Twitter must feel bereft, and be developing an inferiority complex.
Duelling Instagram and Twitter mobile apps.
AllThingsDigital, via an unpublished ComScore report, has unveiled that Facebook's photo-sharing service, Instagram, bested Twitter in August for daily mobile app engagement.
According to the report, Instagram averaged 7.3 million daily active users (DAUs) in the US, and Twitter averaged a mere 6.87 million. In addition, Instragram users spent 44 per cent more time than Twitter users in their respective mobile apps. And Twitter has 25 per cent more smartphone users than Instagram — 29 million versus 22 million, according to ComScore.
It turns out that more people in the US like to spend more time taking, sharing and gazing at pictures than tweeting and reading tweets. But don't worry, Twitter, many of those more than 80 million registered Instagrammers are flowing their pictures into Twitter, and you are going to pep up your own image-sharing service, especially now that you have new restrictions on other photo-sharing services that use your API. And with more than 60 per cent of 140 million active users on mobile devices, and more than 400 million 140-character-or-less word pictures per day around the world, life is good and the revenue is flowing.
eMarketer estimated that Twitter revenue will reach US$259.9 million in 2012, and US$540 million by the end of 2014. Bloomberg reported that Twitter could reach US$1 billion in sales in 2014. On the mobile front — more than 60 per cent of its users are on mobile devices — eMarketer predicted that Twitter will gain about half of its 2012 revenue, US$129.7 million, from US users on mobile devices.
Instagram's August ComScore metrics are good news for Facebook, which has been struggling to come up with mobile greatness, especially from a monetisation standpoint. It collects a lot of data with each photo, but what target ad do you serve with a railroad track photo at 48.7597 degrees north, 122.4869 degrees west? Amtrak tickets to Seattle? Puma ads, because you've been tracked window shopping on Zappos?
It's not that clear how Facebook can turn Instragram into a cash machine on a smartphone. eMarketer predicted that Facebook, with an estimated 57 per cent of its 1 billion users accessing its services on mobile devices, will book US$5 billion in overall revenue, but only US$72 million in US mobile ad revenue — far less that Twitter's US mobile take. However, the mobile ad game is just beginning, and both Facebook and Twitter will be winners. By 2014, more than 75 per cent of users could be on mobile devices, and eMarketer expects Facebook's US mobile revenue to reach US$629.4 million, versus US$444.1 million for Twitter.