Twitter talked up the hundreds of millions of users it has at its first Analyst Day. Not just the “284 million active registered users” but the “500 million unique visitors,” what the company calls “logged out” users. CEO Dick Costolo said he wants Twitter to build “the largest daily audience in the world.” And CFO Anthony Noto said the goal is to “reach the largest daily audience in the world by connecting everyone to their world via our information sharing and distribution platform products and be one of the top revenue generating Internet companies in the world.”
So clearly, Twitter has tied these audience numbers very closely to financial success. And no doubt, Twitter’s ability to reach a vast audience is part of the appeal from a variety of angles — as a marketer, investor, entertainer, etc. But as PRs have learned from years of social media activity, numbers aren’t the only prominent factor.
According to Ad Age, the user growth number for Twitter has slowed. Some people who aren’t on Twitter say they simply don’t get it; that it’s just an overwhelming mountain of characters that don’t add up to much for them. I was recently in San Diego and had two people tell me that in conversation. User friendliness may be one way to help solve that problem.
But Twitter might also be well served by remembering the significance of quality over quantity. Social media, Twitter included (if not especially) is filled with a lot of noise. You need only look at the Twitter takeover of #AlexfromTarget for proof of that. Something can go viral for no reason and disappear just as quickly. Loyalty and substantive content are important as well. Both of those are things that Twitter has a ton of.
Ad Age continues with some numbers:
Overall, Twitter content achieves 185 billion impressions a month, the company said. Some 200 million unique visitors each month land on Twitter profile pages, primarily those of celebrities and brands, without signing into an account. And another 75 million arrive via search, where the company said it was expanding its product portfolio.
Under these new metrics, Twitter would reach 2 billion monthly active users, at its current growth rate, by 2020, Mr. Noto told investors.
After all of that detail, a little further down the mag says the company didn’t articulate how it will make money from a bigger audience. More plans are on the way.
This strategy sounds like it a healthy mix of user numbers and good tweets that rise above mere hashtags, emojis and nonsense like this. Sharing information, clear expressions of fandom, jokes, relevant memes… these are the things that will hopefully rise to the top.
Twitter is a wide open space and should be there for everyone to contribute and enjoy. That’s, after all, part of the appeal. But it also makes targeting more influential voices difficult. Is there a way to balance all of this in a way to attract the investors and advertisers Twitter needs to make money? That’s the question the company has to answer.