A Socialbakers report published today (17 Dec), shows that brands gain nearly 50 times more engagement on Instagram than Twitter. Engagement has been measured as the sum of ‘retweets’, ‘replies’ and ‘favourites’ features, such as those on Twitter. There is no direct conversion between Instagram and Twitter engagement buttons to compare directly.
In the report, Socialbakers measured the 25 “most engaging” brand profiles on both social networks. For the most part, separate brands were tested for the two different platforms. Some of the top 25 on Twitter included Playstation, Nike and Paddypower, while those measured on Instagram included Adidas.
The average post engagement rate for the brands was 3.31% for Instagram and 0.07% for Twitter. Instagram also showed higher average profile interactions with over 19 million interactions on brand profiles, while Twitter showed 502, 102 interactions.
Socialbakers CEO Jan Rezab says the comparison was made between the two platforms following the news of their similar size. This month (Dec 2014) Instagram announced that it now hosts 300 million users, outperforming Twitter who currently has 284 million users.
What does this mean for brands?
Given Instagram’s growth in active user base, brands may see more potential in investing on the platform.
Rezab says: “We’ve found countless instances that prove engagement is tied with more reach. For example, if a user retweets a brand’s tweet it gets seen by more people following that user. Without the user’s retweet, the additional reach wouldn’t have happened. Marketers should put ad spend toward the content that performs well. “
It may seem straightforward, but such a comparison between the two social networks might leave out important factors. Firstly, the platforms do not have the same interface, with Instagram’s ‘like’ button and speech bubble seen as simpler to use and less ambiguous, according to Rezab.
The two platforms also have different objectives and purpose. Twitter’s focus is to surface breaking news worldwide, where Instagram hosts captivating imagery.
Not only are the two social networks not immediately relatable but marketers have also been wary of using social media metrics as a measure for success.
Stuart McLennan, head of paid social media at iProspect UK, says the comparison between the two platforms is unfair.
“We actively discourage brands to use social engagement metrics as a measure of paid media campaign success, and instead focus on real business objectives; sales, revenue, brand effect, purchase intent. We have seen that both Instagram and Twitter can have a hugely positive impact on brand metrics so it is not a case of one or the other, it is about brands finding the right balance of spend across all social platforms, aligned to real business goals,” says McLennan.