Everyone likes a good prediction ! A while back, I have written a blog piece about levelling the playing field, in which I have suggested Twitter would either up their game or get ready to be conquered by Microsoft or Google; so I guess they have upped their game ! but for how long !
Twitter New Game
According to statista.com; Twitter has increased their MAU (Monthly Active Users) by 14% this Q1-2017 in comparison to Q1-2016. The burst of activities according to Twitter; is a surge of interest in the Live video streaming feature. Where many users are leveraging this to run Live events on Twitter.
The use of videos is not new and, since YouTube, many channels adapted more and more of the advanced functionalities that YouTube just had as a core. The Live streaming has naturally evolved as storage and cloud services became more available and affordable. The question is, will the number of users continue to increase or are we looking for the next feature that would drive more to re-engage ?!!
Usage is not Revenue
What keeps Twitter and all other social media channels or any business is naturally the monetary value it brings to stake holders. In Twitter’s case, the increase of users was unfortunately met with a decline in ads revenues. As paid social media ads are becoming the norm across all channels and having a stagnant effect on users. I speak from personal experience as one of those MAUs. I skip over ads and sometimes change my settings many times throughout the month to avoid getting certain promoted Tweets.
Business vs Individual usage
The thing that is for sure working for Twitter is how applicable it is for businesses and individuals alike. For businesses, especially well established ones, they will continue to leverage the channel to either monitor for market trends or to engage with customers who do see this channel as a fast & efficient way to get brands to listen. For individuals, I can see a shift away in favour of new emerging channels like SnapChat and Instagram. The shift does not necessarily mean abandonment, although I hear there is a movement calling all to leave social media. The shift would limit the daily usage of those individuals and keep the channel to tap into breaking news or to engage with brands for inquiries or complaints on products & services. I bring in here an example from my work as a social media manager and my personal usage of Twitter. I post twice a week on behalf of my company. For the past two years, we have been rather regular at listening and engaging with those reaching out to us. In our case, we are yet to invest in the channel to promote our Tweets or to get more followers. Against the advise of many, if I may add! The reason is, we, or my company believes, that prospects are not on Twitter. Which is a valid reason especially that marketing budgets are generally tight. As a business, listening is getting us the insights on services if we are to launch new ones or re-position existing ones. On the other hand, the regular activities help us push our messages out and contribute to the brand building exercise.
As for my personal usage; I am also active daily. I do read on regular bases so I Tweet articles I have read. My objective is more about building a momentum and also reaching more. I follow like-minded individuals and businesses with an aim to build a good network that can get my tweets across. My gain is personal thus would never consider paying to push my tweets further, or increase my followers. I am Twitter’s average freebie user who might drop off during the week end or a holiday and come back as part of a normal working day. So, I am not profitable!
Twitter needs businesses to engage more and leverage some of their new data services. But if large businesses like mine won’t spend any, would small businesses continue to spend in the face of the explosive manifestation of social media channels?!
Can Twitter remain Profitable?
I am not offering another prediction. Instead, I am bringing an example from another rivals in the technology field. Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe.
A recent article by CNET, suggested that after years and years of holding the innovation title Apple needs to actually relinquish that to Microsoft. The article discussed area’s that Microsoft has covered and Apple is still lagging behind sticking to their model that does not look very sustainable. The article even covers how the core features that made Apple what it is are no longer appealing to the average users.
Adobe was brought into the mix, because Microsoft’s new hardware is trying to appeal to creative developers and some of the new hardware built, like Microsoft Dial, would invite more developers to support it, and Adobe needs to get to it.
If we are to take this example to heart, we are talking about Twitter coming up with new features and also maybe tapping into what other social networks are doing better to see if it can beat them at their own game ! The question is, can the stake holders have the faith to give the social channel more leeway ! Is the Twitter team skilled enough to take on Microsoft’s LinkedIn or Facebook !
I raise questions cause it is hard to see what, in essence, the Reuters of our modern days, can do more to avoid the inevitable take over !!