Twitter is a social network under pressure. The company has struggled with stagnant user growth and a number of high profile senior and product manager changes at the top of the business do not appear to have helped so much. One of Twitter's better internal stories has been how successful the advertising revenue has been, but the results for the first quarter of 2016 showed that things had deteriorated. The social network missed its first quarter numbers because of weaker spending from advertising partners. Twitter lowered its expectations going forwards and the stockmarket has punished the price, which has fallen some 15% since the first quarter announcement was made in April. If businesses are still advertising online, where is their money going? We have seen both factual and anecdotal reports that other social networks, chiefly Snapchat, are gaining from Twitter's loss. Today, a Comcast business division, Strata, has released an advertising survey that provides some clues as to where the hot advertising money could be going: Instagram.
Strata surveyed 83 advertising agencies to determine the social network that their clients preferred for online advertising campaigns. 63% of respondents said that they were most likely to use Facebook's Instagram network and 56% said they would prefer Twitter. Facebook was the dominant platform: 96% of advertisers said they were likely to use it. That Instagram has and continues to gain traction highlights the investment that Facebook has poured into the business: Instagram currently has 200,000 advertisers compared with the 130,000 or so that Twitter has. Instagram also boasts more users at over 400 million compared with 310 million on Twitter. Instagram has also recently improved the technologies available to businesses to help them promote their posts. Chris Gilbert, a senior social strategist at Kettle, said this on the subject: "We're seeing almost all of our clients shifting if not all of their budgets, then most of their budgets from Twitter to Instagram. Marketers typically want to be where the audience is." Kettle mostly deals with the fashion industry.
In response, Twitter denied the validity of the Strata survey: "The data presented in this survey couldn't be farther from the truth. We have close relationships with our agency clients and continue to hear that Twitter offers the most powerful creative canvas." This may amount to the struggling social network putting a brave face on what is disappointing news. Twitter highlighted a 2015 study by Advertiser Perceptions that showed 37% of advertisers planned to buy advertising space on Twitter, compared with 28% for Instagram. This survey is, of course, at least six months out of date. For their part, Instagram have remained quiet on the results of the survey. Presumably because they are busy working on advertising revenue.