Instagram’s continued growth shows it’s surpassing Twitter, and everyone has to react

It’s hard to pinpoint it. The growth of social media platforms is something akin to hair growth: you only know it’s happened when it’s time to get it cut.

There have been signs that it’s been a big year for Instagram, which seems now to have overtaken Twitter in the hierarchy of the social media platforms. When it comes to football, that’s becoming clearer and clearer to see.

Lineup announcement etc have seen a bigger uptake in engagement than Twitter, even though they’re quite time sensitive and Instagram is still having trouble with real-time engagement.

The biggest clubs, like Real Madrid and Barcelona have already seen their Instagram followings surpass their Twitter followings, though most other clubs are yet to follow suit in that regard – most still have Twitter as their second platform and Instagram as the third, but the trend is certainly going in other direction and it wouldn’t be surprising if in a few more years the Instagram accounts of clubs like Manchester City and Arsenal surpass the Twitter numbers.

But that’s all because Instagram is growing as a platform whereas Twitter seems to have stalled somewhat.

Instagram recently published its year in review, taking a look at the biggest-hitting posts, people and even pets on the site. Apart from the fact that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are able to hold their own with the likes of Beyonce and Selena Gomez, what’s also clear that the platform is growing hugely.

In 2017 alone, Cristiano Ronaldo gained over 30m new followers, taking his total above 130m, whilst Messi and Neymar Jr both put on over 20m new followers this year, too. Data from Result Sports shows that the likes Real Madrid and Barcelona only manage around 40m followers on Twitter, whilst Ronaldo himself has just over 64m followers on the platform. That means his growth on Instagram this year alone amounts to almost 50% of his Twitter following: clearly Instagram is very much on the rise.

If nothing else, it shows the potential for a balance of power in terms of social media standing. Sometimes these numbers just seem like vanity, or a pat on the back for no real reward, but it should go deeper than that: if, say, football fans are getting their fix more and more Instagram and less and less from Twitter or even Facebook, that doesn’t just impact clubs and players, but it should also affect the way publishers, brands and businesses look to engage with that audience on social media, too.

The consumption habits of fans matter a great deal to the industry, of course, and while there is a huge difference between keeping up to date with your favourite footballer and content posted by a brand or even a publisher, it’s clear that the continued rise of Instagram will change things in the long term.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 831 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

You might also like

Deliveroo Partners With Gift Of Kit To Give Away Hundreds Of Free Football Kits To Support Womens’ Teams Across The Uk

The food-delivery company has pledged to sponsor over 200 womens’ grassroots clubs across the UK  Community clubs have been severely impacted by COVID-19, losing sponsor revenue and other crucial income

Asia know-how for Football Business Inside

The Asian content and strategy agency Ganassa is from now on a new Knowledge Partner of Football Business Inside.  Already the “kick-off event” of the partnership last week showed the

Udinese pays tribute to Friuli’s immigrants around the world with its away kit

Club stars Gerard Deulofeu and Rodrigo de Paul share their emotions on playing in iconic shirt Sunday’s Serie A match between Udinese and Parma at the Dacia Arena was marked