A new study, published by Adrianus Wagemakers of JFNE Consulting, suggests that celebrities are moving more and more toward Instagram, taking everyday users with them. This comes at a time when Twitter’s user growth is flagging and investors are getting spooked.
Wagemakers previously argued that Instagram was receiving a lot of traffic from Twitter as content wasn’t differentiated enough.
The research looks at 137 celebrity accounts — all with over one million followers — including Kylie Jenner, Drake, Barack Obama, and Emma Watson, among others.
The main findings of Wagemakers’ study (which is available via request) are these:
- Celebrity accounts on Twitter are growing — i.e. adding new followers — at a slower rate than Instagram.
- Post frequency is higher on Twitter (around 3.1 per day) but celebrity Instagram users are starting to post more photos.
- Celebrities tends to cross-post content to both Twitter and Instagram, but it appears on Instagram first. This degrades the value of the content.
- Instagram can continue its current growth trend (around 10 million new users per month) for the next few quarters. Twitter, as it stands, cannot (and has not).
Celebrities will likely continue to use Twitter for self-promotion but the volume of original posts will likely decline, according to Wagemakers. Kylie Jenner, for example, regularly posts Instagram photos that do not appear on her Twitter. (Jenner has more than 40 million followers on Instagram and 12 million on Twitter.)
The research comes as yet another blow to Twitter. The company has around 65 million US users and the figure is flat. In order to grow this number, Twitter would do well to court celebrities who drive engagement with users but it doesn’t look like this is happening.
Beyond active users, Twitter also has the problem of being an ad-supported social network vying for the attention of brands and advertisers. “Increasing duplication of content on Twitter and Instagram, if mostly originated on Instagram, could mean that Instagram is becoming more important for expression of media,” Wagemakers writes. “This may have an impact on both the active users of the platforms and on the ability to monetise content.”
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