From a financial perspective, Twitter’s narrative has been relatively straightforward since it went public in 2013. The company has always struggled with user growth. It couldn’t — and never likely will — grow at the pace or to the magnitude of Facebook, Snapchat, or WhatsApp. But Twitter has in the past been capable of growing the amount of money it makes every quarter. That narrative is changing, and it’s not looking good for the company. Today, Twitter is having trouble gaining users and making money from displaying ads to those users.
Twitter’s problems stem from two areas:
- In 2012 it decided to clamp down on third party clients (Tweetbot, Tweetings, etc.). The openness that Twitter had toward these clients really helped Twitter take off, and was fundamental in the creation of a touch gesture that is almost universally used, the pull to refresh which made it’s debut in Loren Brichter’s Tweetie app. The app was so popular that Twitter acquired the developer in 2010. Twitter was getting free R&D.
- A complicated product. Trying to use all of the features of Twitter requires quite a bit of research and practice.