Lies, damned lies and… Oops this account no longer exists
The social media bloggers have been firing statistics at each other since Instagram announced their now aborted TOS. One side says a) Instagram users were heading for the exits like the proverbial rats leaving a sinking ship; and the other says b) Instagram is right as rain, couldn’t be better, thanks. Vested interests aside (and I’m sure there are a lot of them), what is clear is that the arguments aren’t very clear. Some choose to talk about monthly active users (MAUs), some choose daily active users (DAUs). Of course, if you only post a few photos on Instagram (ie an MAU) you’re probably not bothered about the TOS scandal. So pro-Instagram bloggers use MAUs to show that numbers are still good. On the other hand, the people who post every day on Instagram (the DAUs) were also probably more outraged by the new TOS and so these fell more sharply. So this was the stat that the anti-Instagram brigade used.
What’s more, the MAU figure only started to be used by Instagram in December (I wonder why?). Before then, it only ever gave figures for registered users. So no real comparisons over time were possible. On top of this, AppStats, the main source for these stats only measure Instagram posts that are parallel-posted to Facebook. I beg your pardon? Yes, that’s right, it only records a photo being posted on Instagram if that photo is also posted to Facebook. OK, so like these statistics are pretty rubbish. And Instagram’s “press” center is so laughably short on data that it’s not worthy of the name.
Here’s my straw in the wind. I was rather hurt the other day when I found out two of my favourite photographers on Instagram (@dalesmith and @westatom) had stopped following me. My feelings changed, however, when I clicked on their profiles. I realised it wasn’t me they had “unfollowed”, it was Instagram. I checked out the profiles of the other users who had recently unfollowed me. Sure enough, about 50% of those accounts no longer exist (I’m calling them ANLEs for short). And that’s as statistically accurate as I’m prepared to be.
That user no longer exists