Amidst the turmoil of the Elon Musk experience, Twitter has continued to deploy new elements and updates, as it seeks to both maximize usage and revenue potential for the business – whoever ends up owning it.
Twitter’s also working to prove that it’s even more valuable, and significant, than its raw user count may suggest, by highlighting, where it can, the reach of tweets to non-users, which could number a lot more than its official active user stats.
Twitter’s latest effort on this front is a new prompt which pops up when you go to screenshot a tweet, asking you to either share in the app, or share a link to the tweet instead.
As you can see in this example, posted by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, Twitter wants to stop users sharing tweets outside of the app, which then results in reach and usage that it can’t track. That means that its usage data looks lower than it is, which is damaging for the business.
And it could actually be significant – according to this chart, which tracks meme origins based on ‘Know Your Meme’ data, Twitter is actually a key source of many, many web trends.
TikTok, as you might expect, is now on the rise for this element, but Twitter remains a key source of viral web trends.
Which many probably wouldn’t expect, given that Twitter’s user count is currently sitting on 238 million monetizable daily active users, putting it well behind Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat.
Twitter’s usage has remained relatively low, despite its efforts to reframe its stats and shift the discussion to more meaningful numbers. But Twitter maintains that the actual reach of tweets is far more significant than the numbers suggest - which it’s actually been trying to prove for years.
Back in 2015, Twitter unveiled a new plan to monetize the more than 500 million people who saw tweets each month but never actually logged-into the app.
500 million is more than double Twitter’s current user count, and in Twitter’s view, that’s more indicative of the level of influence the app actually has, despite the official numbers being comparatively low.
And it may have a point. Due to its fast-paced, real-time nature, Twitter is especially popular among journalists, who then aggregate the information sourced from tweets across many, many more platforms. This was especially true during the Trump presidency, in which the former President used his Twitter account to communicate policy decisions, and everything else, which had every news platform monitoring the app constantly.
As such, tweets likely do reach much further, and have much more influential impact than its active user count would suggest. But if Twitter can’t quantify that in actual numbers, the market can only go on the data that it has.
Which is why it’s now trying to find new ways to keep more activity in the app, which also includes experiments with new prompts to share tweets with people, even if they aren't signed up for the app, tweet view counts for broader engagement context, and an enhanced experience for non logged-in Twitter users.
If Twitter can get more people sharing in app, via these new prompts and tools, that could be a big win for the app, in showing that many more users are actually engaging with tweets than what it may seem.
But then again, if the app ends up going private under Elon Musk, which is apparently his plan, that might not matter for too much longer either way.
We’ll have to wait and see what comes next.