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Instagram's private messaging feature is used by 25 percent of its users

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Instagram has finally offered some real data about the usage of Instagram Direct, the private sharing feature it launched last December. According to Fortune, over the past month 25 percent of Instagram users have sent or received a message using Direct.

25 percent of your user base isn't terrible — that's 45 million people using one feature, after all, and parent company Facebook has certainly had less successful product launches — but it's far from a runaway success for a feature Instagram dedicated an entire event to announcing. Also, Direct is championed prominently in the app's top-right corner, but perhaps the other 75 percent of users don't know what it is, or haven't found a use for it.

Instagram Direct is charming in its ambition that each private conversation should start with a photo — the currency of Instagram — but clearly something isn't resonating with users as a whole. Part of the problem might be that Instagram Direct doesn't make starting conversations so easy. You'll need to shoot, edit, and send a photo before you can start talking with a friend. Fortunately, Instagram's future doesn't lie in the success of Direct. The company's new editing tools are fantastic, and user numbers have surged passed 200 million (monthly actives).