Will Twitter Crash Under The Pressure?

By on May 1, 2014
Twitter Crash

According to a recent survey:

  • 30.6% of brands are still undecided on whether Twitter is an effective marketing tool.
  • 34.7% of brands are not interested in Twitter’s paid services.
  • 16.9% weren’t even aware that they existed.

This is bad news for investors already swimming in uncertainty leading up to the eighth anniversary of the platform and the expiration of the lock-up period on May 6, when 464 million shares will be available for sale. That’s approximately five shares for every one currently traded.

Do I have to remind you that Facebook’s stock plummeted the day its first lock-up period ended to 50% lower than the share price on the day the company went public?

In social media, Twitter is like the popular kid in high school, and that popularity has spilled over into the investor market. But behind the novelty of 140 characters is the reality that Twitter is not producing results. So while platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are getting bigger and stronger and headed off to college, Twitter is being left behind.

And Twitter’s not the only one losing. Brands attempting to use the platform to drive marketing success are either coming up empty, or perceive the platform is driving success but have no real way to measure or demonstrate results:

  • 96.2% of brands report having challenges using Twitter as a marketing tool.
  • 45.1% of brands cite their biggest challenge with Twitter is measuring ROI.
  • What’s worse, 78% of brands have been using the platform for two years or more.

Why is it taking brands years to quantify the impact of Twitter on their overall marketing success?

Could it be due to the fact that that 77% of Twitter accounts are held outside of the U.S., which means brands targeting U.S. consumers have access to only 55.4 million users? Could it be due to the fact that many of the tweets originating from those users are automated?

So who’s really listening? Who’s the real audience?

The bottom line is that the numbers are shrinking and, at the end of the day, brands banking on Twitter are playing a game of “and then there are none.”

Even the site’s features are failing brands. Vine is cute for cat videos and skateboarding tricks, but brands aren’t using the feature. So, why not create a 30-second offering that brands can better leverage to get their messages across? Why not offer training on how to capitalize on it? Why isn’t Twitter making more of an effort to better serve its own target customers?

Will Twitter Crash Under The Pressure?

All things considered, when the volume of shares goes through the roof on May 6, who is going to buy them?

Well, every cloud has a silver lining and in this case, it’s that more than 40 percent of brands using Twitter say they plan to explore Twitter’s paid services in the future. So if Twitter can figure out how to make its advertising services successful, then there could be hope for the platform.

But in the meantime, can Twitter hold off the pressure of the May 6 lock-up period expiration, and the following earnings call in June?

I don’t think so.

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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