Twitter has not been able to turn the activity and attention into user growth or ad dollars, even when some of the most memorable moments of the U.S. presidential campaign played out on its platform, says Reuters. On Thursday when the company reported its quarterly earnings, CFO Anthony Noto acknowledged that the presidential election has had “no noticeable impact” on Twitter’s user growth. According to analysts, user growth is very important for boosting revenue.
Twitter fails to turn election buzz into user growth
In 2016, the social network has been the most dominant platform for journalists, candidates and pundits. Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, was frequently tweeting against fellow Republicans and his rival Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Also media outlets often started an online debate on the social network.
Political organizations and campaigns told Reuters that the social network is simply not the best medium for political advertising. The micro-blogging site is not as effective as rival Facebook at targeting crucial independent voters, and high-profile users like Clinton and Trump can use it without purchasing any advertising.
Alixandria Lapp, executive director of the House Majority PAC, said they have not really used the micro-blogging site, mostly because their main mission is to reach undecided voters. According to campaign digital strategists, the misinformation and hate speech which the social network is unable to control could also be a barrier to buying ads.
According to Reuters, comScore data on mobile users suggests that the micro-blogging giant reaches around 45% of voters who are not affiliated with a political party or are registered as independent, while Facebook reaches 94% of these voters.
Vincent Harris, an Austin-based digital strategist who does some work for Trump, estimated that around 5% of his clients’ budgets is spent on Twitter, while 30% is spent on Facebook. A survey done by his company, Harris Media, suggested that about 28.7% of voters said they spent time on Twitter in the last month, while 81.6% of voters spent time on Facebook.
Twitter discontinues Vine, cuts jobs
Meanwhile the micro-blogging giant continues to try to control costs. Twitter announced that it would cut 9% of its global workforce to keep costs even as quarterly results exceeded the beaten-down expectations of Wall Street. As part of a broader restructuring, more than 300 employees will be affected by the job cuts. This figure is similar to the previous round of reductions announced a year ago.
Also the social network declared that it would discontinue the video app Vine. The video app, which played short clips on a repeat loop, had struggled to compete with Facebook’s Instagram.