There is a major battle taking place in the Social Media Space. While facebook is the undisputed champion in this realm, the second spot has typically been held by Twitter, but something changed.
On April 9, 2012, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger sold Instagram, to Facebook. Facebook purchased the photo filter app 18 months after its launch for $1 billion: $300 million in cash, the rest in Facebook stock.
Ever since that time, Instagram has been exploding its user base and Twitters growth has stalled. Twitter currently has 304 million active users while Instagram has 400 million active users.
How did Instagram grow so fast?
Obviously having the power house of facebook behind you gives you a tremendous amount of momentum. You get a notification of your facebook connection joining Instagram and this increases engagement. Facebook is heavily promoting and pushing it’s users to Instagram. Twitter doesn’t have the same type of powerhouse so heavily invested in it.
Pictures speak a thousand words which is more than the 140 character limit set by Twitter.
Twitter is considered a Micro Blog and Instagram is a Plog aka Picture Log. While Twitter allows you to get a very focused thought out to the masses and then add a picture or short video, Instagram is Picture or Video first, then your content with no character limit. Obviously this difference is significant because most people have pigeonholed Twitter as a Micro Blog, it’s hard for them to pivot but Pivot they will.
Should Twitter be concerned about Instagrams Growth?
This boils down to advertising dollars. Virtually every social media network is trying to monetize their user base and thats what they should be doing. It costs money to keep these services up. You need datacenters and server farms with high volume bandwidth and redundant systems combined with brilliant developers in order to power these sites.
While Twitter today generates $1.6 Billion in ad dollars vs Instagram $600 Million, it is projected that by 2017 those numbers will change in favor of Instagram generating over $2.8 Billion Dollars per year. This means a healthy return on investment for Facebook.
Twitter Still Matters
All that being said, I don’t forsee Twitter going away. People generally remember the top 5 brands in a particular category. Today Facebook holds the top spot followed by Instagram, Twitter, LinekdIn, and Google+.
What does this mean for Business’ & Marketers?
I’m still a believer that under the current climate, Twitter provides a better marketing experience. Twitter allows you to embed links which is important for driving people to your website.
Remember, marketing is a funnel. No one platform will do it all for you. What a business needs is a Quality Website, with valuable content that people visit. You drive traffic to your website in many ways and social media is one of the best ways. You can’t sell directly on social media but you can sell on your website. So the idea is to engage people on social media and drive them to your website where they will potentially purchase your goods or services.
While Instagram is growing it’s userbase at an astounding rate, Twitter still is the best option for marketers to focus their attention since it allows you to more easily drive traffic to your website.
I think you should have a presence on all the major social networks so you can diversify your social marketing. Obviously the larger your team the more you can distribute your efforts and the smaller your team the harder it is to do so. You might not be able to be everywhere, but you should be where it counts.