A eulogy for Twitter?

Twitter's latest results have given the company little to shout about.

Twitter's results are nothing to tweet home about, writes Liam Keogh
Twitter's results are nothing to tweet home about, writes Liam Keogh

Its fall in profits has led to decline in its stock price, and advertising revenue has failed to hit the predicted margin.

User levels have increased by around five million in the past three months, but this does not carry enough weight to appease investors, with a decline in shares after the results were published.

Twitter must improve its offering to generate confidence, but what does this ultimately mean for brands engaging on the platform – and has Twitter become a worthless tool in the marketplace?

A key criticism is its lack of receptiveness to user requests. Tweeters have asked to edit their tweets after posting, which has not been introduced. The platform also relies heavily on the written word and suffers as the world becomes increasingly visually orientated.

Twitter has, however, made one significant move to rectify this: live video is now integrated into users’ newsfeeds, enabling them to watch Periscope without leaving the platform. Introducing these features ahead of Instagram is a crucial innovation win for Twitter.

Compared with Facebook, Twitter has not been as successful at generating advertising revenue. The platform requests that users share relatively limited personal information, so Twitter’s algorithm is unable to confirm the gender and precise location of the user. The potential for advertising on Twitter will never be maximised as long as it cannot identify a clear demographic.

However, in the growing debate about privacy, the option for relative anonymity could be an advantage.

Indeed, Twitter is still is a very valuable tool through which brands can interact with consumers.

Creating a campaign that plays to its innate strengths will deliver the best results for businesses. Twitter remains the preferred network for key influencers and so it is one of the most successful ways for brands to interact with these individuals and organisations.

Instagram is encroaching on this territory but it is still easier for brands to receive a retweet or a mention on Twitter than to be featured in a dedicated Instagram post.

Furthermore, Twitter is still the domain where important news is broken first. The platform’s very structure is better suited to real-time narration than Instagram or Facebook. If a brand responds quickly to a trending event and exploits hashtags to good effect, this can significantly increase awareness and followers.

The platform is also strong at addressing concerns of users quickly and efficiently, through genuine and immediate interaction.

Google has also integrated Twitter into its search algorithm, meaning that when users search through the site, they will be given a quick snapshot of the brand through their Twitter page. Therefore, brands may exploit this exposure through Google as a powerful marketing tool in itself.

Should we prepare a eulogy for Twitter? Absolutely not. 

These results show it’s time for the company to innovate to compete with the other platforms and attract new users.

For brands, Twitter's results are a reminder of the need for a strong social media campaign across all platforms, to secure continued engagement whatever the changes in this fast-paced landscape.

Liam Keogh is founding director at Palm PR

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