Facebook boasted 162 million unique visitors for the month of July, while Twitter had about 32 million, each up 2 million respectively from the previous month. So what is going on here? Are new people signing up for accounts in droves? Could be, but the phenomenon is more easily explained by changes in usage habits.
eMarketer reports that while people use Facebook for personal interactions like messaging with friends, they tend to use microblogs like Twitter for disseminating content. Basically, users are sharing more. Cool links, pictures and video have replace the idle "wow I'm really bored" tweets that everyone hates (seriously, don't tweet that everyone hates it).
I suspect this change was aided in part by apps like Flipboard, which convert media shared on your social networks into a custom magazine. Sites like Tumblr have incentivized sharing. Tumblr operates by users blogging and reblogging each other’s content and has become ground zero for a number of hilarious viral memes (like this one or this ). These addictive services offer users vetted content that is easily integrated into other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
This all seems great for the two companies but can they convert these eyeballs into viable revenue streams? Facebook has already been pretty successful at attracting advertisers, with ad dollars accounting for about 90% of its revenue this year.
Twitter has begun testing advertising models with ‘Promoted Trends’ and ‘Promoted Tweets’ fetching hundreds of thousands of dollars. Twitter is experimenting with 30 big name brands - the two previously mentioned options as well as ‘promoted accounts.’
‘Promoted Tweets’ come with a Twitter label on the bottom indicating that it is promotional, are privileged in search results and will eventually appear in users’ timelines.
‘Promoted Trends’ appear in the 'trending topics' section of a user’s homepage, which is prime real estate on the microblogging site. Brands like Coke have reported extremely high levels of engagement with this option.
Finally, there are ‘Promoted Accounts,’ which suggest your account to users in the 'Who to Follow" section of user profiles. This option works like a suggestion engine only suggesting your brand to users who have shown an interest in similar services or brands.
CMT has had measurable success using Twitter's ad options. Using a combination of 'Promoted Tweets' and a 'Promoted' Account' CMT was able to drive traffic to voting sites and video pages connected to the CMT music awards. By the end of the campaign CMT had gained 4,000 new followers and #CMTawards was used over 300,000 times the night of the show.
Coming up from behind is Google+, which gained 25 million users in the first month, making it the fastest site to hit that milestone. Google+ has yet to integrate advertising as it is still in its infancy but with Google's already well-established and successful ad network in play it's sure to be a dominant force.
Speaking of Twitter, Newsy has recently changed our Twitter handle to @NewsyVideos, follow us today!