Twitter has been a mainstream social media platform for over ten years now, but in recent years commentators have begun to speak of a decline in popularity. This week we’re looking at how this decline has taken place and whether the launch of Twitter Promote Mode can boost brand reengagement.
The decline of Twitter?
First founded back in 2006 in San Francisco, Twitter in many ways shares its story with Facebook and the many other social media companies that sprung up around this time. Yet in more recent years some industry experts have begun to speak of a gradual Twitter decline, as the platform struggles to keep up with outlets such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram that have changed the rules of the game and pushed a more visual, interactive agenda.
In 2014 The Atlantic magazine declared ‘A Eulogy for Twitter’, claiming that ‘the beloved social publishing platform enters its twilight’ with users becoming less active than they once were. While predicting that ‘its influence on publishing will remain,’ The Atlantic argued that ‘the platform's place in Internet culture is changing in a way that feels irreversible’ and compared to newer, fresher platforms ‘Twitter feels closed off, choked, in a way that makes us want to explore somewhere else for a while.’
Since this time, commentators have continued to discuss Twitter in the same vein. According to DMN, a digital marketing analysis platform, Twitter’s growth was all but flat in the 2016 period and unable to compete with the exponential growth of Snapchat in the same period. An article by Investopedia at the beginning of 2017 observed that, ‘for the third straight reporting period, short sellers are abandoning Twitter shares, suggesting a collective belief that Twitter stock might have already established a near-term bottom.’
Can Twitter Promote Mode help?
While all of the above have pointed to the seemingly inevitable decline of Twitter in an overcrowded market, the platform is not dead in the water just yet. Instead, Twitter recently launched Promote Mode, which it describes as ‘your always-on promotion engine.’ Designed to ‘grow your influence by automatically amplifying your message to a larger, interested audience, for a flat monthly fee,’ Promote Mode automates and manages a campaign in a way that Twitter Ads did not previously allow. Focused on being mobile-first, the move seems to be an attempt to reengage those brands looking to advertise and prove that Twitter can still provide value.
But how has the marketing industry responded? Econsultancy pointed out a number of limitations of the new Mode, namely that it is designed for accounts with up to 2000 followers and therefore targets specifically SMEs. While this could prove useful for start-ups and smaller enterprises, for any brand that has moved beyond this stage of development Promote Mode will not be of use. Econsultancy also suggests that the targeting options offered are also fairly limited, with subscribers ‘given the ability to target five interest or metro locations or regions within a country.’ While this of course has its uses, and Twitter claims that ‘on average accounts will reach 30,000 additional people and add 30 followers each month,’ the Mode is not likely to be taken up by all segments of Twitter users.
Yet others have been more positive about the move, with AdAge reporting that in light of slipping ad sales, the launch of Promote Mode can been seen as a proactive response that ‘could be Twitter's ticket to attracting the businesses that don't spend as much as the big brands.’ Compared to the cost of one promoted tweet, which can come in at around 30 USD (just over £20), Promote Mode could prove a cost effective option for small brands and boost their trust of Twitter as a viable marketing partner.
While the road ahead looks somewhat rocky, observers shouldn’t pronounce Twitter out of the running just yet. Combined with other changes such as the increased word limit for tweets announced in November, the launch of Promote Mode demonstrates that Twitter is fighting hard to adapt to changing times and prove itself a valuable marketing platform as we head in to 2018.