Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is expected to continue growing rapidly for the near future, but just how many of the new users joining now will decide to keep using it on a regular basis? That’s a question investors, advertisers and analysts will have to speculate on as shares continue their volatility.
Converting Twitter experimenters into regular users
The Next Web‘s Jon Russell notes that the average Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) user doesn’t seem to be using the platform to discover links and comments made by others. Instead, they are following their friends and their favorite brands and celebrities. This sounds quite a bit like how people are using, which suggests to me that people are still quite a bit confused about exactly how to use Twitter and how it differs from Facebook.
Last year Josh Constine of TechCrunch noted that Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is indeed having a problem getting new users to stick around. Russell suggests that this is because they haven’t figured out the best way to use the platform. He notes that before the registration process is complete, new users are required to choose at least ten high-profile users from their region. Then they are continually offered suggestions about who else to follow, based on the websites they look at. This is how Twitter is attempting to get these new users to stick around and discover how it is different than Facebook and why those new users should keep using it.
Like Facebook, engagement on Twitter matters
One of the issues about Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) which was recently highlighted in a New York Times article is rising narcissism on the platform. People like to tweet things that make them popular so that they can get as many followers as possible. But Russell notes that this isn’t a crisis Twitter has to deal with. The point is that engagement will continue being an important metric for Twitter, just as it is with its more mature competitor Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB).
The micro-blogging site wants people to strive for popularity because it means engagement is increasing. And the more engagement increases, the more advertisers will be willing to pay to advertise on the platform. Power users, which include those who have managed to make themselves popular and follow thousands of users, will continue being especially important for Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), which is a much more public platform than Facebook.
These power users are driving engagement on Twitter. Take away the power users—many of whom are experts at narcissism—and Twitter may have to deal with declining engagement, an issue which has been worrying Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) investors. So the real question for Twitter is less about the content of what people are posting and more about whether that content gets clicks and sparks engagement on the platform. So will the company succeed in getting new users to discover how to enhance their experience on its site? Only time will tell, and investors and analysts will surely be keeping an eye on this.