Twitter continues to soar in terms of traffic and Comscore reports on some of the reasons Twitter is one of the most interesting applications to come around in a long time. I think the demographics analysis helps us understand why “Twitter is different”. For the first time in Social Media history the earliest adopters of the application are not the youngsters, but rather a very representative cross section of America. This is important because it’s an indication Twitter will have considerable staying power and also is appealing to a crowd that has the resources to make it more valuable than otherwise, and potentially more valuable than Myspace or Facebook, the clear 800 pound social media gorilla that remains the most significant player by far in the social media space. However at Twitter’s current rate of growth it will surpass Myspace by next year and Facebook within a few years, though it’s not clear from this the data that Twitter will continue at the current phenomenal growth rates.
From my own experiences I do think Twitter represents something really different and superior to the Facebook experience, and that is the real time large group interaction. On Facebook I usually don’t have enough friends online at the same time to interact, and more importantly I usually just want to say “hi”, trade a bit of news, and eavedrop on other conversations. This is easier on Twitter. Much like a large party filled with interesting people where you know “some” people and are learning to meet others, Twitter allows you to follow interesting threads and then hop over to some other one, in the meantime dropping notes or your own quips as you hop around. It matches will with the short attention spans that are natural to our human conditions but also allows detailed follows ups with experts or company representatives or close friends.
Watch Twitter – it is the most significant new online application in many years.
The Google / Comscore clicking clash is really an interesting story from a lot of angles. Comscore’s recent report that came earlier this week about Google pay per click metrics sent Google stock into something of an immediate tailspin, losing Google tens of billions in market capitalization as soon as the report came out. However, today Comscore is claiming their report does not directly support the ideas that Google click ads are in trouble and that the recession is going to kill online ads.
Comscore notes the two concerns others express from their findings:
1) a potentially weak first quarter outlook for Google, and
2) an indication that a soft U.S. economy is beginning to drag down the online advertising market.
And then says their report does not directly support these conclusions:
While we do not claim that these concerns are unwarranted, we believe a careful analysis of our search data does not lend them direct support. More specifically, the evidence suggests that the softness in Google’s paid click metrics is primarily a result of Google’s own quality initiatives that result in a reduction in the number of paid listings and, therefore, the opportunity for paid clicks to occur. In addition, the reduction in the incidence of paid listings existed progressively throughout 2007 and was successfully offset by improved revenue per click. It is entirely possible, if not likely, that the improved revenue yield will continue to deliver strong revenue growth in the first quarter. Separately, there is no evidence of a slowdown in consumers clicking on paid search ads for rest of the US search market, which comprises 40% of all searches.
I’m still digesting the larger report but it seems to suggest that Comscore sees *no reason whatsoever* from their data to assume Google will have a bad first quarter, and if I’m reading them correctly they are effectively saying there is reason to think the quarter’s earnings will *improve* because the revenue per click is improving and paid clicks are increasing? Confusing because these are the almost exact opposite of the conclusion made by market watchers based on the same data.