Earlier this week it was announced that Instagram now has more active users than Twitter, with 300 million compared to 271 million. This now means Instagram, both in a personal and business sense, must be taken even more seriously within the social media space. We assume that the two big social networks are Facebook and Twitter, and I think quite rightly, as they've been around longer than Instagram and have established themselves in the market. However, now I feel there's a shift from these two to the 'Big Three'; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Of course, we need to note that this is 'active' users, not total users. But for me, determining a social networks users through how many people actively use it is a million times better at indicating whether it's more popular or not. I would call this the Google+ syndrome. Famously Google+ boasts million of users, but those users don't actually use the site, they just have a Gmail account.
These new stats are something that brands need to be aware of and take advantage of. I've already written about how brands can successful use Instagram, but it has never been more essential to set up an account and start using it in the business sense. Gone are the days that a brand can just set up a Facebook and Twitter account and then leave it or update it when they feel like it. Now brands have to keep up with these trends, and if these latest stats don't wake up people to the potential of Instagram I don't know what will. Instagram is such an effective and visually powerful tool to promote, create awareness and general buzz around your brand. I previously wrote that Instagram needs to change a few things to be a better social network but with the announcement this week came a few changes that should see more people and brands using Instagram.
One of these is verified accounts which is something I've been surprised they've not done sooner. It can be hard to determine the fake celebrity or brand accounts from the real ones sometimes, so this badge should add authenticity and enhance the users experience. Also there's going to be a crack down on fake or SPAM accounts which has become one of the most annoying aspects of the social network! We've all seen it. An account that has posted one photo but seems to have 10 million followers and follows about 50 million people...
Instagram's popularity is also supported by the fact that a report back in April from Forrester suggested that it's content gets 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook. This might be due to Instagram photos 'owning' the screen more on a phone than Facebook. For example, when you look at Instagram on a phone you can only see one photo but on Facebook you can fit 2-3 posts on that screen. So the focus on the screen is higher on Instagram than Facebook, meaning it's likely to get more engagement.
Furthermore, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams has said that he 'doesn't give a shit' that Instagram has more followers that look at pretty pics than use Twitter. Maybe these comments have got Twitter running scared that more people want to see pics of funny cats rather than a status update of funny cats! I don't think people will use Instagram in favour of Twitter as the two are quite different, but it gives an indication of the ever changing nature of the social media landscape, and active user numbers speak for a lot.
It'll be interesting to see how these numbers change over the coming months!