Twitter are at a crossroads as 2015 kicks off. The service that next year will be a decade old is struggling for new users with growth very much tapering off at 300 million users despite Instagram passing them and Whatsapp hurtling towards the billion mark. This slowdown in growth is spooking investors, but what Twitter do have is an incredibly engaged user base and crucially they have all the celebrities, media, movie stars and athletes using their platform daily. Combined with their new video offering that is being tested and rolling out shortly, the Twitter we all know and love now could look very different in the future and I'm quite bullish on their future. (Read this for a more detailed overview on their money making potential)
Video Will Spur Twitter To Next 300 Million Users
When I started using Twitter eight years ago it felt like magic. A new way of sharing and discovering information. It was incredibly rudimentary in it's nature. You couldn't upload photos directly to Twitter, (remember most people were still on feature phones rather than smart phones), the service fell over every couple of hours and it looked nothing like the rich media platform we all use today. You could argue the company has been mismanaged by not catching onto Instagram, not starting their own Whatsapp style service and missing countless other opportunities. Despite all of that, with video they have the chance to re-invent how we consume media online and re-ignite their user growth and therefore propel their revenues and share price to a whole new level.
I had my Eureka moment after reading this piece by Jason last night and then sitting through a 4 minute video on Twitter. I hadn't initially set out to watch a video when I checked my feed but after clicking on the Jon Snow interview below (using Twitter's native video player) I was hooked.
Celebrities And Distribution
As I outlined above all the world's big personalities and news organisations are using Twitter. They all have a lot of video content to share. Up until now they've been sharing it on YouTube and more recently Facebook. There are multiple problems with YouTube that include a lack of social interaction, comments being horrendous and poor revenue share on ads. Facebook are attacking YouTube and making great inroads but media organisations and celebrities don't use Facebook the same way they do Twitter. Users have specifically opted into receive content from accounts on Twitter they follow. With RTs, good content will spread even further.
Twitter Will Be My 6 O'clock News
While I read Twitter all day long between jobs at work to stay on top of the news and business trends, I do like to enjoy the news in the evening at 6 o'clock to get some analysis of the day. Quite often at least 70% of that news will be irrelevant to me. With Twitter videos and a feed of 2000 things that only I personally like I'll be getting the videos and news I want- sports, NY Times, Guardian, tech and the music and celebrities I want to hear from. This will be a huge problem for traditional TV, especially when I can blow my feed onto a large screen or when watching on one of my devices on the go.
2015 Will Be Twitter's Breakthrough Year
This sounds ridiculous when you think they are coming up to a decade as a business but you only have to look at the graph above to see how small they are becoming compared to the other social networks and messaging apps. Crucially with a combination of the media using the service (imagine all the videos we'll see embedded in media sites), celebrities starting to post videos, drawing in their massive audiences and the increased revenue coming from longer visits, Twitter will have a huge year. I feel they've come through a lot of the shit of IPO, changing management and slow growth and now are finally about to do something very special and change the media landscape once again.