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When Facebook announced that it was acquiring photo-based social network Instagram for $1bn in April, the upstart had around 30m registered users and less than 1m daily active users.

Today, Instagram boasts more than 100m registered users and more than 11m daily active users.

Not surprisingly, that has given brands seeking to expand beyond social networking stalwarts like Facebook and Twitter to give Instagram a look. And they're not just looking: according to new research published by social analytics firm Simply Measured, brand adoption of Instagram has jumped by 35% since August and more than half of the Interbrand 100 are now active on the service.

Instagram's 35% growth in brand adoption in the past several months bests another hot social network, Pinterest, which posted a 24% gain in brand adoption. And it's significantly higher than that of Google+, which saw a 5% growth rate, just 1% more than a far more mature player, Twitter.

Thanks, Facebook!

A good chunk of Instagram's growth is likely attributable to tighter integration between the world's largest social network and its shiny new toy.

As Simply Measured points out, Instagram users can now automatically add likes on Instagram to their Facebook timelines, and as the firm observed, "more than 90% of Instagram photos posted by brands were also posted to Facebook." This, Simply Measured says, has driven Facebook engagements per Instagram photo up to 210.

The rich get richer

Not all brands jumping on the Instagram bandwagon are getting the same piece of the pie. Despite the staggering growth in Instagram's user base, just 8% of the brands on the service have more than 100,000 followers -- the same percentage as in August.

This isn't necessarily surprising, of course. Currently, 49% of the Interbrand 100 have an active Instagram account (Simply Measured defines this as an account with at least one photo posted), up from 37% in August, but this is obviously still not cutting it and brands hoping to build a following on the social network will need to more than just show up.

The good news: there are a growing number of examples of brands making great use of Instagram, giving newcomers that want to boost their Instagram prospects a helpful starting point.

Patricio Robles

Published 5 November, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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