Almost 92 percent of the UN member countries have a Twitter presence, and 95 percent of the G20 countries are actually active on Twitter. The platform supports 35 languages and has over 313 million average active users per month. The US has the largest volume of Twitter users, followed by Japan (35.65 million users), Russia (13.9 million), and the UK (13.7 million).
Ex-employees of the search engine giant, Google, by Evan Williams and Biz Stone, designed Twitter using Ruby on Rails, a specialized Web-application framework. The Ruby programming language allows open adaptation and integration with any other online services, making it an optimal tool for the platform. The duo was working on a podcasting venture, Odeo, and then introduced a parallel short message service (SMS), which they later christened as Twttr.
This looked like a promising app, and immediately Williams began to develop it further with the help of Jack Dorsey. Twitter was then launched at the South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas, in March 2007. A month later, it was converted into a corporate entity, Twitter, Inc. What started off at just a free SMS turned into a social networking platform that gave stiff competition to Facebook.
Twitter’s business model was not very clear, and the founders initially made no plans for generating revenue through banner advertising or even membership fees. Users started adopting Twitter more out of curiosity. But soon, the company was faced with the challenge of revenue generation, especially because the social networking giant Facebook was already reaping profits, and was heavily relying on venture capitalists to fund their company. It was obvious then that the company introduced “promoted tweets” to earn revenue. This was nothing but advertisements that would appear in search results, similar to the Google Adwords.
Once celebrities took to Twitter, more users started joining the network. To date, celebrity “e-watching” remains one of the main attractions of the platform, though Instagram seems to be beating Twitter to it. But slowly, the platform started attracting SMEs to promote their businesses on the platform, and political parties used it for their campaigns.
2008 U.S. presidential election, Barack Obama dominated his opponent, John McCain, in the social media sphere, amassing almost four times as many Myspace friends and more than 20 times as many Twitter followers. This development virtually ensured that future candidates would include a social networking presence as part of their media strategies. In 2009 the post by a twitter user (Janis Krums) of the water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York City, giving the platform its first credibility as a channel for sharing news and socially relevant events.
Soon thereafter, in 2009, #IranElection became the most sought and discussed topic on Twitter. Once the state media sources reported Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory, the tension that followed, was tweeted and retweeted on walls of users. The opposition candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi’s followers, posted live updates of events on Twitter.
The exchange of information was huge, and Twitter was requested by the U.S. State Department to delay its maintenance schedule to not impact the new flow. Even when media houses were banned, Twitter continued to convey news through users sharing snippets on their walls. Twitter emerged as nonconventional media with an insurmountable social impact that could overlook government censorship.
Twitter became a news dissemination platform. In 2009 the incident of Georgian economics professor’s tweets on the history behind the 2008 military conflict between Russia and Georgia made the site crash, with users trying to access the information. Again the Haiti earthquake of 2010 reaffirmed Twitter’s role in making global news accessible to one and all. Many celebrities started donating and urging others to help the victims, in turn helping the Red Cross raise more than $8 million within 48 hours.
Twitter’s popularity had surged so much that by 2013 the company was ready to list itself in the New York Stock Exchange and declare itself as a public company. Its market value was estimated at $31 billion.
Awards and Achievements
The Twitter demographics show that 34% of Twitter users are females, and 66% are males. In the US, there are 48.35 million active Twitter users. People are constantly using the platform, with statistics indicating that there are 42% of the users on the platform on a regular basis.
Net Worth of Twitter in 2023
Twitter’s major revenue source is advertising and data licensing. To advertise on Twitter, one can promote their service or product through a tweet, or promote the account itself, or promote a trend. Nearly 85% of the revenue comes from advertisements alone. Like most online advertising, the business model is either pay per click or pay per tweet. Businesses can choose the option that best suits them. Twitter also allows businesses to avail of its data for a small price for trend analysis and other market insights that emerge from tweets, usage patterns, and other activities on the platform.
Twitter has not reported any profits yet. In fact, in 2015, Twitter’s annual net loss is $521 million. Though its net loss was on the decline, the company continues to record net losses. As per Forbes, the company’s market cap was $26.4 billion, and sales worth $3 billion. The total revenue generated for the last quarter of 2019 was $1.01 billion. It earned $885 million through advertisements at a 17% year-over-year rise, with total ad engagements increased by 29% year-over-year. Mobile networking revenue contributed to 88% of the total advertising revenue. The net worth of Twitter is around $35 billion as of February 2023.
Though Twitter is the second biggest social media platform, in terms of market value, it lags behind Instagram and Snapchat. The US is the biggest market for the platform generating $591 million in revenue. The market is growing at 17 percent year-over-year. The app is available on AppStore and was downloaded 11.7 million times. The platform has a huge user-base, so the company has limited tweets to 2,400 per day. With Twitter capitalizing on advertising revenues, it looks like the company may be entering a profitable period soon.