Thu, 22 Jun 2017
Twitter is eyeing its Lite application to grow in South Africa to mitigate the cost of data.
In an exclusive interview with Fin24, Twitter senior director Barry Collins said that the company has observed high growth of its service in SA, and is excited about the launch of its lower data application.
“Twitter Lite is clearly a great solution for many parts of Africa today. While we see very strong smartphone usage of Twitter in South Africa, we do expect that large groups of new users will utilise the Twitter Lite client before migrating to the full experiences as more advanced mobile technologies becomes available to them,” Collins said.
The launch of Twitter Lite follows other social networks which have launched low-bandwidth applications to counter the high cost of data in SA specifically, and Africa in general.
Facebook also has a “Lite” application and Google typically hosts popular videos locally to save on bandwidth and increase performance. The search giant also makes a low bandwidth-friendly Gmail application and allows Maps users to save local areas for offline use.
Cape storms and Knysna fires
Platforms like Twitter are seeing increasing adoption, especially during times of regional crisis.
During the recent Cape storms and Knysna fires, many users took to Twitter and Facebook to tell friends and family that they were safe or to indicate areas where the fires or storm had caused damage.
“Twitter is both a unique service for our users and a multi-billion dollar revenue business. We are making sure that we are building something that people want to use every single day and that they value every single day. We are proving that we are doing that with the growth numbers we have been sharing in our earnings,” said Collins.
The company is intent on delivering return on investment for advertisers, and Twitter users would notice that advertising has crept into the timeline.
User growth has increased from 319 to 328 million in the first three months of 2017, and Collins said the company is also focused on delivering increased live streaming.
“Our audience continues to grow in all our major markets globally with accelerating momentum. As of the end of Q1 17, daily active usage (DAU) increased 14% year-over-year, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating growth. Monthly active usage (MAU) also increased 9 million quarter-over-quarter, reaching 328 million.”
But that user growth has not translated into growth for the share price.
Twitter’s share price peaked at $69 in January 2014, and as of Monday, the company was trading at $16.91 – it’s been stuck in the $15-$20 range for the last three months.
Reuters reported in April that revenue fell 7.8% to $548.3m, the first drop since the company’s initial public offering.
Collins trumpeted the Twitter’s ability to be a “news first” platform.
“We are focused on making sure that when you go to Twitter you see what is going on faster than any other service. And as we get better and better, Twitter should be the place that you hear about things first across the world.
“Over 70% of Twitter users are outside of the US and [...]