Twitter (TWTR) is set to report quarterly earnings after the bell today and one key metric investors will be looking at is user growth. It’s a stat that has been slowing of late prompting some to wonder if the popular social network has already hit critical mass. Yahoo Finance’s interactive editor Phil Pearlman notes that Twitter simply isn’t for everyone but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. Here are four ideas he has to help Twitter get its mojo back.
Don’t break it
“You can’t do things to the product that makes it horrible for (existing users). They’re the ones who have been using it forever. They’re your biggest evangelists,” Pearlman notes. That is to say that while the company experiments with things like altering the “re-tweet” it must be careful not to change the service for those that are already using it consistently.
Back in 2008 Twitter bought a company called “Summize” for about $15 million. It looked across the web for television, music, movie and book reviews and summarized them so the user could get a snapshot of what the web thought about a given piece of content. For Twitter it was thought to help them improve a lackluster search engine built into their product. So far Twitter has made only incremental progress in that area. As Pearlman says, “you have to make search amazing and then you have to monetize it and you have to go right after Google with that.”
Fix the sign-up process
We’ve discussed it on Breakout before but Twitter’s sign-up process leaves a lot to be desired. “When you begin using a new service...you should get wow,” says Pearlman. “It should be awesome from day one. They have to give you auto follows.” Let’s say you are interested in finance. You should be able to tell Twitter that and they will cultivate a list of follows for you like Jim Cramer, Mohamed El-Erian and yes, Yahoo Finance. “Then your stream looks great from day one,”Pearlman notes.
Pearlman says Twitter need to act a little more like Facebook (FB) when it comes to innovating its product. “Facebook, which is this gargantuan social company, still acts like a start-up,” he says “Twitter has to pick up the velocity of their excellent product launches.”
Do you think those four things can solve Twitter’s problems? What are you expecting from earnings tonight? Let us know...on Twitter.