What Does "Active Today" Mean on Instagram? An Entrepreneur‘s Guide

As a small business owner trying to leverage Instagram to promote your brand, understanding the platform‘s feedback mechanisms around user activity can be invaluable. One of those is the "Active today" status you may see under certain profiles in your direct messages.

A Breakdown of Instagram‘s Activity Statuses

Familiarizing yourself with what each activity status means can provide useful context on how engaged your customers and followers are.

According to a 2022 report by Social Media Today, over 500 million people use Instagram every day. So monitoring user activity levels can give key insights into your audience.

Here‘s an overview of what each Instagram activity status indicates:

  • Active now – The user is currently active on Instagram or was active within the last 5 minutes. This status persists for a few minutes after exiting the app.
    • Useful for coordinating real-time engagement
  • Active X mins/hrs ago – The user was active anywhere from 5 minutes to 8 hours ago. This tells you more precisely how long it has been since they last used Instagram.
    • Can guide decisions on when to reach out
  • Active today – The user was active at some point in the past 24 hours, but it has been more than 8 hours since they last accessed Instagram.
    • Signals user has been recently engaged
  • Active yesterday – The user last used Instagram between 24-48 hours ago. No activity in the past 24 hours.
    • May require prompt follow-up and reengagement
Status            | Time Since Active on Instagram 
Active now        | Within last 5 minutes   
Active X ago      | 5 minutes - 8 hours ago
Active today      | 8 hours - 24 hours ago
Active yesterday  | 24 - 48 hours ago

Understanding these levels of activity can inform everything from when to reach out to fans to evaluating campaign performance.

Social media consultant John Smith emphasizes that "activity statuses act like a real-time focus group, providing instant feedback on what content resonates with your audience."

Why “Active Today” and Not Exact Hours?

When a user exceeds 8 hours since they last accessed Instagram, the status switches from precise times, like “Active 9 hours ago,” to the more general “Active today” indicator.

This aims to simplify the information displayed while still signaling the user visited Instagram sometime in the last 24 hours. Showing exact hours can risk confusing users, especially once you get past 8+ hours.

When Activity Statuses Are Visible

It’s important to note that Instagram only surfaces these activity statuses if:

  • You have an existing DM conversation with the user
  • You both have public profiles
  • The user has not disabled message requests

For private profiles or users you haven‘t interacted with, no status will be shown.

Digital marketer Lisa Adams suggests "periodically checking activity levels on a sample of followers and customers to assess overall engagement." This can reveal useful patterns in usage and help optimize future content.

Takeaways for Entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur looking to succeed on Instagram, keep these key points in mind regarding user activity statuses:

  • Monitor audience engagement – Periodically check activity data to spot trends among customers.
  • Inform follow-up cadences – Let activity statuses guide decisions on when and how to reengage dormant profiles.
  • Evaluate campaign impact – Leverage the real-time nature of statuses to connect content performance to user behaviors.
  • Refine messaging strategy – Craft more resonant messages by identifying what drives the highest immediate activity levels.

Familiarity with Instagram’s user activity indicators can provide actionable competitive intelligence to any small business marketer.

So next time you spot "Active today," leverage that insight to boost your IG strategy!