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Instagram mobile use beats out Twitter: proof of visual web’s dominance

Instagram users spend more time using the service than Twitter users, reinforcing the prominence of the rising visual web as photos take the place of brief status updates.

twitter and instagram

twitter and instagram

Instagram now beating Twitter

Once upon a time, brevity in status updates was all the rage as social media took off and Twitter piggybacked SMS technologies, limiting updates to 140 characters. Users invented words and acronyms to fit their ideas into a tiny space, and the vernacular online changed. Now, there is a shift toward the universal language of visual imagery. At AG, we have long documented the rise of the visual web as images take the place of the once coveted word format, but new data reveals that even social media giant, Twitter, is vulnerable to the rising preference for the easy to digest photos floating around the web.

Comscore reports that in August, Instagram had 7.3 million daily active users on mobile, while Twitter saw 6.9 million. This marks the first time that photo sharing app, Instagram, has surpassed Twitter, which is notable, as at the end of 2011, Instagram only had 16 million users. Instagram is part of the fuel of the visual web fire, but had they launched four years earlier, it is likely they would not have seen nearly the success as they do now, given that word reigned supreme before social media went mainstream and got into the hands of non-business users across the globe.

Additionally, in July, Semiocast reported that Twitter has over 500 million accounts, making it over five times the size of Instagram, and measuring active users as those who log in every day, Twitter enjoys 29 million daily active users compared to Instagram’s 22 million.

Despite the size difference and active user counts, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on mobile as social media is trending toward less and less desktop use and more mobile use, be it smartphone or tablet devices.

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Why Instagram is the true winner

Take a closer look at the stats above. Did you notice that Twitter has millions of accounts but so few daily active users, while Instagram has managed to grow their daily users? There are two reasons for this. First, when Twitter launched, people considered it the Wild West and goldmined for any and all brand names they owned, and even went out of their way to sit on others’ names, adding a status update monthly to keep the account alive. Instagram, on the other hand, is associated with a single user, and it is unreasonable to open more than one Instagram account.

Instagram is the true winner here because they’ve managed not only to grow, but to keep their users engaged and riding the visual web trend. Comscore reports that Instagram users averaged 257 minutes using the app in August, whereas Twitter mobile users averaged 170 minutes. That’s engagement. Instagram is not only attracting new users, but keeping them using the app.

Written By

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.



  1. LeoKingston

    October 2, 2012 at 10:49 am

    @LeoKingston @twitter Thank you Andrew for the RT. Have a great week.

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