March 19, 2018
The past few years have been a roller-coaster ride for Twitter. Success stories broadcasting their flotation and rise to $69 a share (in January 2014) were followed by column inches informing us of declining revenues, their share price crashing to $14 (in May 2016), ensuing staff cutbacks and comprehensive restructuring of their advertising proposition. It was one extreme to another.
As recently as 18-months ago, I declared: “Twitter isn’t at the (advertising) races!”
At the time, I had good reason. Their advertising proposition was restructured – wrongly oversimplifying the platform. A decision to remove the ability to retarget engagements left me bemused. Particularly as Facebook’s custom audience and retargeting functions were (and still are) a key enabler of incremental advertising revenue.
Today though, Twitter is performing like a thoroughbred who is quietly coming up on the rails to challenge the race leaders. Ok, enough of the horseracing metaphors. Twitter is doing well, let’s leave it at that.
But why are they thriving? I hear you ask.
Well, the advertising restructuring I critiqued has been evolved into an agile and impactful tool. Twitter rolled out live-streaming to great success – landing several high-profile streaming deals with major sports and news broadcasters. And, of course, they increased their tweet character count. These three changes have had the desired effect on users, collectively contributing to active user growth of 12%. In Social Media, active users means advertising revenue opportunity.
In February of this year, Twitter’s resurgence was confirmed with the announcement that they had returned to revenue growth after posting their first-ever profitable quarter. Shares rocketed 20% as a result.
At immediate future, we’ve seen first-hand the impact of Twitter’s advertising on both Consumer and B2B markets. We’ve not been overly vocal about this, as we believed our rivals were probably still of the opinion Twitter wasn’t as good as it once was. We’ve been busy capitalising on opportunity.
Fujitsu, our flagship B2B client, who we work with across UK & Ireland and EMEA markets, has seen tremendous gains from Twitter’s advertising proposition. By using a listening tool to mine specific data (which I will keep confidential, due to intellectual property reasons), we’ve been able to hone in on a specific audience, surfacing C-Suite operatives on Twitter. When you consider that few declare their job titles in bios, this is quite a feat. We’ve then seen millions of video views on relevant Tech Video content. The results have been, and continue to be compelling.
Social Media advertising is at its most impactful when we serve relevant content to relevant audiences – it influences buying behaviour. For too long, Twitter became a ‘hit n hope’ domain, with far too much wastage on adverting campaigns. That’s no longer the case. Twitter has found its way once more. More importantly, it’s unearthed a means to grow active users as well. This bodes very well for Twitter’s financial future.
Whilst Twitter is still some way off emulating the online advertising success of Facebook and Google, they’re closing the gap and they absolutely should be featuring within your Paid Media buying plans.