When Twitter began seven years ago it was a collection of ragtag hackers fighting for the basis on which the site would operate, whilst trying to stop the site from crashing. From these humble beginnings Twitter has come an incredibly long way. The company is well on track to collect over half a billion dollars in revenue for this financial year. The social media platform has over 230 million monthly active users and has 2,300 employees working in their offices in San Francisco, New York, London, Dublin and Sao Paulo. During November of 2013 the Twitter platform navigated a smooth IPO transition and is now valued at around $35 billion.
Despite Twitter’s substantial growth over the last few years, the platform still needs to mature. Whilst it is true that Twitter has over 53 million active users in the U.S. this figure is substantially lower than the active users Facebook commands in the country and makes up less than 25% of the nation’s active internet users. In addition, the platform’s global growth has slowed at a dramatic rate. This is on both a quarterly and yearly rate. From a financial perspective the yearly revenues are set to double those of 2012, yet the company remains far from profitable. To demonstrate, Twitter reported losses of $79 million in 2012 and a loss of $133.9 million during the first nine months of 2013.
Despite these factors Twitter plans and looks set to present substantial changes to its platform and its users during the next year. These Twitter Plans seem to include:
Twitter Plans for a Deeper More User Focused Experience:
Although there was some uproar earlier in 2013, Twitter plans to become more visual and interactive in the forthcoming year. This means that pictures, photos and images are likely to become far more prominent on the platform during 2014. In addition it is also likely that articles, TV adverts and e-commerce features among others will play a far larger role in 2014 on Twitter.
It is most likely that 2014 will witness a rise in importance of user profile pages and direct messages look set to make a comeback. This will be due in part to the new send message option. These changes aim to solve two problems simultaneously with a single action. Namely, to provide advertisers with a more visually pleasing platform, whilst also aiming to boost user numbers and levels of engagement. The early Twitter brand posts were clumsy chunks of text with small images whilst now they resemble fully fledged banner ads. Furthermore, the Twitter feed has increasingly come to resemble Facebook’s News Feed, this change may be a ploy to make the platform less confusing for users who are familiar with the Facebook interface but are new to Twitter.
Over recent months, the company has made a number of moves in an attempt to make the platform more welcoming to new users. These moves include updating the platforms about page in order to better inform viewers about how their specific service works. This was accompanied by the unveiling of a dedicated account in November 2013, which provides users with a guide to using the social media platform. Other attempts to make the platform more accessible to new users include Twitter’s creation of new accounts including @magicrecs and @eventparrot. These handles inform users of people to follow and breaking news respectively. The creation of handles such of these provide new users with the ability to quickly gain as much from the platform as their seasoned contemporaries.
Twitter Plans for Greater Advertising and Marketing Potential
It seems that Twitter plans to introduce a wider amount of income generating marketing and advertising services for users. It is also likely that this move will be cautious and begin with expanding on two of the platforms existing ad tools. The first expected move is to begin selling native ads on other mediums other than Twitter itself. This will be greatly helped by Twitter’s recent acquisition of MoPub, which is a mobile ad exchange. Moving ad campaigns out of the platform enables Twitter to provide marketers and advertisers with a far greater reach for their campaigns. The second expected move is to expand the international scope of the platforms internal self-service ad platform by making it available in a greater amount of countries.
There is a wide amount of speculation regarding Twitter potentially rolling out a number of video driven advertising tools through Twitter and Vine. However nothing is certain at present.