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Twitter vs Facebook: a tale of two networks

Two of the world’s most recognisable social media networks released their Q4 2016 earnings reports this month, and analysts observed a tale of two platforms: Facebook’s revenue and user totals continued to surge over the final three months of the year, while Twitter’s profits fell below observers’ estimates.

With social media attracting an ever-larger share of your digital marketing agency‘s dollars – global social media advertising budgets grew from $16-billion to $31-billion USD between 2014 and 2016 – it’s important to understand what role each of these critical platforms can play in your digital marketing strategy.


Facebook is a social networking and advertising juggernaut, and its earnings report attracted enthusiastic fanfare: 1.84 billion users access the site on a monthly basis, and it generated close to $8.8-billion in revenue, $8.6-billion of which came through advertising. Mobile advertising dollars make up the vast majority of this number.

Facebook’s vast user base makes it an essential advertising platform for businesses of all sizes. In Canada, Facebook had an estimated 19-million users last year – that’s well over half of everyone in the country. Focused targeting and budgeting options mean marketers can serve ads to specific segments of the population and spend as little or as much as they desire.

Let’s also not forget that Facebook also owns Instagram, the booming photo-sharing app that recently surpassed Twitter in terms of online footprint. Instagram has its own advertising platform which aims to increase brand awareness and drive qualified traffic to your website.


In contrast to Facebook’s robust Q4 report, the earnings released by Twitter for the final three months of 2016 were greeted with disappointment. Advertising revenues fell year-over-year, and the company’s four per cent annual growth in monthly users did not meet market expectations.

“The microblogging service has struggled to find a formula that will attract of a new crop of users or advertisers,” Reuters reported, “even as rivals have ridden a wave of rising investment in internet advertising.”

Although Twitter’s paid advertising efforts have stalled, the network saw its number of daily users grow, and still hosts nearly 320-million users overall. For brands, Twitter remains a valid tool for communicating directly with customers and fans, establishing brand identity, and reacting to relevant industry news and updates in real time.

Hire a Toronto digital marketing agency

As a Google Partner All-Star Agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is a digital marketing agency that can help your company assemble a comprehensive strategy incorporating social media platforms, paid search and display advertising, and search engine optimisation.