Irfan Kamal May 25th, 2012
Twitter has been nothing short of a world phenomenon, popular in countries around the world and an undisputed factor in significant political change – and a star for customer service. It continues to grow rapidly, with a recent emarketer study projecting Twitter growth up to 4x higher than Facebook (on a lower base) in 2014. And, there are many of us who greatly value the discovery and connections we achieve through Twitter.
Our own research suggests exposure to social content has a significant impact on brand perception and sales impact (2-7x increased probability of purchase lift based on a restaurant study). So, the general outlook for social content is bright.
Yet even with its success in some high visibility areas and its fantastic growth, it just doesn’t seem like Twitter has quite hit its stride yet. It has been overshadowed by Facebook and – at least for now – new entrants like Pinterest.
- It’s the #2 social network based on visits, but its current total user active user base is still much lower than Facebook’s (about 1/6 of Facebook in the US, according to eMarketer)
- Engagement is low — monthly average time spent on Twitter (36 minutes) is 91% lower than time on Facebook (6 hours 33 min) and 54% lower than Pinterest (1 hour 17 min), according to Mediabistro/Statista
- As a partial result of this (and probably as a result of other factors such as ad tools and analytics), monetization has lagged, with estimated 2011 revenues of $139.5 million (eMarketer), or about 1/25th of Facebook’s $3.71 billion actual 2011 revenues (S-1 filing).
It seems that these issues are among those threatening Twitter’s ability to increase its momentum with brands and organizations.
The Way Forward
Based on the data above, some of our own research, and some thinking based on work with brands, it appears that there are 3 steps that could make a dramatic difference for Twitter: