Instagram Beats Twitter in Mobile, Facebook Benefits

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

All those no filter selfies, Throwback Thursday photos, and filtered dinner posts have led to Instagram beating out Twitter in the battle for hearts, minds, and smartphones, according to a report released on Thursday. Instagram has more mobile users than Twitter (NYSE:TWTR). Both apps are wildly popular and also widely favored by both iPhone and Android users, but Instagram’s little camera mobile icon is on more smartphones than Twitter’s tweeter bird.

A study done by eMarketer on U.S. mobile users shows that approximately 34.6 million people used Instagram on their smartphones in 2013. Approximately 30.8 million users used Twitter on their devices. Further, eMarketer’s paper predicts this trend will continue and that the margin between the two will widen with time.

In total international numbers, Twitter is still ahead of its rival. Overall, Instagram has about 200 million users. That number is double the number since Facebook purchased the photo-sharing platform two years ago. Twitter has approximately 241 million users.

Despite Twitter having the lead in total users, Instagram is more widely used on smartphones by a margin of approximately 4 million users in the United States. Instagram is designed for mobile. Twitter launched eight years ago, first as a computer-based social network, but quickly adapted to mobile. Its mobile traffic is a significant portion of Twitter’s user-produced content. On Instagram, more mobile traffic comes from smartphones, allowing it to gain the edge over Twitter.

Both mobile apps remain in the top of the free app charts for both the App Store and Google Play, but Instagram is in the higher chart position for both download markets this week.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

The research also found that among members of both Generation X and Generation Y (also known as millennials), Instagram is outpacing Twitter as more and more. A gap of only about a million users currently exists between the two. A slight age skew also exists between the two social networks, with Twitter’s users being slightly older than Instagram’s average user.

Instagram’s 200 million users have posted about 20 billion photos, according a story in the Los Angeles Times from the day before the study’s release. On Instagram’s official blog, a post about the 200 million user milestone notes that about 50 million users have joined the social media outlet in the past six months.

The news from the independent research firm had a positive effect on Instagram’s parent company; Facebook’s stock went up about 2 percent on Thursday following news of Instagram’s growth. The stock ended on a slightly higher note, closing at a stock price of $60.97.

Despite the narrowing of the mobile user rivalry between Instagram and Twitter, both social networks are far from the top spot in both total users and mobile users. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) dwarfs both social media platforms with about 1.2 billion users. Facebook’s company info page shows that about 945 million of those users access Facebook’s mobile apps at least once a month.

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