Over the past week Twitter’s value has plummeted another 10% – the value of its shares is now just above what it was at its IPO. Even Snoop Dogg says they need to spice it up, and is using the hastag “Snoop for Twitter CEO”! But what would you change if you were Twitter CEO?
That was the sixth topic on the most recent TWIO episode, and here’s what our guests had to say about it…
ROB WEATHERHEAD: I wouldn’t employ Snoop Dogg, I’ll be honest with you! I actually think that…I know it’s a little while since the IPO. It’s still slightly too early to judge. If you look at the product development route map, even from the point that Twitter had, a lot of it is not around what we would consider the uses of Twitter for a lot of it; it’s around engagement with more traditional media means. So tying with TV schedules and integration with more traditional media that they’ve still yet to implement some of the things that they had in the plan then, and that obviously opens up potentially huge financial implications. You know, if they can tap into some of those large advertisers a little bit more.
The bigger problem they’ve obviously got is the audience. It’s still quite a niche audience in many ways. Whilst I’m sure that people on this call are avid tweeters, the average Joe in the street is still far, far more disengaged with Twitter and confused about what it is for them or what it could potentially be of use for them. So that’s the larger challenge they’ve got, is how they reach a much broader audience and that’s going to be the key to their growth, basically.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, and we’ve got Libert’s Leanne saying that, ‘Quality over quantity is important. Agree with Ben that you have to think about why you’re using social. Engagement is key.’ So you can pay her later for that one, Ben!
BEN MAGEE: Absolutely! Perfect £20, that!
DAVID BAIN: So Stewart, are you a Snoop fan?
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STEWART ROGERS: Ah Snoop, bless him! Depending on which surname he’s running with at this particular moment, he is a master at getting attention and he’s done incredibly well. And wherever there is some attention to be got, he’s very, very at leaping on that. In a way, by the way, that doesn’t antagonise people. We were just talking about people being negative but when you think about Snoop Dogg, you only ever usually think about good things, even though when you deeply think about Snoop Dogg, you think about illegal activities, but you still think, ‘Well he’s a cool guy.’ When he gets involved in a topic he does so in a calculated way because it gets more eyes on Snoop and that’s admirable in the way that he does that. A lot of people could learn from him in that respect.
Twitter has a number of problems and I’m not entirely sure how they’re going to fix them at this point. Obviously people are playing around with buy buttons and one of the things that we’ve seen a lot, especially in our mobile studies on VB Insight and in some data that I recently got from Skimlinks as well, looking at how people buy things, they will use the mobile to do lots and lots of research and then a lot of the time, up to 70% of the time, will actually wait until we get back to our laptop or desktop before we get the credit card out and go ahead and buy that thing.
And so that causes problems for marketers because cross-device attribution, working out where the sale started and where it ended is actually really difficult and it’s not anywhere near as easy as you might think. So that’s a problem for marketers.
The buy button isn’t working that well for Twitter and the reason it isn’t working that well for Twitter is because Twitter is like Matrix code. It just flickers down the screen. If like me you’re following a couple of thousand people, tweets don’t last very long. They disappear very quickly. That’s a problem for even a beautiful mobile buying experience, the one that they are trying to deliver.
The other issue they have of course is that people like me like that about Twitter, and Twitter users generally like that about Twitter. We don’t want another Facebook where they go ahead and change the stream based on an algorithm and show us the stuff they think we want to see. We like the fact that we see what we see when we see it, in the same way that people love Snapchat because it’s there, it’s immediately and if you don’t catch it, it’s gone.
So they have these balancing issues. People love the Twitter experience. They don’t want a Facebook experience but tweets disappear really quickly so the buy button isn’t working very well and they’re going to have to figure that out. And I love Snoop Dogg to bits but I don’t think he’s got the technical ability to solve that problem.
DAVID BAIN: And Ben and Paul, for you is there anything that Twitter are obviously missing at all or do you think that it is a significant challenge and they’re going to have to really think out of the box to actually come up with something different to move their business forward?
PAUL HUNTER: For me, my problem with Twitter is that it can serve so many different purposes. So you can go on there for entertainment, you can go on there for education, you can go on there for news. And when you’re following other people it’s all kind of there. Everything. If you want to look for one specific thing, you’re often struggling and I think they could possibly make better use…whether that’s making better use of lists or… I know it’s a feature but I’ve never used it. So that’s my problem with it.
I think another problem with it is the beef with Instagram, which you’re never going to resolve, ‘cause it’s obviously owned by Facebook. And obviously there’s a feature there to tweet Instagrams but no one clicks on the links. I believe they tried their own kind of photo version that filtered stuff but that obviously never took off. So yeah, I don’t know the solution to these problems.
BEN MAGEE: Neither does Snoop Dogg.
PAUL HUNTER: Yeah, neither does Snoop Dogg. I think his first tweet was, ‘Get the moolah’ – that’s one of his things.
DAVID BAIN: But we can’t improve on Snoop’s suggestions then basically is what we’re saying.
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PAUL HUNTER: Yeah, maybe he is the best person on it!
DAVID BAIN: And Hannah. Now Hannah, I actually muted you a second again. Sorry, you can unmute yourself. That’s great, because I couldn’t unmute you, so that was great. I didn’t want to keep you muted. I think you just had a party going on behind you or something like that.
HANNAH THORPE: I’m going to be honest. Our boss has got her child in the office and he is having a great time!
DAVID BAIN: But you’re not?! So are you an avid Twitter user? And what are your thoughts on what Twitter maybe aren’t doing so well and what they should change a little bit?
HANNAH THORPE: So I’m an avid Twitter user now but when I first started out I remember my best friends forced me to get Twitter because they’d had it for years and they couldn’t understand someone that wouldn’t want it. And then I had that moment earlier today. So we had an intern and he asked, ‘Why would you actually want Twitter?’ And I never understood that people just wouldn’t get it anymore and you kind of get so into this industry that you expect everyone to be on Twitter and to be all about the social all the time, that you don’t really recognise that. So I kind of think, let someone like Snoop Dogg who doesn’t work in the industry do it, and he’ll do really well! I mean, it’s got to relate to someone that isn’t used to it.
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