by Emma Lo Russo, CEO, Digivizer
Jack Dorsey’s news marks another milestone in the history of social media, Twitter in particular.
Early commentary has focused mostly on the financial, investment and technology implications for Twitter.
Twitter serves its purpose for many businesses and individuals. It has so many good examples of news sharing, reliability, and allowing businesses to create custom/curated news feeds, and of course advertise.
There is, however, no question that it has not seen the growth in market share enjoyed by other social media and digital channels (and their shareholders). A new CEO, in the promotion of their CTO, Parag Agrawal, may bring new insights, direction and results.
(A great example for me of an in-house leader appointed to CEO who delivered great growth while staying true to brand is Microsoft’s Satya Nadella.)
But perspectives are inevitably narrow, influenced by our own views of the world.
What’s the bigger picture in this news, in particular for businesses and organizations seeking to understand what this means to them?
In my view, every digital channel has a specific part to play in the business aspirations of every company.
What’s most important is to understand where each channel fits, how each delivers, and what each contributes to the engagement an organization has with its audiences and customers, and the commercial success of the organization overall.
Don’t generalize: understand
Some reactions to Dorsey’s news have been that people will leave Twitter. Some are questioning it’s long-term relevance. But to generalize is a mistake. As an example, a colleague of mine has, just this morning, heard from three senior journalists connected via twitter, who each use social media in three very different ways.
To understand individual social media channels is what matters. They will always evolve, always change their technology, and may even appear and disappear from the market.
As examples, over Digivizer’s history, Instagram, Pinterest and Snap launched, Facebook has evolved markedly (and of course recently changed its name), TikTok has recently appeared, features such as Twitter’s Vine and LinkedIn stories have come and gone, gaming channels such as Facebook Gaming and Twitch have grown significantly and set new live broadcasting accessibility standards, and content channels such as Patreon have appeared.
The result is a multitude of options for creators and brands as to where they should play to win.
What matters to businesses is understanding where channels fit, and how they perform. That’s why Digivizer continues to add channels and analytics functions to our platform – most recently Amazon Ads (to sit alongside Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google Ads and Google Analytics), but also improved attribution analytics, web performance, improved SEO measurements, and improved measurements for return on advertising spend (ROAS) across multiple channels.
What’s the data say?
As channels come, go and change, we continue to provide a single view that takes in multiple channels, perspectives and value points.
As I type this, I’m looking on our platform at the performance of Digivizer’s own social media channels. A quick change of date range, and here’s what I see over the past month (pictured in the snapshots below):
- Engagement on organic content on Twitter has decreased by 32% and yet video views have increased by 420%.
- Engagement on Facebook is down 36%
- Engagement is up on LinkedIn by 69%
- I can also see that, for the same period, Twitter declined as a source of traffic to the Digivizer website by 25%, and it’s #8 on the list of traffic sources overall
When I open up the dates to the current quarter, the picture changes:
- On organic content, engagement has risen in all social media channels, including with Twitter.
- As a source of traffic to our website, Twitter has dropped 68% quarter-on-quarter (although we had paid media turned on last quarter).
And I can see that when we have paid media on, Twitter has been one of the most-effective channel sources for driving traffic and event participation, including earned media (as measured by the number of new users to site, cost-per-click, goal conversions, the number of earned media mentions, and the number of earned media engagements).
My point? Things change week to week, month to month, quarter to quarter.
Program context, content and objectives change. The key is to investigate what drives those changes and performance outcomes. And this includes the content and objectives you invest in.
The debate – the “so what” – is not about the future of Twitter, or any other social media channel or digital platform.
It’s about which channels are available right now, the parts they play, the cost of creating content for channels and the investment being made in paid media, and whether or not all of this effort and investment delivers the returns needed.
The role and purpose of each channel in a sales and marketing funnel is also important, and each channel will likely play its own unique part as customers move on their journeys through that sales funnel, from discovery to purchase.
For businesses seeking to understand what Dorsey’s news means, and “what next for Twitter”:
- focus on where your audiences are (which might be Twitter, or somewhere else)
- understand how they use social and digital media
- tap into those conversations based on relevant message to context (understand where they are and what context you can engage in)
- Set continuous tests and hypotheses – then use data to understand where each channel plays its part, at what stage of the awareness to conversion funnel, and which are delivering the best returns, at any given moment.
As a partner of Twitter, I applaud Jack Dorsey for the platform he has built and look forward to seeing the next stage in driving relevance and growth that the new CEO Parag Agrawal aims to deliver.
To see where Twitter works for you across organic, earned and paid media, and how Twitter performance compares to the performance of other channels, go to digivizer.com for a 30-day free trial.