Thursday, June 30, 2011

Facebook Versus Twitter: May the Better Man Win

Digital Surgeons have put together an infographic comparing the population of Facebook and twitter. From these statistics ans much more available online, and the general understanding of Social Media Marketing, it is possible to determine what are the merits and demerits of each of them as a Social Media Marketing tool. In this post, we'll take 5 interesting Facts about these websites and analyse how they affect them as a Marketing tool.

Fact no 1: Awareness

88 percent of people are aware of Facebook, while 87 percent are aware of Twitter.

Even though the numbers speak otherwise, this data actually goes in favour of Twitter. We must remember that Twitter was founded (almost exactly) 2 years after Facebook. So, facebook has had a good 24 month advantage to spread awareness. Moreover, when you read Fact no 2 you'll understand the true impact of this figure. Twitter has a meagre 28.6% of the number of users Facebook has. But it has reached almost 98.9% percent of the number of people Facebook has reached in terms of spreading awareness, that too in just 5 years. Since the growth of Social Networking is undeniable, it is safe to assume that once awareness is spread, people will soon sign up for the services. After all, it is free and entertaining. With that theory, it is safe to assume that Twitter will have a steeper growth curve in the years to come, which makes it a promising marketing tool.

Fact no 2: Users

Facebook has touched 700 million users whereas Twitter has close to 200 million users

With this piece of information, it is imperative we put the past away. No point cutting slack for Twitter saying it is, after all,2 years younger to Facebook. In fact, 2 years ago, when Facebook was 5 years old, it had just over 200 million users not unlike where Twitter is right now. But at the end of the day, we can only look at markets. In 2011, with the current Internet users' market, Facebook provides a better reach than Twitter does. To equal or overtake Facebook, Twitter has a long battle to fight ahead. So in terms of cold hard numbers, Facebook is a more rewarding marketing tool.

Fact number 3: The Prying Public Eye

This is the “End of the Beginning of Facebook”. - The Melodramatic Media

It is true that the rate of growth for Facebook has reduced. But that doesn't change the fact that it is still growing. Facebook, according to,, has a penetration of almost 33.4%. What that essentially translates to is that one out of every three Internet users, use Facebook. We should keep in mind that the pool of prospective Facebook users is Finite. It is the number of people who use the Internet. Therefore, as more and more people become members of Facebook, it is only natural that the graph will become less steep. But then, Facebook has been the coolest and hottest thing in the World Wide Web for almost 5 years now. So, obviously even a little decline in growth will be met with a lot of speculation about the possible end of the Facebook era by our Melodramatic Media. Even if they might not be completely right in predicting Facebook's downfall, those words will spread like wildfire. This negative murmur about Facebook might itself cripple Facebook from continuing to spread its wings of reach. But whatever might be the reason, the current negative publicity around Facebook makes it a Precarious Marketing tool.

Fact no 4: User Engagement

More than 50% of Facebook users sign in everyday whereas not even 30% of Twitter users do so.

This is another crucial point which is imperative in judging which is a better tool for Social Media Marketing. Facebook continues to have a very high user engagement rate. One out of every 2 Facebook users login everyday. That is an impressive number. Twitter's achievement of convincing 2 out of every 7 users to login everyday pales in comparison. A whooping 21% of the Twitter users have never tweeted and almost 85% of the users have less than one average tweet per day. These statistics are appalling. But why is this essential in determining a web site's efficiency as a marketing tool? Social Networking is more of a fad than anything else. Internet users all around the world sign up for these sites just because of all the buzz around it. So it is imperative to distinguish those users who view these sites for their utility because they are the only recipients of whatever Marketing move that we launch on these sites. Therefore, when we Market on Facebook, we have a chance of reaching almost every other user on a given day. This assurance makes Facebook a more Foolproof Marketing Tool.

Fact no 5: Ease of Use

The usefulness of Twitter is not readily as obvious to some people as Facebook” -Steve Thornton,

Anyone who has used both Facebook and Twitter would know exactly what I am talking about. This Fact is more of a reason to Fact no 4 than a stand alone fact by itself. Facebook has a more user-friendly interface. This is like the comparison between Windows and Linux. You can never reach a conclusion. Facebook appeals to the user because it communicates with the individual. The user knows the exact What, Why and Hows of his actions. But Twitter is a slightly more bizarre atmosphere. Like Linux it has its own faithful followers and is probably much more potent when fully understood. But understanding it is no menial task. It doesn't appeal to the eye. The lack of layers or ability to filter content appear superficially as drawbacks. Social Networking started as a way to Stay Connected to friends in the online community. This job, Facebook does better. Twitter has however graduated to a Breaking News Forum. This is probably why Twitter has a more narrow demographic. This makes Facebook a more Appealing Marketing Tool.

Now, let us forget the average user. We will talk about how these sites compare when It is valued on a Marketing person's ease of access. This is where Twitter's simplicity scores it points. Twitter stream is easier to monitor, Tweets are easier to distribute to a larger audience, Publicity is more effective and simple on Twitter. But there is also that little voice in our head which tells us “So what if you like it better? If everyone else doesn't, then what is the point?”. To which we respond with confused silence. But for a Marketing Person Twitter is the Easier Marketing Tool.

We could go on continuing to analyse each and every fact that is available regarding Facebook and Twitter (Which believe me is a lot). But arriving at a final answer is next to impossible. There is no way to gauge their uses in a Generic Context. Our focus should be on choosing the best medium within the purview of our company and our business. Depending on where you are, who you want to reach and what you want to tell them, a choice should be made. But more often than not, there is no necessity to make a choice. Brand presence in both of these sites is obviously more profitable than just one. Even though a considerate amount of the User Base would be overlapping, that is the most foolproof way. Whether we chose Facebook, Twitter or Both, in the end, Social Media Marketing comes out as the winner.

1 comment:

Daniel Rooney said...

I prefer Facebook over twitter. I find twitter boring.
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