Twitter dives as Facebook continues to thrive

Facebook continues to defy expectations with incredible growth in virtually every important area of business success, and its accomplishments stand in stark contrast to Twitter's decidedly tepid performance.

Facebook and Twitter, the pioneers of social media, aren't even in the same league anymore. The two companies' performance and outlook could not be more different: Twitter continues to stall out, while Facebook keeps pushing into higher gear.

This week's Twitter and Facebook first quarter 2016 earnings reports indicate the gap between companies is widening. Facebook's net income nearly tripled year over year to $1.51 billion; revenue jumped 65 percent to $5.38 billion; and mobile represented 82 percent of all ad revenue during the first quarter. And despite having a monthly active user (MAU) base that's three times larger than Twitter's in the United States, Facebook added 12 million U.S. users during the last year. Twitter effectively added none.

Facebook also commands more of people's attention. "Today, people around the world spend on average more than 50 minutes a day using Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, and that doesn't even include WhatsApp yet," said CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the company's earnings call.

Twitter's first quarter results weren't a complete bust, but the company lacked the growth and execution that make Facebook the powerhouse it is today. Twitter's revenue increased by 36 percent to $595 million; the company added 5 million users; and it cut its losses in half on year over year. However, Twitter hasn't seen a profitable quarter in more than a decade.

Facebook ended the first quarter of 2016 with 1.65 billion total MAUs, and Twitter reported 310 million total MAUs. Despite Facebook's massive size, it still managed to add 60 million users, while Twitter mustered only 5 million MAUs, or roughly 8 percent of the users Facebook added during the quarter.

Why Facebook continues to outpace Twitter

Some of Twitter's most significant problems have been apparent since its early years, and they continue to dog the company today, according to Brian Blau, research director at Gartner. "[Twitter] did not execute on the business as well as Facebook did, even if you were to compare them during the same time of growth."

Facebook did a better job of understanding the social context for consumers, while Twitter suffered stumbles, false starts and executive turnover, Blau says. "Facebook is a more ubiquitous type of a service — long form, person-to-person social communications. That's what it's set up for," he says. "Twitter isn't, it's meant to be short form."

Many people are still uncomfortable with Twitter's short, public conversations, and that holds the company back, according to Blau. "If you participate in Twitter's conversation you are part of that news," Blau says. "There are people that are just not accustomed to having that very public persona — they don't know what to do in that realm."

Twitter was wise to make tweets its core value proposition, according to Blau, but he expects the company to follow Facebook's lead by expanding the short messages into a more immersive and engaging format. "[Twitter] hasn't figured out how to properly churn the business" and reinvent its platform to meet the market's demand for constant change, Blau says. "The real problem, to be honest, is their track record and their inability to execute based on that track record. They haven't proven themselves in the way that other companies have, given that there's a similar appetite for these services."

Twitter has some good fundamentals, as proven by its ad business, but it has yet to provide a mechanism or clear strategy for growth, according to Blau. Meanwhile, Facebook continues to build upon its proven formula. "Despite all of the pseudo issues they've had, their Achilles heels, people screaming at them because they're not doing the right thing, [Facebook has] done just fine."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments
cmo-xs-promo

Latest Videos

More Videos

Thanks for your feedback, Rabi. While we introduced the ROO concept using a marketing example, I also believe that it is pertinent to man...

Iggy Pintado

Introducing Return on Outcome (ROO) - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Thanks for your insight, Philip. Return On Outcome (ROO) requires balanced thinking with the focus on outcomes as opposed to returns.

Iggy Pintado

Introducing Return on Outcome (ROO) - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Beautiful article.

Hodlbaba

15 brands jumping into NFTs

Read more

"Blue" is really gorgeous and perfectly imitates a human customer support operator. Personally, I won't order a chatbot development for m...

Nate Ginsburg

Why the newest member of BT’s contact centre is a chatbot

Read more

As today’s market changes rapidly, the tools we use change, and it is important to adapt to those changes to continue to succeed in busin...

Anna Duda

Report: 10 digital commerce trends here to stay

Read more

Blog Posts

How the pandemic revealed the antidote to marketing’s image problem

What does marketing truly ‘own’ in most organisations? Brand and campaigns, definitely. Customer experience? That remains contested ground.

Murray Howe

Founder, The Markitects

Still pursuing a 360-degree view of the customer?

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” It may have been true in 1993 when this caption to a Peter Steiner cartoon appeared in the New Yorker. But after 30 years online, it’s no longer the case.

Agility in 2022

Only the agile will survive and thrive in this environment and that’s why in 2022, agility will need to be a whole-business priority.

Sam McConnell

Melbourne bureau chief, Alpha Digital

Sign in