The Downside of Popularity: Despite Visibility, Twitter Revenue and Growth Are Flat

Though millions are glued to news of tweets from the Twitter-happy Trump and his critics on the platform, it isn’t showing up on Twitter’s bottom line. As eMarketer puts it, “Twitter faces a conundrum: At a moment when its platform is more visible and influential...

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Though millions are glued to news of tweets from the Twitter-happy Trump and his critics on the platform, it isn’t showing up on Twitter’s bottom line.

As eMarketer puts it, “Twitter faces a conundrum: At a moment when its platform is more visible and influential than ever before, key measures like revenues and usage appear to be stuck in neutral.”

Then there’s Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who had to admit on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call — which revealed global revenues up a mere 1 percent while U.S. revenue declined 7 present — that influence and making bank are two different things.

“The whole world is watching Twitter,” Dorsey said. “While we may not be currently meeting everyone’s growth expectations, there is one thing that continues to grow and outpace our peers: Twitter’s influence and impact.”

Twitter’s recent popularity is proving to be a harsh mistress. Its visibility could be turning many users and many brands away from a venue they now view as potentially dangerous. In fact, eMarketer pegs Twitter’s user base will grow a paltry 1.9 percent in 2017 — and predicts that rate to decline further in successive years.

Could it be that politics and brand advertising don’t mix?

“Ironically, Twitter’s high visibility in a charged political environment could actually be a liability,” notes eMarketer. “The company has tended to rely on brand advertising for much of its revenues, and brands are skittish about being associated with controversy of almost any type, political or otherwise.”

Skittish about controversy? Whoo-boy. That could be a problem, unless someone near the Oval Office deactivates certain Twitter accounts soon.

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