Twitter Is Great Again…sort of…!
Excuse the levity of the post title while anxiously awaiting a tweet from President Trump to take credit for Twitter’s remarkable growth in active users. The stock jumped 10% on the news!
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In all seriousness, Twitter released their quarterly earnings report on Wednesday along with other interesting statistics.
In Q1 of 2017, Twitter added 9 million monthly active users, shattering most expectations.
With over 328 million active monthly users, Twitter is still lagging well behind Facebook and Instagram, but it is showing new resiliency.
In the U.S. alone, the company added 3 million users in Q1 alone. This increase is about as much as Twitter added all of 2016!
The social media icon credits its growth in users to adjustments it made to its news feed and notifications. Year over year, the number of global users daily checking Twitter grew 14%.
Twitter CFO Anthony Noto suggested the political chatter of 2016 may have had a positive impact on user engagement. “There is some evidence that we benefited from our new and resurrected users following news and political accounts in Q1, particularly in the U.S.,” he said.
FINANCIALS ARE STILL LAGGING USER GROWTH
While user acquisition was great news; the company is still struggling to monetize the social media platform.
Since going public in 2013, Q1 2017 marked the first year over year decline in revenue. In Q1 2017 sales fell to $548 million from last year’s $595 million.
In a statement to shareholders, the company acknowledged it is expecting revenue growth to continue to lag audience growth in 2017.
Twitter has been working hard to fight abuse and over saturation on its platform. Users have been complaining about too many irrelevant tweets and content.
Jack Dorsey, co-founder, and Twitter CEO said the company had seen a significant decrease in abuse and he further stated Twitter has lots more to do but is on the right path.
VIDEO BROADCASTING THE KEY TO REVENUE GROWTH?
The company also plans to work on more 24/7 video content despite the fact it lost the flagship Thursday Night NFL Football to Amazon.
According to a BuzzFeed News article, Twitter COO and CFO Anthony Noto said the company was working on a “Twitter TV” always on live feed with news, sports, and entertainment.
This type of broadcast would allow for additional revenue streams to become available to the company. Just a few weeks ago we mentioned that Twitter is adding a pre-roll advertising feature to Periscope video.
IS TWITTER GOOD FOR ECOMMERCE?
As our headline nuances, Twitter is not entirely great again. There are lots of questions about the sudden user growth and if it will stick.
Is it a one-time bump due to a polarized political world? Are the engagements meaningful to eCommerce? All good questions for which there are not real answers right now.
Twitter is also trying to redefine itself by increasing video content. Is there an opportunity for online retailers? Again, more questions right now than answers.
Boosting tweets seems to be a very expensive way to advertise for a typical short attention span Twitter user. Some people estimate the life of a tweet is only 5 minutes!
Therefore, boosting tweets has become not that attractive to many online retailers. This lack of interest would suggest the reason for the decline in revenue by the company.
However, online retailers should continue to use Twitter to promote products and services.
The company is worth watching as it reinvents itself with new services. There could be some good opportunities with video in the future.
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Richard is co-founder of eSeller365. He has over 17 years of experience on eBay which includes tens of thousands of sales to buyers in over 100 countries and even has experience with eBay’s VeRO program enforcing intellectual property rights for a former employer. And for about two years Richard sold products on Amazon using Amazon FBA in the US.
To “relax” from the daily business grind, for a few weekends a year, he also works for IMSA as a professional race official.