4 new developments at Twitter
Two weeks ago we looked at why Twitter has been coming under fire, with some predicting the beginning of the end for the platform. Personnel changes, rumours of a character limit drop and a slow-down in growth had led to a drop in the company’s value. Here are four new developments at Twitter in the last few weeks:
When the rumours that Twitter would drop its character limit began circulating, panic followed. Another wave of panic ensued recently with the announcement of an algorithmic feed. With many questioning why the company was so intent on impersonating Facebook with each new change, angry tweeters voiced their frustration and #RIPTwitter started trending worldwide.
This even prompted chief executive Jack Dorsey to respond using the #RIPTwitter, persuading users that Twitter would only be getting better.
The new algorithm now ranks tweets by relevance, or what it thinks is more important to you. To widespread relief the timeline remains the same unless users opt in to the new version. Whilst this relieved some of the online tension it could yet become an enforced (unpopular) change.
Keeping advertisers happy is a major priority for Twitter as they try to maintain their revenue. The new algorithm announcements left some wary as to whether they would still be getting the same exposure in users’ timelines.
A new form of advertising was introduced in a platform named First View, that ensures advertisers could occupy the top of a feed for 24 hours. This led some to worry that other forms of advertising could now potentially get lost in the algorithm and dismissed as not relevant.
With a need to keep investors and advertisers both on board this was yet another unwanted question mark over the company. For some advertisers though this will definitely be a welcome development as they can guarantee prime positioning for their brand.
Negative user growth
Growth, or the lack of it, was the latest blow announced by Twitter. Less than a week, ago it announced its monthly active user figures for the final quarter of 2015. Despite the slowed growth, several more million users had been expected to be added to the user base but this was not the case. Over the last 3 months of 2015, Twitter failed to grow at all and maintained the same average 320 million users as for the previous quarter. This again caused shares to fall by 11% before recovering. A stark contrast to 2 years ago when Twitter was the fastest growing social platform in the world.
Just a few days ago Stephen Fry quit Twitter, despite being one of its earliest advocates, after telling a joke presenting the BAFTAS that many tweeters viewed as unkind. This is not the first time a celebrity has left Twitter with Kanye West, Adele, Nicki Minaj and Lena Dunham previously having left the platform. In the past those who have left have usually ended up returning fairly quickly (Zayn Malik lasted just 2 days).
Despite all of the uncertainty surrounding the platform, Twitter announced recently that its ad revenue had increased by 48% YoY in its last quarter, showing that advertisers do still have faith in the platform. With the announcement of plateauing user growth however, it’s clear to see why Twitter feels it needs to shake things up. The next few months will be crucial.