Twitter vs. Instagram – who wins?

picture of a street sign saying Twitter lane

The reactions to Twitter’s last quarterly results were mixed. The mobile use and ad revenue increased and met the expectations of analysts and investors. When looking at increase in number of users, the picture looks quite different from what many expected. Twitter currently has 241m active users. Some experts and analysts compared the numbers by looking at Twitter vs Instagram and tried to define a winner. But does that really make sense?

Twitter vs Instagram – comparing apples and pears

Instagram has more active users than Twitter, but Twitter has more content than a. What does that tell us? Looking at the pure number of users, Instagram has overtaken Twitter. But comparing the two purely based on user numbers does not make a lot of sense, as the use of the two is very different. You can compare them quite differently: 500m tweets are published every day whereas “only” 70m pictures are posted on Instagram. Does that mean that Instagram users are less active? Not necessarily. They are just very different and therefore difficult to compare.
The differences start by how we use Twitter vs Instagram differently. With Instagram, we just scroll through our feed and check out new pictures. With Twitter, it all seems to pass by much more quickly. Twitter is nurtured by topics and real-time information and (not yet?) a timeline. Users are looking for hashtags, they follow and/or participate in discussions.

Another difference is that Twitter consists of different formats of content: text, links, pictures or videos. Lots of options for publication. Instagram, on the other hand offers also the opportunity to post videos, but the majority of users really only post pictures. Given the different forms of content, we see a very different presentation of contents.

Two very different animals

The gap between active users on Twitter vs Instagram will continue to grow. But that does not mean that Instagram will replace Twitter. The relevance of Twitter is not expected to change or diminish. They are just two very different social media platforms that are used in different ways and for different reasons, maybe even by different people. If you look at Twitter vs. Instagram, there is no winner. As they do not fight in the same category.

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