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[Study] Does Facebook Beat Twitter at Twitter?

Ranjani Raghupathi

We’ve always told you how brands perform on social media; since it was social media day yesterday (according to Mashable anyway), we thought we’d turn the tides and see how social media performs on social media. Confused? Don’t be.

We took a look at the social media performance of social networks across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest to understand whether they truly walk the walk when it comes to engaging their respective communities.


With over 1 billion users (which is one seventh of the world’s population) Facebook has become the number one online hangout for people of all age groups – much to the chagrin of teens and millenials everywhere. Aside from being the number one way for Mom’s to know what their kids are up to, Facebook has emerged as a favorite tool for marketing and brand communications and has virtually replaced the corporate website as brands send people to their Facebook page instead.

As we already know, Facebook is THE king of all social media and there is no way anyone can beat the master in his own game. The page has 93 million people liking it. YouTube follows with over 75 million fans.

Total Fans on Facebook

At a rate of 17.5%, Instagram has grown the most in the time period analyzed, followed by LinkedIn which grew by 6.5%.

Fan Growth on Facebook

To understand how the social networks are performing overall on Facebook, we can use the Unmetric Score. This takes in to account various qualitative and quantitative metrics and blends them together to create a single benchmarkable score. In essence, it is a snap shot of how well a brand is performing.

Facebook Unmetric Score


Twitter can pretty much be described as being a living, breathing world pulse. Though people have taken their time to get comfortable with the seven year old social medium, they can’t seem to stop tweeting once they start. As of 2013, Twitter has 200 million registered users.

Our study turned up an interesting result: other social networks appear to be doing better on Twitter than Twitter. YouTube towers over the other social networks with over 29 million followers while Twitter itself only has 20 million people following it. Even in terms of growth, Facebook, which grew at a rate of 7.7%, was 3% ahead of Twitter.

Number of Followers on Twitter

Growth Rate on Twitter

Linkedin sends out the most tweets among among all other social mediums and their tweets are mostly proactive too. One can argue that a good Twitter strategy isn’t always about an overdose of tweets, but everyone agrees that regular tweets are essential for a healthy Twitter presence.

Number of Tweets on Twitter

We keep saying social media is the perfect tool for two way conversations and it’s all about talking to your fans and followers. Many brands have found that social media, especially Twitter, is the most effective platform for CRM and customer care and service. But these social media brands themselves don’t seem to have used their features too well and no social network, excluding YouTube and Pinterest, even reply to fans. The Average Reply Time (ART) is alarmingly high. Then again, there probably isn’t much customer service required for these brands and addressing the concerns of such a huge community is a task in itself. But you know, it’s good to talk.

When it comes to overall performance, the Unmetric Score places YouTube, Instagram and Facebook ahead of Twitter.

Unmetric Score on Twitter


The go to place for the cool, weird and random videos of the web. YouTube is the most widely used video based social medium and is said to be the second most popular search engine today. The various social networks have their own YouTube channel and use it to post brand videos, user guides etc. Instagram is the only one among these networks that doesn’t have a YouTube channel – although that might change now with the introduction of Instagram Videos.

YouTube is another social network which has proved that it is a master of its own game. The YouTube Spotlight channel has culminated in over 235 million views while the other brands couldn’t even reach the 20 million level. The channel runs on a standard fare of humor with videos created exclusively for the channel, which the viewers obviously seemed to love.

Number of Views on YouTube

Even in terms of subscribers, YouTube is the undisputed winner. It has over 7 million subscribers; the next highest is Facebook with only a hundred thousand subscribers. Though the average length of Facebook’s videos are only a little over 2 minutes and YouTube’s videos are averagely 8 minutes long and have still brought in more views and subscribers. With attention spans going down each day, YouTube needs appreciation for this feat.

Number of YouTube Subscribers

The Unmetric Score lays bare the gulf between YouTube and the other social networks. It’s riding high thanks to its mix of funny videos and videos that capture the spirit of the moment. Twitter and Facebook are doing well, but as is the case with its presence on other social networks, LinkedIn could be doing more with its channel.

YouTube Unmetric Scores

Finally, we went to Pinterest but found that with the exception of YouTube (and Pinterest of course!), none of the other social networks had created an account here yet.

It’s interesting to see that Facebook is beating Twitter at Twitter, but it won’t be long before Instagram takes the crown. The image based social network has consistently been the fastest growing brand on Twitter for the last few months. I would love to know the reasoning behind Twitter’s decision to not focus on their official account.

YouTube has a good showing on all the social networks, helped by the fact that people are uploading great videos for the world to see.

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Unmetric compiled the report by sourcing data from its own social media benchmarking platform. The engagement score is calculated based on the number of likes, comments, shares and estimated impressions that each post receives. Data and Insights on the activities of these social networking brands on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were analyzed for the period of June 1st-25th, 2013.