TweetDeck Can't Cure Twitter's Zero Growth Problem

One of TweetDeck’s most valuable features is its ability to create custom channels (News, Sports, Finance, etc.) based on search interests or personal Twitter lists. This is something that Twitter could and should have leveraged previously, with the creation of preconfigured “verified” channels (a feature that would help users filter out trolls, noise, and fake news).

TweetDeck originally supported other social networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn (which is no longer in Twitter’s target zone). Snapchat, Facebook, Facebook’s Instagram, Pinterest, and Google’s YouTube are apparently now its core focuses, as this grab from the survey reveals:

Five or six years ago, when it still supported Facebook (FB) and LinkedIn (MSFT), TweetDeck could have very easily been morphed into a social media management tool and hit a homerun as a social customer engagement portal. However, TweetDeck fell prey to Twitter's desire to become a platform and resource for others. Rather than build/expand tools that would make it a true app provider, Twitter instead focused on being a “platform” (which it never achieved), and driving revenue through advertising and by selling access to the Twitter data firehose. It eventually killed off the iPhone/Android versions of TweetDeck in 2013 and culled back its functionality to exclusively focus on Twitter (available in OS X and Mac/PC browser versions). This was a missed opportunity.

Twitter dropped the ball again in 2013 when one of the strongest independent Twitter analytics tools, Topsy, was acquired by Apple (AAPL) for $200m. The combination of TweetDeck and Topsy would have been brilliant, and in the direction with what Twitter is contemplating today (Apple shut down Topsy after a couple of years, leveraging its search and analytics technology into its own products).

Could such an approach work today?

Unlikely.

The size of the market for social media engagement tools is equaled only by the number of well-established providers in this rapidly maturing segment. In its survey, Twitter specifically calls out a targeted list of competitors, many of which are already extremely well-established in this market: Sprout Social, Hootsuite (TweetDeck’s closest competitor), Falcon Pro, Tweetbot, Echofan, Buffer (more of a timing/posting tool), Social Booster, Media Studio, Sprinklr, Twitterrific, and SocialBro.

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Disclosure: I am/we are long FB, MSFT; I am/we are short AAPL. 

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Kurt Benson 3 years ago Member's comment

Excellent analysis of the challenges facing #Twitter. $TWTR

Fred McClimans 3 years ago Contributor's comment

Thanks, Kurt - I appreciate the feedback! Twitter is one of those companies/equities that has had tremendous potential. As a user, I rely upon it every day. As an investment, however...