Instagram surges past Twitter in mobile user race

Facebook's photo sharing service grows 8.5-fold over last six months, eclipsing Twitter's 24% growth

Instagram has seen a huge spike in popularity among mobile device users over the past six months, pushing it past Twitter for the first time.

Instagram, which is just two years old, went from 886,000 daily mobile users in March to 4,589,000 in June and 7,302,000 in August, a nearly 8.5-fold increase, according to comScore, an online tracking and analytics firm.

Twitter had 6,868,000 daily active mobile users in August, up 24% over the same six month period. comScore said.

While comScore didn't include the number of daily mobile Facebook users, a spokesman said the social network has far more mobile users than Instagram and Twitter.

"I'd say Instagram has really benefitted by being bought by Facebook," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research.

"People love to share photos but Facebook raised Instagram's profile. Social media junkies might have known about them but the general public's awareness of Instagram was low pre-Facebook," he added.

Facebook agreed to buy Instagram in April and the deal closed early last month, shortly after gaining U.S. Federal Trade Commission approval.

Instagram's surge in mobile growth over the past six months doesn't mean that Twitter is struggling, Kerravala said. It means simply that right now, users are more interested in photos than text.

"Well, they're focused on photos and the visual element, which is very popular these days," he added. "I think Instagram is easier to use for most people. It's visually centric."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about social media in Computerworld's Social Media Topic Center.

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