State of Social Media, 2Q 2017: Twitter Fails to Grow Users

State of Social Twitter

Twitter, the 140-character stream of what’s happening now, surprised everyone by reversing its Q1 growth and falling flat – literally – with no quarterly user growth. Let’s see what else happened in their Q2 earnings.

Audience Growth

We see the surprise below: 0.0% growth from quarter to quarter for Twitter’s monthly active users:

Twitter, during its earnings call, said that their analytics are subject to high seasonality. With that in mind, let’s look at year-over-year growth, per quarter:

Above, we see some indications that the worst might be over; Twitter’s year-over-year growth this year has been better than the same time periods in 2016. The litmus test will be Q3 growth; Twitter needs to show strong growth year-over-year then.

Ad Revenue

On the revenue front, things don’t look great for the blue bird. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, Twitter showed a mild 3% improvement over Q1:

However, if we examine Twitter’s data through the same lens of seasonality, we see that 2017 has not been a banner year:

Its average revenue per user is still well below the gold standard benchmark of $2/user.

Looking Ahead: What It Means for Marketing and PR

Twitter noted in its shareholder letter that the fastest growing area has been in data sales; with this in mind, expect that any competing forces which could undermine data sales growth would be quashed by the network. This presents a potential quandary to marketers; Twitter’s open data stream forms the backbone of most social media marketing and influencer marketing measurement. If Twitter were to pull back strongly on data availability, we could expect to see a number of social media influencer tools take a functionality hit.

Given this backdrop, it’s essential for all marketers and communicators to continue building and growing their own databases of influence. When the day inevitably comes that data is restricted (by legislative fiat as much as by corporate policy), that will be all marketers have to rely on.

Otherwise, our guidance remains largely unchanged from previous quarters. Twitter is still the best choice for major events, conferences, and the news of the day. Twitter should remain a part of your digital marketing mix if major events, news, and conferences are part of your marketing mix as well.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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Posted on August 7, 2017 in Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change. Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim. He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.
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