Twitter has long been the source of real time news and information for the under 30 set. We all remember how important Twitter users were for reporting events during the Boston Marathon. However, the recent renovations in the platforms style and functions have been making it more attractive for older users.
When Twitter added pictures to the mix, more people got interested, even some over the age of 35. But will Twitter ever be able to reach the status of Facebook?
It’s a question marketers and investors are asking after Twitter reported its 1st quarterly earnings ($243 million in revenue in the 4th Quarter of 2013).
While earnings are up over 112% over the same period last year, the growth of its users is falling. Twitter added 56 million users while Facebook added 170 million. It was the lowest in the 2013 4th Quarter in its history.
Compounding the problem is the fact that the number of timeline views, (how they measure how engaged people are with Twitter) declined in the US and overseas. With all the press and hype from the IPO, one wonders why more people aren’t using it.
Twitter did learn how to monetize the site. The company’s ad revenue per timeline view, (how they measure how effectively it makes money from user engagement), was up 76% over the year. But sadly for investors and marketers, growth was small for the number of ads its users actually saw in the fourth quarter.
During the Super Bowl both Twitter and Facebook were vying for dominance as the Super Bowl social platform. Perhaps hoping that the Super Bowl ad frenzy on TV would eventually translate to social platforms, the contest was on.
Twitter reported that 24.9 million tweets related to the Super Bowl were sent during a four hour period that included the game. Those stats do not include retweets, favorites, replies or other kinds of interactions that are a major part of Twitter's impact on the social media landscape. That leads me to believe that Twitter’s stats were conservative about their Super Bowl impact.
However, Facebook reported that 50 million people had over 185 million posts, comments or likes about the Super Bowl over the 24-hour period that began at 3 am (really who cares about the Super Bowl at 3am?). Facebook’s numbers were grossly exagerated as was its impact.
Facebook is still struggling with the real-time reporting, something Twitter has mastered. Twitter won that Social Super Bowl.
Twitter has a lot of room to grow and they have shown they are willing to enhance the platform, but will they ever catch Facebook?
What do you think?