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'The writing is on the wall' for Twitter claims expert

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Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 09 August 2017 7:40

'The writing is on the wall' for Twitter claims expert

Financial results for on-line platform Twitter – a favourite of the Gloucestershire business community - have produced a stark prediction from perhaps the county’s best-known social media guru.

Shares in the US-based company fell by 14 per cent when it announced its second quarter financial results at the end of July which described revenue falling by five per cent.

The micro-blogging website – which allows users to post their thoughts and comments in a concise 140 characters – appears to be a firm favourite for many companies and business people in the county which want to raise their profile and spread their news and views.

But its results showed it failed to gain as many followers as analysts predicted, instead recording a further slowdown in the increase in monthly users for its service (down to five per cent year-on-year and flat for the first quarter).

With a plethora of other platforms out there with clear business plans and growing popularity Twitter might remain a favourite haunt of the leader of the free world, Donald Trump, but county social media expert Jonathan Pollinger has made a dramatic prediction.

“I'm calling it. I'll be really sorry to see it go but Twitter won't be around by this time next year. The writing is on the wall,” wrote Mr Pollinger, of Intranet Future, on his Linkedin page.

His comment did what he admits it was designed to do – started a healthy debate – but baiting aside, he does believe Twitter is under serious threat and its future is uncertain.

Toby Aiken, of Cheltenham-based media business Target PR, who joined the on-line thread on Linkedin, said: “Yes growth is low, but it's still looking at more than half a billion dollars of revenue. Also ad engagement increased almost 100 per cent while cost per engagement dropped by more than 50 per cent. I would suggest that once these trends (i.e. More engagement at lower costs) are recognised they may see a rise in revenue.

“If they can improve their targeting mechanisms in line with Facebook and even LinkedIn then I think the platform could see a resurgence. While it's not making a loss I think it will stay as it is and possibly become an attractive purchase to some of the big hitters, perhaps even by Facebook?

“With some promotion around the improving performance in terms of ad engagement I think predictions of it's demise could be premature.”

Mr Pollinger added: “Agree that Facebook could be a bidder but if they did buy I think they will kill the service and just absorb the users. I guess it depends what measure you're looking at but Quarterly GAAP net loss was $116 million which was $9 million worse than previous quarter. Not good!”

Speaking to Business to clarify his views Mr Pollinger said the organisation had put itself up for sale before Christmas and “the likes of Google were not interested”.

Big issues facing the platform, he said, included just how credible its claims to 328million users was.

Fastgrowing platforms like Instagram were now double the size of Twitter. WhatsApp and Messenger have 1.2 billion users and Facebook 1.8 billion.

Engagement with its ads on Twitter is said to have grown 95 per cent over the last year, but advertising revenue in the second quarter fell eight per cent to $489 million, compared with a year earlier.

Following its second quarter results the Twitter admitted it needed to continue to bring its revenue growth in line with user growth, but remained confident it was beginning to reverse declining revenue.

“While we still have a lot of work to do for revenue growth to get it to track audience growth, the improvements in revenue growth reflect the progress executing against our top revenue-generating products in the second quarter as well as strengthening business fundamentals,” Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief operating officer told investors.

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