Published On: Wed, Feb 17th, 2016

How Standalone Apps Can Grow Twitter’s Stagnant User Base

Twitter has a expansion problem. Well, Twitter indeed has a series of problems — worker retention, profitability and miss of trust among doctrinaire users to name a few — yet user expansion seems to be a many vicious area.

Our own Josh Constine explained that Twitter burnt bridges with impending new users a prolonged time ago given it was, and mostly still is, formidable for them to fast find value from a service, distinct roughly each other amicable network on a world — many importantly Facebook.

Now, Twitter is adopting a vital underline from Facebook: a choice to uncover some tip tweets in non-chronological sequence when we open a mobile app. But what it should be doing is holding another root from Facebook’s notebook: Build more standalone apps to play to Twitter’s several strengths. 

Indeed, charity differentiated services could boost Twitter’s interest to those who don’t use it by elucidate a “Why do we need Twitter?” question while also providing a differentiated knowledge for those who have lost faith.

Twitter’s latest quarterly news showed flat user numbers — the same 320 million active users that it had during a finish of 2015. If we negligence users that accessed a use around SMS, and therefore aren’t unprotected to ads, a Twitter user bottom indeed declined from 307 million to 305 million over a final 3 months. Put simply, Twitter is still struggling to attract new users.

What doesn’t onslaught to attract new users? Facebook, Twitter’s biggest rival. To enlarge a interest and engagement, quite on mobile devices, Facebook uncoupled a series of a services on mobile with, in some cases, good success.

It launched Messenger as an discretionary standalone private and organisation discuss app in 2011. In 2014, Facebook incited a screws by taking out Messenger functionality from a core mobile app altogether and forcing people to download a apart app if they wanted to use Messenger on mobile. Messenger now has 800 million monthly users. We’d also disagree that splitting out a dedicated app has helped Facebook Groups strech 1 billion monthly users on that service. Instagram was never integrated into Facebook, and conjunction was WhatsApp.

Even Facebook’s reduction successful projects — Snapchat-like Slingshot and other now-defunct products from a Creative Labs unit — supposing lessons in how users correlate and what kind of services interest and don’t appeal.

Twitter, like Facebook, has of march kept some of a pivotal consumer app acquisitions (in Twitter’s case Vine and Periscope) as apart apps. But we consider it could and should spin out even some-more services given it, too, is a amicable height and there are many opposite use cases for it.

Twitter’s biggest strength is a dexterity. Different people use it in opposite ways. Twitter’s biggest debility is also its dexterity. An ambiguous use box confuses impending new users who wish to know accurately because they need to download a new app. That’s accurately where standalone apps, transparent in their purpose, could precedence a strengths of Twitter’s height and dilate a interest over those 320 million people that get a use in a stream form.

Messaging is substantially a many apparent area where Twitter could spin out a standalone app, and there are some signs that indicate to this as a healthy subsequent step. A DM app has been rumored before, and there have been apps combined by third parties that have explored a idea, too.

In a meantime, there is some movement around DMs during Twitter. The association has grown a functionality of DMs by expanding over 140 characters and vouchsafing people send some-more than plain text. And final week, Twitter noted that DMs in Q4 are adult by 61 percent over a year ago.

Even yet messaging has turn a jam-packed space where a few players dominate, a Twitter DM app could compute itself adequate from WhatsApp by regulating a username-based ID complement and not phone numbers, as good as from Messenger, so people could send messages though a container of Facebook.

A new messaging app seems like a no-brainer, as it speaks to a heart of Twitter’s DNA as a lean-forward origination tool. But what about a lurkers?

There is a completely opposite instruction that Twitter could go with standalone apps that would help a association improved censor some of a weight of tweeting, better aiming it at those who don’t wish to use it that approach though irritating those who adore to twitter by compromising those features.

Celebrity monologues and luminary beef, like Kanye West’s new exchange with Wiz Khalifa; sports and news updates; and other information that doesn’t need a response from users all flow by Twitter. These can be grown into standalone Twitter apps.

A Gossip app that is radically zero some-more imagination than a Twitter list of celebrities built out into a media news service; or a violation news app for your favorite sports team are services that, if finished in a right way, could interest to a wider organisation of people over those who are Twitter’s core user bottom today.

Throw in a event to supplement opinions and voice ideas — radically twitter by a opposite middle — and such apps could attract new Twitter users, not to mention also offer advertisers opposite kinds of opportunities to marketplace themselves.

This media play has been attempted to some grade with Twitter’s Moments feature, yet it’s not a satisfactory comparison. Moments feels half-baked and, given it exists usually inside Twitter’s app — as a tab, no reduction — it doesn’t seem like a kind of feature that will ever be means to lure millions some-more users.

The doubt is, will Twitter ever do any of this? Does it wish to? Ironically, one approach to exam a marketplace could have been to inspire some-more third-party developers to emanate services like these.

Twitter could have substantially combined a micro-app ecosystem years ago if it had given a required collection to a developer community, rather than shutting developers out. These days there are few third-party Twitter apps of note, Tweetbot being a many manifest example.

Regardless of how Twitter does it, one fact remains: There’s an increasingly obligatory box for the association to expand a efforts as a height if it wants to truly grow into a media association over a state currently as a rather stalled amicable network.

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