Not many people are keeping up with what’s going on behind the scenes at the micro blogging tech titan, but you might want to tune in because this could affect the way Twitter is integrated into your marketing mix.
In the past couple weeks, here’s what went down:
- Previous CEO reappointed
- New chairman
- Big layoffs
- Brief outage
- Ex Microsoft CEO buys 4% stake
Phew, did I miss anything? If not, let’s take it from the top. Jack Dorsey has been named permanent CEO after his interim CEO stint lasted from July 1 – October 5. Now remember, Dorsey was Twitter’s first CEO after he was dismissed to focus on other ventures. With the co-founder back at the helm, a lot of major changes have transpired. Among the first was the announcement of ex-Googler Omid Kordestani, the $130 million dollar man accredited to scaling Google to where it is today, as the new executive chairman at Twitter. Also, 336 jobs have been axed from the engineering team to make it “smaller and nimbler” according to Dorsey. Maybe one of those disgruntled 336 programmers left Twitter with a small parting gift in the form of a 10-minute outage yesterday morning. Whatever the case may be, there’s obviously some tension at the headquarters. Investors are getting impatient at the lack of growth Twitter has experienced lately, thus causing further stagnation to monetize. Comparisons between Twitter’s failures at moneymaking to Facebook’s effortless approach at being a cash cow have been made across the industry. But this begs the question, why are we drawing comparisons between these unicorns? Each one is great at what it does. Google is great at being a search engine. Facebook is great at being the all around social networking platform. Snapchat is great at video messaging. Instagram is great at being a photo-sharing social network. So why can’t Twitter just be a good micro blogger?
This is the problem with consumer facing tech companies going public. Too many captains on a ship wanting to steer the company to the fabled land of immediate returns on investment which results in the original mission and vision dissipating through the dark alleys of Wall Street. Even though Google and Facebook are both outliers, they were already ahead in their niche to not worry their investors of impending competition. Twitter however, not so much. Maybe Twitter’s new “Moments” feature will keep investor claws at bay until it confirms the dream and nightmare to a company that is monetization. The process has been modeled, the framework has been built, and the code has been written; now time will tell of the result. Snapchat has a similar feature called “Discover” they rolled out to get a piece of the glory that is monetization, but publishers haven’t lined up as fast as they thought to buy air time on Snapchat.
There seems to be a fundamental problem here: advertisers shell out innumerable amounts of money to convey their message to the broad base of followers on these platforms who simply just don’t care for that message. So when the ad money stops rolling in, what becomes of the true valuation of these apps? Before smartphones, the ads we saw were thirty-second commercials on TV, clips between songs on the radio, and your typical outdoor advertising. Now with devices seemingly glued to our hands, we’re getting hit with advertisements from every angle. The other day I overheard my 16-year-old brother speaking with his friend over the phone on how he’s recording The Walking Dead to “watch it later so I can skip the commercials.” Another startling point is how the top PAID download in the App Store upon the arrival of iOS9 was an ad-blocker. People are paying to remove ads. Go figure. Let’s see what Steve Ballmer’s input will be to Dorsey & Co., because if he’s purchasing $800 million worth of Twitter shares he better be seeing something that we’re all missing. Then again, this is the same man that acquired a dying Nokia company for $7.6 billion and laughed at the original iPhone. It’ll be interesting to see the new developments unravel at Twitter, but it will be more interesting to see how the advertising landscape will affect business in the looming future.
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