I have been bearish on Twitter (TWTR 19.64 +0.16 0.82%) for a long time now. But at no point did I ever expect the stock price to drop below $17 per share without someone attempting a takeover. Last year, there were experts singing the praises of the changes Twitter was making to attract new users, and increase user activity. Today, many of those same Wall Street experts have gone negative, looking for Twitter to hit $10 per share.
Despite Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO, reassuring users that he understood “Twitter is live. Twitter is real-time. Twitter is about who & what you follow,” during their Q4 2015 Conference Call, Twitter continues to double-down on becoming more Facebook-like. Last week, when news broke about Twitter’s timeline changes, #RIPTwitter started trending. Dorsey attempted to do damage control. However, the platform has moved from being an innovator to playing a game of follow-the-leader.
Here are some positives from Twitter’s conference call:
- Video views increase 220 times between December 2014 to December 2015; the introduction of native video capabilities was credited.
- Direct messages increased 61% year-over-year. The increased character limit, from 140 to 10,000 characters, was credited.
- Twitter’s active advertisers were up 90%, year over year.
- Advertising growth was driven by a 153% increase in ad engagements.
However, the average cost-per-engagement, the revenue Twitter collects from advertisers per engagement, decreased by 41% year-over-year, canceling out some of the gains.
In its shareholder letter, Twitter has stated that there will be “significant changes” to the platform in 2016. If these changes are more Monkey See, Monkey Do, we can expect Twitter to continue to decline. Creating a weak tea version of Facebook has not created growth, and one wonders why Dorsey and company want to continue down this path.
While we are at it, we should mention LinkedIn (LNKD 195.96 0.00 0.00%), which is significantly down from a 52-week high of $276.18 per share. The potential collapse of both these social media giants means marketers need to look for alternatives. Who will be their replacements, or will Facebook become the only real game in town?
Marketers need to be aware of Twitter and LinkedIn’s troubles and begin to consider a world where these networks to not exist. If these companies don’t take a hard look at what they are doing and make positive adjustments, their time will end,