New Release Shows Twitter Can Change
Dismal market news dogged Twitter for much of 2014, as investors were continually concerned about the growth of the user base and the strategic direction of the company. In July, Market Watch reported shares had fallen 9.5% since first-quarter results were released in late April, and were down 39% year-to-date, mainly due to investor worries that the company’s user base wasn’t growing fast enough. A Huffington Post article later reported that Twitter posted a loss of $175 million, or 29 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2014. Additionally, Twitter was repeatedly compared with Facebook – both in number of users and flexibility. In the first quarter of 2014, Twitter reported 255 million monthly active users, compared to Facebook’s 1.3 billion monthly users. Facebook added new features and facelifts while Twitter’s functionality remained relatively unchanged.
But, 2015 brings a New Year and new promise for Twitter. This month, Twitter announced it is rolling out two new features, which are designed to make the platform more appealing. One feature is private group messaging and the other is the ability to shoot, edit and post videos directly through the Twitter app. While Twitter hopes to capture more new users to the platform, it also wants its current user base to use the site more often. According to Robert Peck, managing director and Internet equity analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, some analysts believe the new features, investments in advertising technology, and the company’s outreach to third-party software developers could be potential catalysts for Twitter having a “Facebook moment” in 2015.
Clearly, video is the king of content. Just on YouTube alone, over 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute! That is why the new video feature of Twitter maybe one of the most important. Previously, the only way for most Twitter users to share video was through Vine, Twitter’s standalone video app (which provided short, 6-second clips). Now, Twitter users can add video up to 30 seconds in length. Twitter for iPhone users can upload videos from the camera roll and Twitter promises to be expanding this functionality to Android soon. Twitter hopes the addition of video will promote richer, more frequent, and shareable content.
The new group messaging feature allows users to start conversations with up to 20 people on Twitter. Those people do not all have to follow each other to chat privately. Since its inception, Twitter has largely been focused on public conversations. Yet, with this new release, the ability for private conversations will be realized. This type of functionality should promote greater levels of engagement with users. Maybe more users who enjoy Facebook for its social collaboration will migrate to Twitter now that more social interactivity is possible. You can bet that’s what Twitter is aiming for.