Social Media

One way Instagram could crush Twitter in 2 years

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Instagram is about to get a whole lot of "likes" from marketers.

According to a new study by eMarketer, the Facebook-owned photo-social media platform will surpass Twitter in popularity for marketers in 2017.

The study showed 88 percent of U.S. companies will use least one major social networking platform for marketing purposes this year, and Instagram is poised to capture a huge percentage of that within two years. While only 32 percent of U.S. companies with 100 employees or more will use Instagram for marketing this year, that number is expected to jump to 49 percent next year and up to 71 percent in two years. This would edge out Twitter for the first time, as its market penetration for marketing is expected to grow only to 67 percent by 2017.

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"It's more visual and offers marketers more certainty," Debbie Williamson, eMarketer social media analyst told CNBC. "When Instagram is on your screen, it's the only thing there and nothing is competing for your attention."

Instagram offers exclusive engagement for users compared to both Facebook and Twitter, where advertisements share a screen with multiple posts that compete for a user's attention.

Instagram's Facebook ownership is likely helping growth as it offers a one-stop shop, allowing advertisers to buy ads on both platforms in the same campaign, said Williamson. "For marketers who use Facebook, they're now turning more attention to Instagram," Williamson said. "It seems like a natural progression."

While Twitter is expected to grow slightly for marketers in the next two years, it will not nearly keep pace with Instagram. Twitter's penetration is expected to increase by just 1.4 percent in 2017.

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Despite its low growth from new entrants, however, analysts say Twitter is still an essential place for advertisers, including for customer service and real-time brand feedback. "Twitter is having some challenges, but advertisers still see it as an important place," Williamson said. "It's still the only social property that lets you get involved in live events."

Adam Kornblum, vice president of social content and distribution at Ogilvy New York, one of the world's largest marketing companies, said that Instagram, while effective, doesn't have the same offering power as Twitter. "It's real-time and general offerings are effective at converting consumers on a B2B level or B2C if the content is right," he told CNBC in an email. "Twitter can have impact on awareness, direct sales or simply downloads of an app."

Similar to Twitter, Facebook's usage by marketers will rise only slightly by a percentage by 2017, according to eMarketer.

According to Kornblum, the new entrant intriguing marketers and big brands is Snapchat.

"Snapchat is in an earlier stage," said Williamson, who also said eMarketer will likely include the platform in future studies. "But marketers, and I think even Snapchat, are trying to figure out what it wants to be."