Battle of The Apps: Instagram, Twitter & Tik Tok

By: Patricia Godina, Kabi Moulitharan & Afifa Umair

User scrolls through Twitter feed.
User scrolls through Twitter feed. // Photo Credit: Afifa Umair

The exploration of Instagram vs. Tik Tok stats and facts in various Ontario regions.

Photo Credit: Afifa Umair
User scrolls through social media feeds.

Data from Google Trends suggests between the three applications, Instagram is the most searched application between January and October 2020.

By November, Twitter takes over with a steep hike before shooting downwards, and again spikes up by January 2021. TikTok trails dead last all year long. 

Twitter sees spikes in searches during world events

The spike in March could reflect Ontario's response to tackle COVID-19. This was the month Ontarians began to hear several announcements: extended march break for Ontario schools, several sports leagues suspending their seasons, and the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic. 

Twitter is known for its immediacy by informing followers with up to the minute updates. This theory can also apply to the spikes within the last three months. The same week leading up to the U.S. election, Twitter saw a huge spike in popularity in Google searches. And, Twitter searches spikes again during the same week on the attack of U.S. Capitol. 

Ryerson study on user's social media habits reflects Google Trends 

An April 2020 survey by Ryerson University tracked monthly active users through several social media apps. Between the three applications, there were significantly higher Instagram users than Twitter and TikTok. 

As fewer folks have Twitter accounts compared to Instagram, this could contribute to increased searches for Twitter on Google during world events such as COVID-19, and the U.S. election. 

The Ryerson study also shows that Facebook is the top used social media application. If data from Facebook was included within Google Trends this past year, there could be a possibility for Facebook to score higher Google searches compared to Instagram and Twitter.

Why is TikTok trailing last? 

TikTok being a fairly new application could be the reason its trailing last in Google searches. The app was only published in 2016 whereas Twitter was launched in 2006 and Instagram launched in 2010.

Yet TikTok is still prominent because of its rising popularity amongst Gen Z and millennials. The Ryerson study shows that almost half of people aged 18-24 are on TikTok. Age groups 25 and higher score significantly less. Similar to Twitter and Instagram's growth, TikTok may see a huge growth in popularity in the coming years.


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