The Future Of Twitter
Twitter is innovating with new community features like Spaces and Ad formats like Carousel and Branded Likes.
As a partner with of many of the largest social media platforms, we often take a step back and look at what is happening at each of the companies. A good time to do this type of analysis is after each quarter, when the company management announces financial results. Although we do not focus on the financial metrics, there is often a wealth of insight into the product lines and what the management team is investing in for the future.
Let’s look at Twitter!
TLDR; They are doing great.
Just a few years ago, many industry watchers wondered if Twitter could ever get on track to fulfill their potential. In the last few quarters, the company has made tremendous progress and has an exciting outlook as well.
The Ad Business
The Ad business grew by 31%. This is the highest growth in years. One of the biggest drivers was the strong adoption of the Mobile Application Promotion campaign or MAP. MAP allows advertisers to drive app installs and re-engagement with already installed apps.
The company has a completely rebuilt MAP offering with improved campaign management, new ad formats, better optimization algorithms, and better measurement and tracking. These improvements have increased impressions dramatically, yielding better performance for advertisers.
The company also recently launched other features which help the ad businesses:
- Twitter Click ID. A more reliable to report who visited an advertiser’s website.
- Branded Likes. A brand can use a special hashtag to trigger a surprise animation when a user taps the post.
- Carousel. The Carousel ads are a more immersive and interactive edge-to-edge, as with swiping support.
- A/B testing tools. Advertisers can now more effectively try different creative approaches to optimize campaigns.
The Product & User Experience
Over the last few months, it seems like the Product team at Twitter has moved faster and iterated on more creative ideas. Let’s look at some new capabilities that the company has delivered.
Twitter continues to grow the number of Topics that users can follow. They added over 1,000 new topics in the past few months to grow the total to 6,000. Topics now span cities and TV shows, and the company has started added Topics in more languages such as Hindi. This has led to stronger Tweet engagement. Tweets found from followed Topics get more than 2x the engagement compared to regular account-followed Tweets.
The onboarding challenge is something that Twitter has been iterating on for many years. When a new user signs up, how does that user know what to do in their first few days on the platform? The answer is that they have improved the Twitter algorithms to point the user to content based on real-time signals around interest and intent. The company believes that these recent improvements have improved retention and reduced churn.
The Future of Twitter
The future of Twitter is as exciting today as it ever has been. The challenges of discovery, monetization, and community building are all coming together with some new features on the horizon.
CEO Jack Dorsey recently discussed that Twitter could one day offer a way for that discovery, identity, and individual user data could be managed in a decentralized way. He explained users could own their own data and identity and could permission products like Twitter in a value exchange. Given that Jack is also leading one of the most innovative payment companies, Square, this is a trend to watch closely.
More tangibly, Twitter is rolling out audio capabilities with Spaces and newsletter capabilities with Revue. Spaces is the Twitter take on what the social audio app Clubhouse pioneered. Twitter users could choose to host public rooms where discussions amongst a small group of users would be broadcast to thousands at the same time. Some industry experts believe that this could improve the toxic discourse that permeates Twitter and bring back some of the small community feel.
The newsletter capability that the Revue brings to the company will allow users to publish long form essays and send them directly to users. Perhaps more importantly, the authors can charge for the newsletters while Twitter takes a 5% cut of each payment. This is the first step that Twitter has taken towards allowing their users to charge for services on the Twitter platform. With the recent boom in paid newsletters driven by Substack, Twitter is making a smart move to capitalize on their core distribution strengths.
A single wrapper for many of these features may be coming with the Super Follow capability. This would allow users to monetize multiple forms of their content and tweets on Twitter via direct payments on the platform. This one is still in the early stages and the company has released only teaser information on this front.
Twitter = Exciting
It’s an exciting time at Twitter. The company is growing their user base, while building great new tools for advertisers and end users. For anyone researching platforms to grow their social presence organically, Twitter’s recent moves open up the opportunities for many directions of growth.