Business Today

A Star In Decline?

Twitter in India has more to worry besides the bots purge.
Devika Singh   New Delhi     Print Edition: August 26, 2018
A Star In Decline?

Twitter has, over the years, emerged as a communications and information channel rather than a social networking site. This could be the reason why the company labels its app under the 'news' category on Google Play. The company has undoubtedly carved a niche in the segment and started the year on a positive note by registering the first-ever net profit and 335 million monthly active users. In its latest quarterly results, profits stood at $100 million.

While Facebook and Instagram are clear leaders in India, Twitter has held its position among the top five and also reported a 17 per cent rise in revenue in FY2016/17. As per data from analytics company comScore, Twitter's total digital population in India was 56 million in May 2018 compared to 21 million in October 2017, a jump of 168 per cent. The company is yet to file its India earnings for FY2017/18.

Will Twitter's ongoing clean-up drive to get rid of fake accounts and malicious content impact its growth here? As dependency on automation and technology is relatively lower in India, and mostly manpower is used to control content, the impact will not be very drastic, says Suveer Bajaj, Co-founder of digital agency FoxyMoron.

But there are other concerns. While its growth has been steady, it is nowhere near Instagram's. According to Statista, as of July 2018, Instagram had 67 million monthly active users in India, making it a clear number two. Experts say most brands and marketers are now flocking to Instagram instead of Twitter.

"Brands are investing in Twitter, but the quantum is on a much different scale. On Facebook and Instagram, even smaller brands are investing massively, but only big players invest on Twitter," says Pooja Gururaj, Lead, Channel and Social Media, VML India. "The excitement of Twitter has moved on to Instagram when someone wants to create a buzz wants to get the word out there," says Zafar Rais, Founder, Mindshift Interactive, a digital marketing agency.

Twitter has introduced several initiatives such as decentralised inventory and opened its dashboards for billable purchase to woo the marketing community and Indian advertisers. "However, we have not seen any major returns from Twitter as an advertising platform. But in marketing, we have seen people get converted from angry to happy customers, " says Rais. "It is a great platform because it still allows you to find people, engage with them and convert them into customers."

Even then, Twitter only gets a small share of the digital marketing budget and is preferred as a channel to manage customer relations and market research. Also, with the growth of vernacular social networks in India, the space has become more competitive. So, the coming quarters could be decisive about the social networking giant's future in the country.


Twitch Tutorial on Live Streaming

Live streaming is not an easy feat and that could be the reason why video platform Twitch has decided to launch a Twitch creator camp that will help users build their streaming brands. The online tutorial will feature live video sessions so that rookie streamers can be coached and guided. The topics covered include best practices, engagement and monetising videos.

YouTube Discards Black Bars

YouTube has removed the black bars that used to show up on the side of its non-wide-screen videos like square and vertical videos. The feature has been recently rolled out for the desktop version of YouTube video player. Simply put, a video's aspect ratios will be automatically adjusted to suit the display screen size, thus ensuring optimised viewing. Earlier, this feature was made available on Android and iOS interfaces and the latest update "aligns the desktop and mobile viewing experiences". Videos in standard 16:9 format, vertical videos and those in the older 4:3 composition will all be affected.

Twitter Continues Clean-up Drive

In an attempt to make live streaming safer and abuse-free, Twitter has issued a set of guidelines for users. These apply to all broadcasters on Twitter and Periscope, and forbid users from posting content which is pornographic or violent, encourages self-harm or suicide, intends to impersonate someone or infringes on someone's intellectual property. Members of the Twitter community can also monitor the chat rooms on Periscope. Twitter says it will suspend or ban accounts if they violate the new guidelines.

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