Twitter and Instagram parted company in December, when the latter decided to turn off all support for Twitter Cards, which previously allowed Instagram images to show up within Twitter. Now, you have to click on a link to see that same image, which will open (on Instagram) in a separate tab within your browser.
Yep: so awkward.
While this is arguably the premier example of a first world problem, it has had a significant impact on engagement levels within Twitter. Previously, Instagram was driving traffic to Twitter via its photo content. Now, and as a direct result of this relatively subtle change, Twitter is driving traffic to Instagram, which could mean a rethink on the social media strategy for many photo-sharing brands.
This makes sense, of course. When Instagram images showed up within Tweets, Instagram didn’t really gain anything from being on Twitter. Now you have to click the Instagram link to see that same picture, Instagram is suddenly getting an absolute ton of traffic – both from new links, and old.
Bottom line: engagement with brands on Instagram has grown by 35 percent in the past three months. Over the same period, their followers leapt 41 percent. Meanwhile, Instagram photo engagement on Twitter is at its lowest levels since August 2012.
This doesn’t mean brands should stop sharing images on Twitter, but if you want to maximise the engagement levels within your tweets than always use Twitter’s internal photo-sharer to upload your pictures. Do not use Instagram – or any other third-party image-uploader, for that matter.
Check the infographic below for more detail on this very interesting study.