The New Social Landscape: Comparing Twitter and Facebook

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In the past year, Facebook and Twitter have skewed in wildly different directions. Facebook – the undisputed king of social media – has seen revenue and stock prices steadily climb. Meanwhile, Twitter – once a contender for Facebook’s crown – has seen its stock plummet month after month.

The numbers are telling. On February 12, 2015, Facebook stock was valued at roughly 160% of Twitter stock: $76.20 to $48.00. One year later, Facebook stock (now $101.50) is worth more than 650% of Twitter stock (a dismal $15.60).

In response, the internet has seen a rash of Twitter pre-mortems in the past several months (many far beyond 140 characters). Meanwhile, re-installed CEO and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has been instituting changes meant to revamp the network and its prospects.

Despite its current performance, a vocal group of marketers insist that Twitter still has value as a platform. If your business is active in social media, this leaves you with big questions. “Where and what is Twitter’s value?” “How does this value align with my business?” “How can I harness Twitter for my business?”

Comparing data for the two social networks gives us some sense of where this value comes from. While Facebook’s overall numbers dominate Twitter’s, Twitter’s demographic breakdowns give us a sense of what makes the network distinct.

Now, in terms of overall numbers – and there’s no gentle way to put this – Facebook crushes Twitter. Facebook draws 1.59 billion monthly active users compared to 305 million for Twitter. In user frequency, the disparity is even bigger. Approximately 1.11 billion people count themselves as daily Facebook users, while only 110 million say that they log into Twitter every day.

But Twitter maintains value in the type of user it attracts. Twitter demographics skew:

  • Younger (37% of Twitter users are 18-29 vs. 30% for Facebook users)
  • Wealthier (50% of Twitter users list an income of $75K+ vs. 45% for Facebook users)
  • More educated (38% of Twitter users hold college degrees vs. 33% of Facebook users)
  • More urban (43% of Twitter users live in cities vs. 34% of Facebook users)

And while usage frequencies for the average Twitter user are far lower than Facebook’s, dedicated Twitter users are more likely to engage with media, news, politics, sports, business, and the internet at large. In fact, the 110 million Twitter users who self-identify as daily users are nearly four times as likely than other types of consumers to write blogs, post product reviews, upload videos, and otherwise engage with brands online.

The takeaway? Right now, Twitter can’t compete with Facebook for access to the average consumer. In all likelihood it never will. But when it comes to younger, more media-savvy consumers – particularly online influencers – Twitter remains a major presence.

The key is to treat Twitter as the niche market it is instead of approaching it like the social media titan it has pretended to be for the last several years. If you can understand Twitter’s overall niche and whether or not your business connects with the type of die-hard user that Twitter attracts, then the network can still be an invaluable tool in shaping the online conversation around your brand.

Looking for more sharp insight into social media and local franchise marketing? Give Qiigo a call today at (404) 496-6841 to find out what we can do for your business.

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