hashtag tracking

Hashtag Tracking Fight Over London Bridge

We launched our Instagram hashtag tracking tool over a month ago and have been enjoying the inspirational photographs on it since.

We wanted to find out how Instagram compared to Twitter, as far as reach, engagement, and content. After tracking the hashtag “#LondonBridge” on both platforms for a while, here’s what we’ve learned.

  1. Twitter still has higher reach than Instagram, on average.

Of the messages collected, there are 1,306 tweets and 2,435 Instagram posts mentioning #londonbridge. However, Twitter spots a whopping 3 million potential impressions with just 1,300 tweets while Instagram gets only 834k impressions with almost twice the messages. This means that on average a tweet has 8 times more impressions than an Instagram post in our sample. We find this trend to be generally true for most hashtags that we monitor – that Twitter’s reach is still better than Instagram’s thanks to its higher average number of followers per author.

What does this mean to you: You are more likely to be heard on Twitter than on Instagram at the moment. So it probably makes sense to make Twitter your priority if you’re just getting started.

  1. Instagram wins on quality engagement.

While Twitter won the first round on reachability, Instagram steals the trophy back when it comes to engagement. Not only engagements (replies, likes/favorites) are higher on average, Instagram also scores much more replies (almost 10x). We find Instagram to be less spammy in general and that could explain the higher engagement.

What does that mean to you: Choose Instagram over Twitter if you can afford to – a.k.a. you have both inspiring content and the time to engage with your users.


  1. News on Twitter; Inspirations on Instagram.


This shouldn’t surprise anyone: Twitter is still the best medium for news. During our sampling period, a trespass incident happened at the London bridge station and caused delays on Southeastern’s rail services. The #LondonBridge hashtag was flooded with tweets about the incident on Twitter while Instagram went quieter than usual. This is a great example of Twitter being the news channel and Instagram being an inspirational one – perhaps the delay prevented tourists to reach the London bridge to snap those breathtaking pictures!

What does this mean to you: If your campaign is time-sensitive or newsworthy, be sure to leverage Twitter. On the other hand, get on Instagram if you’re doing something inspirational.

So which platform will you use for your next campaign? Let us know of your reasons in the comments section below.


Image: George Rex.