app is weathering its privacy storm quite nicely, likely with the holidays to thank for its buoyancy. The 18 percent uptick in Web traffic is not reflective of user growth or indicative of any changes on mobile; it may represent nothing more than normal holiday fluctuations in sharing behaviors. Still, the 41.7 million visits Instagram accrued during the past 15 days speak to the continued relevance and growing footprint of a service that many turn to for sharing their most intimate moments.