Are Twitter’s Days Numbered?
It’s the end of Twitter as we know it, and that feels…fine?
It’s no secret that the platform is slowly dying, in large part due to its inability to make money. Need evidence? Recently, Twitter has:
- Sold app development platform Fabric to Google, proving that it sees enterprise developer tool sales as a less than lucrative detour from its core ad and data business
- Closed Vine, shifting to Vine Camera – a different app that will allow users to create 6.5-second Vine-style looping videos, that can either be saved or posted to a user’s Twitter
- Cut 9% of their staff, from sales, partnerships and marketing efforts
- Removed the Buy Button as they continue to pivot away from commerce
On top of all that, they have also phased out their lead generation ad format, no longer allowing brands to request people’s names, Twitter handles and email addresses. The final nail in the coffin – Twitter’s head of entertainment and director of finance David Bicknell departed.
“Having a background that leads towards PR and awareness, I think what’s currently happening to Twitter goes against the adage that ‘All PR is good PR,’” said Meghan McKeon, senior digital strategist. “It’s obvious that Twitter is trying to survive. Desperately. They are a sinking ship, throwing off as much unnecessary cargo as possible to stay afloat until something big happens. And that ‘big’ thing, well, seems to be either selling, or somehow overcoming their sinking share price.”
Twitter wants to be profitable in 2017. As Facebook and Snapchat prove, the present and future of advertising – read: making money – is video. Users should expect to see more video ads on Twitter, which they say are its top revenue-generating format.
Direct-response ads and promoted tweets – formats most at home on Twitter’s fast-scrolling, constantly refreshing stream – are falling by the wayside. Brands trying to maintain presence on the “new” Twitter should begin to think about how to incorporate video.
Marc Thaler, senior content writer, has deja vu when it comes to this trajectory.
“The company isn’t making money, which has led to a reduction in staff, decisions to sell off aspects of the business and, by all accounts, come to grips with the fact that it’s continuing to lose its audience,” said Thaler. “I’ve heard this story before. Hell, I’ve lived it – as a print journalist.
“Like newspapers, Twitter is dying. It isn’t going anywhere tomorrow. But how many tomorrows does it have left? It seems the future of Twitter hinges on the leadership’s ability to succeed where countless print media moguls have failed – at cracking the code for generating the revenue required to compete in the digital area.”
So, will a push towards video ads save the “sinking ship” that is Twitter? Will they be able to turn their fate around?
“By quite a few accounts, it’s only a matter of time until Twitter’s time runs out,” says Thaler.
Do you think Twitter’s days are numbered, or is it here to stay? Let us know what you think about Twitter’s future – on Twitter! – we’re @Centerline.
Marc Thaler is a former journalist and broadcaster-turned-associate creative director. For 10+ years, he covered sports around New England—everything from Little League to the big leagues. Several years back, he joined a software company specializing in cloud-based IT security and management solutions, spent a few years creating content in its marketing department, and then made the switch to Centerline. Over the years, his writing has appeared on a range of recognizable dot-coms, including ESPN, SC Magazine and Marketing Profs.