Predictions for the Future of Twitter and LinkedIn
Published: April 29, 2015
Author: Hillary Read
With earnings calls this week for LinkedIn and Twitter, we thought it prudent to ask our experts for some insights about the future of both networks. Here’s what they had to say.
Twitter is doing an excellent job of monetizing their users. The ad formats are richer than other social advertising, they’re iterating very quickly, and end advertisers are seeing good results. Therefore I am optimistic about the earnings side of things. However, the pace of user growth (anemic in their industry) will probably keep the stock from going up. – Robert Brady, Clix Marketing
Twitter has made great strides in recent months to ramp up their advertising platform, but they are still falling short of Facebook (which, given how young they are, is to be expected). Although Facebook has become a huge mobile platform, it also has a strong desktop presence. Twitter, on the other hand, typically sees much higher CPCs and CPAs on desktop. This is because the audience on Twitter is smaller than Facebook to begin with and because it is very much a mobile platform.
Targeting on Twitter has improved greatly in recent months. We can now create custom audiences to retarget or to create similar audiences off of (the equivalent of Facebook’s lookalike audiences). In my experience, these similar audiences tend to have a lower CPA than all other targeting options within Facebook (the exception being retargeting).
Twitter recently launched website cards, which is a new ad unit that directs users off of the platform and includes a tweet, image, headline, and description. These are similar to the link posts on Facebook. We are finding these ad units to be the most successful. – Molly McCarty, 3Q Digital
Even with a finance degree, it’s hard for me to predict the noise quarter-to-quarter on Twitter. The staggering drunk’s walk second by second is random, but we know the general direction. Twitter has made it clear they believe a few million dollars in charging companies for access to data/analytics is more important the billions in ad spend that advertisers would commit if they have visibility into their brand’s performance.
Data is the fuel that powers advertiser budgets and optimizations. So only a few paying customers can access it. Imagine a struggling restaurant with potentially decent food charging for admission and for parking.
Data is the heart of monetization, so unless Twitter can get a feed or some form of noise filter, their audience base will keep declining. Highlights and Periscope show promise, but are too little, too late, unless Twitter can stop spam from robot profiles and tweetbots. Facebook has won the network game and there is only room for one power company in any town. – Dennis Yu, BlitzMetrics
They’ve got numerous sources of revenue (subscriptions, advertising, self-serve ad platform, etc.), which gives them a lot of ways to increase revenue during a quarter. Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them exceed expectations on earnings. They’re also growing at a good clip, which helps move the needle as well. I would anticipate mostly positive results. – Robert Brady, Clix Marketing
LinkedIn is a different animal, since they pride themselves on being a network for business growth, not leisure — to invest time instead of waste it. The professional market in the United States is solidly entrenched on LinkedIn, so the speed of LinkedIn’s ad growth (not counting job posting fees and premium services) is tied to their ability to create custom audiences and smarter ads. While cautious in rollout of features that mimic Facebook (similar in functionality, but different in name), LinkedIn doesn’t have to worry. I’m bullish on their growth over time. – Dennis Yu, BlitzMetrics