Twitter Inc PT Cut Amid Call For “Significant” Improvements

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Twitter faces more and more of an uphill battle as management’s continuing efforts to turn things around keep coming up short. Even analysts who see great potential in the micro-blogging platform are losing faith that management can execute a successful turnaround.

Twitter still facing user engagement problems

MKM Partners analyst Rob Sanderson slashed his price target for Twitter from $18 to $14 per share in a report dated May 16. He describes the execution risk associated with the company as “significant,” adding that it “looms large.” He notes that the biggest concerns are the company’s inability to improve the user experience enough to spur user growth and its loss of major “influences” in important areas. He even sees the possibility that Twitter’s network will simply collapse and adds that Wall Street’s skepticism is justified because the company’s revenue growth has slowed down significantly.

He believes the micro-blogging platform’s only hope at this point is to significantly improve its products so that growth is reignited. Further, he sees management’s lack of comments on the new Moments feature, which was supposed to improve the user experience significantly, as a big negative. Moments was one of their top initiatives and was designed to streamline the entire user experience.

Sanderson notes that users have been complaining about Twitter’s “conversation module” for years. The company plans to push out improvements to the conversations later this year.

Twitter management accentuates the positives

The analyst notes that there have been a few weak rays of light with Twitter, like the 48% increase in follows and 208% increase in ad engagement recently. Also the number of video views increased 20%, while direct messages grew 50%. Further, management said the new logged-out mobile experience caused the amount of time spent on the site to improve 1%, and an additional 3% more users converted from being logged-out users to active logged-in users.

Twitter management estimates that logged-out users and those who see embedded tweets on third-party sites might be worth up to $1.3 billion per year. The micro-blogging platform is monetizing logged-out users through Yahoo Japan and Flipboard using syndicated promoted tweets, Sanderson notes.

Twitter shares edged upward during regular trading hours on Tuesday, climbing as high as $14.33.

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