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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Innovations in retail will bring creative and technology closer than ever

While approaching a customer in a shop and asking what you can help them with is Retail 101, how many of us actually enjoy being approached? Generally, you have to give the forced, fake smile and say, “Just browsing, thanks,” while screaming on the inside, “just leave me alone!” Maybe it’s just me?

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

There’s a brand in my digital soup

Not a day passes by in the life of business executives where digital innovation or the prospect of disruption is not front of mind. This in turn, drives an unrelenting flow of questioning, discussion and strategy papers.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Can marketers trust agencies again?

Unless you’ve been marketing under a rock, you’ll probably have questioned whether your media agencies are offering you transparency.

Nic Halley

Founder and managing director, Mindbox

Nice post Brad! very useful information. The retail stores are really mean for every brand I am agree with you. Now Online Service Market...

Srialto

The rise of online retail marketplaces and what they mean for brands

Read more

Minor correct Nadia, just wanted to clarify that the "Marketo consultants" that did this work, were actually Hoosh consultants

Fab Capodicasa

What it's taking for Edible Blooms to grow a stronger personalisation strategy

Read more

Im not surprise though, been in the industry for couple of years and I feel and see it with my tow eyes how eCommerce platforms innovated...

Jason Smith

Australia Post earmarks $20m for Australian ecommerce innovation investment

Read more

For marketers that are "going Agile" I recommend using Ravetree. It's a really powerful suite of tools for Agile project management, reso...

Janice Morgan

7 ways to run your marketing department like a software startup

Read more

Over the years very part of our lives has become technological. That’s why I am not surprised to see that Australian home loans are going...

GreatDayTo

Why Aussie Home Loans is embracing digital transformation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in