These days, Twitter seems to find itself in the news more than ever before, mostly thanks to its status as President Trump’s favorite platform for making announcements. But that exposure hasn’t translated into user growth, an area where it continues to be outpaced by social media rivals such as Instagram and Facebook.
Despite Donald Trump’s Tweets constantly hitting the headlines, Twitter’s fourth-quarter results from last week showed it had missed analysts estimates as revenue growth slowed. It reported a net loss of $167.1 million, compared to a loss of $90.2 million during the same period last year.
But what is probably Twitter’s most important metric – overall user growth – was just as disappointing. Daily active users may have seen a YoY increase of 11 percent, but its 319 million monthly active users were up by just 2 million from the previous quarter. Q4 was Twitter’s slowest 2016 quarter in terms of worldwide user growth, and in the US the figure didn’t increase at all.
Compared to other apps, Twitter is struggling badly. In the last two years (2014 Q4 to 2016 Q4), Facebook, once considered Twitter’s main rival, has seen its monthly active users (MAUs) increase by over 467 million, according to statista (via Business Insider). Instagram’s went up by 300 million, and Snapchat’s increased by over 87 million. Facebook’s two messaging services – WhatsApp and Messenger – were just as successful; their monthly user numbers jumped by over 500 million. Twitter, on the other hand, saw its MAUs go up by just 31 million in two years.
It’s a similar story when comparing quarterly figures; Facebook’s MAUs were up by 72 million in Q4, which is 70 million more than Twitter.
“The whole world is watching Twitter,” said CEO Jack Dorsey. “While we may not be currently meeting everyone’s growth expectations, there is one thing that continues to grow and outpace our peers: Twitter’s influence and impact.”
In December, Twitter said it would ban Trump if he violated the site’s rules, as it has done with certain alt-right figures. Should that unlikely scenario ever occur, it will be interesting to see how it affects the platform’s user growth.