Sep 16, 2016

A Simple Simple Short Shot

It’s 2016, why isn’t Twitter making any money?

After ten years as a dominating social media platform, why haven't they built more advertising into their design?

Twitter has over 300 million active monthly users. There are 500 million tweets posted every day. It’s extraordinarily mobile-friendly. It’s arguably the best place for local, world and sports news. There are even 10 million Twitter users in China - a country where the social network is blocked. But somehow the social network has actually lost $2 billion since going public in 2013, at which point it had already lost $400 million.

Active Twitter Users

Twitter's Net Loss After IPO


Currently Twitter relies on advertising for almost all their revenue:

Twitter's Quarterly Revenue

For a company that relies so heavily on advertising for income, why are they not developing more strategies and opportunities for brands and advertisers? Lara O’Reilly, a senior reporter at  Marketing Week, says “One of the advantages of Twitter for marketers over traditional display advertising is they have worked really hard to make sure that advertising on Twitter is not interruptive.” 

Why Not?

Facebook has jammed advertising into every nook, cranny and crevice of your Facebook feed. There’s suggested pages, suggested posts, sponsored posts, and display advertising; they’ve catered to brands by way of business pages, reviews, location information, and a built-in ads manager. And yet users still flock to Facebook on the regular - as in 1.71 billion active monthly users. 

Twitter User Behaviour

Right now Twitter is offering three different types of promoted content: tweets, accounts and trends which appear just as you would expect them to - a promoted trend stays in the trend box, a promoted tweet shows up in your feed, a promoted account shows up in your ‘who to follow’ section. From an advertiser’s standpoint their interface is awkward and their reporting is very limited, making it challenging to target, focus, and get the results you want or the details the client expects.

On this particular day I have absolutely zero promoted content on my twitter homepage on desktop. For a company who relies on revenue for so much revenue, this is a shock. Checking my phone and I have several promoted tweets in my feed, but no promoted accounts or trends to be found. If non interrupted advertising is their goal then they’re certainly succeeded… but if their goal is to be a profitable company they’re definitely falling short.

Recently in sales talks, Twitter and Google flirted but no papers were signed, it boosted the stock price temporarily but with no actual sale the price is destined to sink lower and the company will remain stagnant, or worse.