Facebook Inc is still the king of the social networks. That’s what a new study from the Pew Research Center asserts. The study also found that Facebook is no longer growing. Twitter Inc is in a similar state, but it doesn’t look anywhere near as healthy. In terms of engagement, the micro-blogging site comes in third behind both Facebook and Facebook’s app Instagram.
The research showed that about 72 percent of adults in the US use Facebook. Only those over 65 weren’t broadly represent in the social network’s user list. Twitter, on the other hand, boasts a user base of 23 percent of the US population. Neither firm has managed to grow over last year.
Losing engagement at Twitter
Slowing growth had to happen at Facebook at some point. Each person can only use the site once. At 72 percent of the population of US adults, Facebook will find it very hard to grow. Twitter faces wholly different problems.
These issues can be seen clearly when you take a look at the engagement figures for the social networks. 70 percent of Facebook users used the site every day. Just 38 percent of users logged onto Twitter once per day.
That’s a massive gulf in usage. Even Instagram is ahead of Twitter with 59 percent of its users logging on daily. The photo-based social network can also boast of more total users than Jack Dorsey’s site.
Twitter isn’t growing, and users don’t love it in the same way they love Instagram or Facebook. There’s another section of the social world that this report left out, one that could result in an even grimmer picture of the landscape for Twitter.
Facebook remains in charge
The Pew Research study didn’t break down the results from chat applications down, but it’s clear that the larger social networks are losing out as those apps grow quickly. SnapChat, WhatsApp and Messenger are the three big players in the chat app market. Only two of them are owned by Facebook right now.
The way Facebook has its social network business set up means that even if it were to lose users on its core site, it would gain them elsewhere. The problem, for those holding shares, is that Facebook doesn’t make any money on chat apps or on Instagram. If users were to depart the core network, Facebook sales could collapse, even if total user numbers did not.
Twitter has another problem. The firm doesn’t have chat apps or Instagram or a growing core. It has poor engagement growth compared to the other major players, and it’s looking like a weaker and weaker firm each day that passes with no chosen leader.
MKM Partners analyst Rob Sanderson reckons that Facebook is in a strong position and Twitter a weak one, and the Pew Research data backs that up. Mr. Sanderson says that “there is still room” for the core network to grow across the globe.
Twitter, on the other hand, may lose out to a “more vibrant” alternative. Both Mr. Sanderson’s report, and the Pew Research, make it clear that Instagram, rather than Facebook Live, is set to be the real challenge.