Is it time for President Trump to cue up the “you’re welcome, Twitter” tweet?
The commander-in-chief’s tweets have brought the social platform daily exposure in the one year since he’s taken office. At the same time, Twitter’s stock has leaped more than 60 percent since January 2017 — including posting its first quarterly profit during Q4, the company reported on Thursday.
So, despite the occasional threatening tweet to North Korea giving everyone a mild heart attack, it’s time for Twitter and its shareholders to say “thank you, President Trump,” right?
Eh, not exactly. The notion the president is drawing new eyeballs to the platform isn’t really backed up.
“Trump in some ways hurts the media as people turn him and it off when he’s on it,” Ross Gerber, President and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management, told TheWrap. “Twitter is a niche platform for the few who care to be informed. They are far from growing or out of the water.”
Gerber added Twitter “isn’t saved” at all: The platform’s monthly active users have essentially stalled, only climbing from 328 million to 330 million in the last year. In the U.S., the numbers were even less impressive, with Twitter going from 69 million to 68 monthly users. And while the company reported a 12 percent increase in daily users, it didn’t disclose how many users that actually is.
You could make an argument that daily peeks are up because passive users want to see what Trump tweets next. But a source at Twitter told TheWrap that’s overthinking it, too. Internally, the company has little reason to believe President Trump, despite his headline-grabbing blurbs, has impacted its business much. It’s essentially a neutral game: those that are drawn to his tweets, like a moth to a flame, are offset by those that are repelled away by the same tweets.
Instead, Twitter’s 12 percent stock jump on Thursday can be attributed to more rudimentary business reasons. The company cut its expenses by 28 percent, and stock-based payments dropped considerably. Revenue only increased 2 percent to $732 million, but that could continue trending upwards, after Twitter updated its algorithm.
“If you show the right tweets to the right person at the right time, it creates user happiness,” BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield told the New York Times. “That means more time spent on the site, which means more opportunities for advertising.”
As a businessman, President Trump would surely understand that — and also know taking a victory lap for his favorite social media company’s success would not be a wise decision.
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