Twitter’s stock price is beginning to look like a side-on sketch of some of the mountains I’ll soon be visiting in the Lake District. Last week it took another nose dive due to extensive site downtime following a site update that went wrong. Leaving millions of people unable to access Twitter Analytics, then escalating to a near full-service downtime. This happened across a full 24-hour period, although official reports don’t acknowledge this.
Twitter takeover rumours are rife as the micro-blogging and developing advertising network continues to dip further away from IPO value. Its core business is under pressure as it seeks to appeal to a global audience, attempting to offer something other social networks cannot. One thing is for certain, Twitter has won the attention of mainstream media in the UK for its speed of news.
In a nutshell: Twitter needs more global active users and to continue developing monetisation methods that do not infringe on organic experiences.
As part of managing online reputation and digital marketing campaigns, Twitter is a proven critical resource. So a falling stock price and long-term signals that user-growth is stalling makes my digital mind tick. What happens if Twitter gets laid to rest in the social media graveyard?
Twitter isn’t the only weapon in the social media arsenal, but it does provide the most access to its data and hasn’t been decimated by online advertising like competitor networks (think Facebook’s crack down on organic reach).
Having personally tweeting non-stop for the last 7 years, there is no doubt the network has matured but with this a number of challenges. Whilst Twitter is still a buzzing social network today, there are a few challenges it needs to address for future success:
The reason Facebook’s organic reach was locked down is because the social site had to make a big decision with the way it displayed newsfeed content. If all your friends and pages you followed could display straight to your feed, then the noise (also spam) on the site would appear uncontrollable. Facebook made the radical decision to prioritise your newsfeed, using algorithms to share what (it believed) mattered to you most. Twitter now faces the same challenges, but is not acting fast enough.
#2 Capitalising on unregistered users
One of the strategies of website marketing is to understand where your lost traffic opportunities are and then capitalise on them. For instance, I may have a ‘404 page not found’ notice that is losing me traffic; by plugging the gap I maintain higher web traffic. Twitter has been slow to recognise this by not utilising the pre-logged-in pages on the site. They began changing this at the end of last year. For a long time, my login page was still flashing pictures from mid-2000 (crazy).
Among the public relations community on Twitter is chatter about trying alternative social networks. Whilst Twitter is a valuable resource today, stock troubles and takeover rumours are impacting the reputation of the social site. Whilst social media network mapping is a valuable way of identifying online communities on Twitter, I do find it surprising that it hasn’t attempt to build community features into the network. Hashtags are great, but they’re too public (therefore can suffer from spam).
#4 Advertising value
Speaking from personal experience, the value of Twitter Ads is still not understood. Whilst some organisation do choose to invest heavily for results, many still ‘trial and test’ small figures. This must be to do with reputation or an issue with where Twitter sits in the marketing mix. Perhaps the idea of (primarily) PR practitioners running advertising campaigns feels uncomfortable to some organisations? Perhaps these are clues to improving Twitter’s market positioning?
[UPDATE: In a move that signposts a major structural change at Twitter, the company announced yesterday evening that four executives will be leaving.]