Instagram vs. Twitter: Which Network is Set for Long-Term Monetization?

Instagram may have surpassed Twitter with 300 million users, but Twitter has established a sustainable stream of mobile advertising revenue.


This week, Instagram announced its latest user numbers, which means the visual social network has surpassed Twitter. But which of the two is more likely to continue growing and generating revenue in the years to come?

In his post announcing Instagram’s achievement of more than 300 million users, CEO Kevin Systrom, also announced that verified accounts are on the way, as part of an effort to eliminate fake accounts and increase trust in Instagram. He writes:

We’re committed to doing everything possible to keep Instagram free from the fake and spammy accounts that plague much of the web, and that’s why we’re finishing up some important work that began earlier this year. We’ve been deactivating spammy accounts from Instagram on an ongoing basis to improve your experience. As part of this effort, we will be deleting these accounts forever, so they will no longer be included in follower counts.

But where does that leave Twitter? As per the official stats page, Twitter has 284 million monthly active users, so it’s lagging behind when compared to Instagram’s growth. However, Twitter is increasing its revenue, even if shares are down because investors worry about its growth.

An important thing to note is that Twitter makes 85 percent of its revenue from mobile advertising, according to TechCrunch staff writer Alex Wilhelm. “Twitter has done an excellent job at monetizing its user base.”

Combine the uptick in revenue with possible increases in future revenue streams, and Twitter seems to be doing alright. Instagram may have a lot of prestige and the possibility of big ad campaigns, but we have yet to see any real revenue figures.

As of now, Instagram isn’t showing a great deal of revenue generation, but there are some very hopeful projections that the service may be a substantial money maker. If Instagram is able to turn a profit and add users to its sizable contingent while Twitter continues to struggle, then it’s clear that Instagram has the true edge on Twitter.

Publish date: December 12, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT