Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is never going to kill Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). That much is clear from the earnings report the company released on Tuesday afternoon after the market closed on Wall Street. The company’s user base is no longer growing as quickly as its investors were expecting, and the term ancillary social network is becoming more and more appropriate.
The problem on Wall Street appears to be a confusion between the idea of an ancillary social network that supports an becomes a necessary part of the internet ecosystem, and an extraneous social network that could be cut off at any time without much resultant damage. MySpace is the latter, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is not.
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Twitter problems are a Facebook weakness
The problems that drove Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) stock down more than 10% this morning are not with its business. They are problems with the hypothetical business model the market has built for the company. That model is so clearly built on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) that its construction requires detailed explanation. It appears that there is none. Twitter is not Facebook, but it was never trying to be.
A world of social networks rather than a single Social Network, appears alien to those on Wall Street. Some companies, with LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) have differentiated themselves to the extent that their businesses are viewed separate from the social network scene, but companies like Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) are competing directly with Facebook for social networking customers, at least in the minds of investors.
If is looked like Facebook were to stop growing at 200-300 million users the company’s shares would have been rightly hit. Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is not playing the same game, however. The firm is trying to bring in advertising revenue, but not in the same way as Facebook has been. Twitter is necessary by itself, and investors need to begin seeing it as ancillary rather than extraneous.
Twitter is a necessary platform
Ad sales at Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) doubled in the first quarter of 2014. The company’s business, which at the end of the day involves selling audiences to advertisers, is growing at an appreciable rate, and that’s set to continue through the year ahead. Those are the numbers that investors should be concentrating on.
Twitter is not supposed to be the social network for everyone. It’s supposed to be the social network for the incredibly active broadcaster. Not many people ever occupy that role, and most only do so for relatively short periods in their youth. It’s difficult to keep tweeting with a job to do.
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is designed to appeal to those people, and those people tend to be major influencers of opinion. Journalists, celebrities and corporate PR agents all circle around Twitter and stories from the social network work their way into the media multiple times every day.
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is not Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), but it is not trying to be. Investors should concentrate on what the company is doing, rather than some abstraction of a potential business. One helps shareholders to make informed decisions. The other leads to the kind of trades that drove the price of the company’s shares above $70 and below $40 in a matter of months.