2014 was supposed to be Twitter’s year.
They reorganized their mobile app display so they could compete with Facebook. They had set up partnerships with FIFA to help promote the World Cup. And they reached 250 million active users (MAU) in the first quarter of 2014’s fiscal year. Twitter was in a position to cement itself as the number two social network.
However, it didn’t work out that way.
Twitter’s partnership with the World Cup helped build engagement for a few months, but that engagement number didn’t carry over after the tournament was over.Yes, they reached 284 MAU, but that is still not even a quarter of Facebook’s total users.
Last week, Twitter received more bad news when Instagram (owned by Facebook) hit 300 MAU. Then, SocialBakers did a study that compared the engagement of the top 25 most engaging profiles on Twitter and Instagram. The numbers were not kind. Instagram’s average engagement was 3.31% to Twitter’s .07%.
But what does this all mean to you?
Well, first of all, don’t give up on Twitter. These reports will not bury the company or the product. Twitter is an active source for information, promotions and entertainment. It still is one of the best and easiest ways for you to follow online trends, share messages and read news.
They are still trying to improve their product. Twitter execs realize using hashtags (#) and at symbols (@) as the language of their product can be confusing. Users don’t “get” how to interact with the community right away. In contrast, to use Instagram, users only needs to do one thing, take a picture.
However, Twitter has an audience that is more evenly spread out among consumers. Men and women of all ages use Twitter as an aggregate for receiving information. Instagram’s audience tends to be mostly millennials.
On the flip side, if you don’t use Instagram, these recently released numbers will hopefully urge you to try it out. But, not just because it eclipsed Twitter. Instagram is actively working on deleting fake accounts and making it easier for users to search for topics and trends. Earlier this year, it even added a video option to the app that allows users to share videos and photos, giving businesses another way to share engaging content.
Instagram’s audience also tends to be younger than Twitter’s audience. Although millennials may not make up a large consumer group now, they are just starting to graduate college and enter the workforce. This generation will be plugged in and engaged with content across every platform. Your content needs to be there to greet them.
Instagram reaching 300 MAU is a speedbump for Twitter, not a brick wall. Companies that develop innovation need moments like this to push themselves to build a better platform. For business owners, don’t panic, just pivot. Your content strategy for each social network needs to be different to help your brand leverage a specific audience.
As the year winds down, it doesn’t matter which social media company won 2014. Focus on how your business can grow in 2015 and beyond.
Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.