The recent World Cup in Brazil was certainly a triumph for Twitter. It was its first time as an established social media platform that a major global event occurred and it showed with nearly 700 million “tweets” during the month-long sporting event. With new features and a new promotional campaign, the company took full advantage of the world stage.
The only problem of course is that there isn’t a World Cup every week, or even every year, and while Twitter’s advertising revenues continue to grow, their user base isn’t.
In fact, analysts are predicting that their annual growth rate this year is going to decline and, when the year is done, Twitter will end up with about 1/5 of the users that their biggest rival, Facebook, has on board.
Indeed, the company is desperately trying to differentiate itself from Facebook, which is proving rather difficult considering that many advertisers look at them as being quite similar.
“People who think of Facebook and Twitter as being in the same categories are underestimating both,” Shiv Singh, the senior VP of global brand and marketing at Visa, tells AdAge. He explains it rather succinctly; “I need a chair to sit on and a desk to put my computer on. I don’t need two chairs .”
One of the biggest problems that Twitter has is attracting middle-aged users, something that Facebook has proved quite adept at doing. Their TV advertising platform, Amplify, has had mixed results at best, and complaints about their oversensitivity to user grievances abound.
Another problem is that many of the millions of tweets being made on the platform are actually viewed by users outside of Twitter, giving the company no way to measure performance or, more importantly, earn advertising revenue from those engagements.
With new metrics on the way that will allow them to capture these missed advertising dollars, Twitter recently claimed to investors during its earnings report on Wall Street that it will be able to capture value beyond its own platform.
With no major world events scheduled until the Summer Olympics of 2016 however, differentiating itself from Facebook and increasing its user base might prove difficult for Twitter in the near future.