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Instagram’s user base now bigger than Twitters – But which one is truly better, if any?

Instagram’s user base now bigger than Twitters – But which one is truly better, if any?

by Samir12th December 2014

Instagram’s user base now bigger than Twitters – But which one is truly better, if any?


In the battle for social media supremacy, Instagram has taken the fight to Twitter, claiming it now possesses 300 million active users compared with the 284 million active users Twitter alleged used its site 6 weeks ago.

However, Twitter also professes to have over half a billion less avid users amongst its clientele, making any inference made over which site has more users somewhat vague. However, what is undisputable is the rate of uptake Instagram has enjoyed amongst users over the past years, with over 100 million people signing up to the photo-sharing site in the last 9 months alone – that’s a 50% increase in less than a year.

Following its inauguration back in 2010 as but an iPhone app, Instagram has jumped from height to height, hitting 10 million users within 12 months before being purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012 in what now looks like a worthy investment indeed.

In fact, Mark Zuckerberg himself pushed the bid, as part of the Facebook CEOs long-standing stance on the importance of mobile technology on future marketing endeavours. His foresight appears justified now in an age where a brand’s capacity to reach users on multiple platforms is what sets them apart, and all the more so when the success of Facebook messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat – all Facebook owned – are taken into account.

Instagram’s chief executive, Kevin Systrom, said via a blog post: “Over the past four years, what began as two friends with a dream has grown into a global community that shares more than 70 million photos and videos each day.”

Although there can be no doubting Twitter’s profound impact on the world. From political exchanges to ground-breaking announcements, Twitter continues to serve as the medium through which icons and common folk can impact upon one another, bringing people closer together in a unique, progressive way.

Yet within that above intro to his blog post, Systrom identifies exactly what sets Instagram apart from the rest – it’s image-centric core, which plays on people’s natural response to the aesthetic and the easily graspable nature of photos and graphics as a whole. A picture can tell a thousand words, and this is precisely the sentiment which underscores the niche Instagram currently finds itself occupying, and what necessitates its existence alongside Twitter.

From a marketing perspective…

The more users Instagram garners, the greater it benefits marketers everywhere; it’s simple, the bigger the sample size, the larger the scope for target audience and greater brand exposure.

As for its advertising tools, Instagram still has much evolution to undergo. Its targeting capabilities are far more limited then Twitter, whose ‘tailored audiences’ features allows brands to leverage information about a user’s online shopping history and thus locate the kind of individual who would positively respond to their own product. Twitter’s search engine is far more impressive, and more pertinently, its association with official organisations renders it the go-to place for any official update which could impact your travel, money or political landscape.


However, the fact remains, photos if leveraged correctly by marketers are a far more fun, absorbing way of reaching clients. A medium-sized brand can shift public opinion of itself in a matter of hours with a photo showing team spirit and a willingness to engage personally with followers; for example, Google showing some of its techiest analysts all having a tug of war, with a forfeit going to the losing team. Talk may be cheap, but photos are too, and they’re a hell of a lot easier to process to the average internet surfer. You can’t buy that sort of publicity!

Instagram’s new features…

Systrom also stated Instagram will be continuing improve as it grows in scale. Following on from the launch of its ‘People tab’ last month, which better connects users with the choice accounts they’re following, Instagram are rolling out verified badges for brands, celebrities and other icons enabling users to know which accounts are legitimate and which are hoaxes.

This move is being accompanied by a widespread crackdown on the number of spammy accounts, and Systrom has explained that this could be why users are experiencing drops in followers/following at present/in the coming weeks.

Thought to take…

“It is the mark of an educated man to entertain a thought without accepting it” – so said Aristotle, whilst shaking his head at the catfight being sparked by media over what social media outlet holds dominion over the other. Ok he didn’t and I’m sure he’d be turning in his grave at having been included in this article – but the point remains, there’s a lot of noise out there, and a lot of material to be ingested but this ought not to be taken as fact.

Our opinion is that all platforms intertwine with one another, filling in the other one’s blanks, each justifying the need for the other – all contributing to the multifaceted, layered experience users enjoy today.

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About The Author
Samir Kadri is a content writer and co-editor for the Just SEO newsroom. Having run a multitude of social media campaigns over the past few years, he is hugely knowledgeable about how to generate a buzz worldwide, and regularly writes news and advice on the area of social media marketing.

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