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Why is Twitter making a comeback as one of the most popular social channels?

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Influencer on why now is the time for brands to use Twitter to grow audiences

Twitter has always been a popular social media channel, but over the past few years the platform has skyrocketed. Twitter’s most recent financial results showed that total revenue in the second quarter of 2021 was up 74% to $1.19bn, with monetizable daily active users up 11% year-on-year to 206 million in 2021.

Perhaps more impressive is how quickly the number of monetizable daily active users has increased over the past four years. In the late 2010s, Twitter seemed to be hitting a bit of a slump. However, this slump is well and truly over, as in Q2 of 2021 Twitter’s monetizable daily active users sat at nearly double its active users in Q2 of 2017.

This is an incredible increase, proving that Twitter is going through an impressive growth spurt. But why has the platform made such a comeback? We’re diving into the key reasons that Twitter has become more popular in recent years, and how brands can ride this high.

Top four reasons why Twitter has regained popularity

1. Twitter is a highly sociable and authentic channel

In March 2021, Twitter turned 15 years old. Ever since its conception, Twitter has always been a highly sociable channel where rapid-fire tweets can fire up authentic conversations across the globe.

Often referred to as the ‘diary platform’, Twitter is conversational, relaxed and highly authentic. It has a kind of confessional, candid element that other social media channels don’t have. Twitter seems to be a place where people feel free to reveal themselves, and share their moment-to-moment experiences.

This moment-to-moment experience sharing is encouraged by Twitter’s short word limit and ‘trending’ tab that allows users to get involved with current conversations.

The kinds of topics that people spoke about over the past year were often casual and fun, with users offering a running commentary on their favorite TV shows becoming a popular pastime. In fact, across the globe there were more than 7,000 tweets per minute about TV and movies.

During a pandemic, this conversational style of communication was exactly what people were craving. This is reflected in the fact that 9.6% of adults significantly increased Twitter usage during Covid-19.

Brands can capitalize on this conversational style, both by generating their own branded content and by collaborating with creators. The informal tone of Twitter enables brands to engage, delight and surprise users, unveiling different layers of the brand’s personality.

2. Twitter provides breaking news

Another key reason that Twitter has increased in popularity is the capacity to share breaking news on the platform. In a time when everything seems so uncertain, having an up-to-date commentary on world events can be invaluable.

Twitter’s fascinating round-up of the most talked about topics of 2020 shows that people not only use the platform to catch up with other people, but also to gain insight on vital news topics. The report states that #Covid19 was the most popular hashtag of 2020, with #BlackLivesMatter coming in second.

Twitter has fast become a place to find breaking news before news stations publish anything. With real-time insights into what’s going on where you are, Twitter provides uncensored news content that people crave in such an uncertain time.

3. Twitter made some key design changes

In recent years, Twitter has faced some criticism for changing its design, however it has arguably been one of its most successful decisions. By moving the horizontal navigation menu from the top of the screen over to the left-hand panel, Twitter made room for ​​a ‘What’s Happening’ panel on the right-hand side and an ‘Explore’ tab on the top left.

This faced some criticism at the time for trying to emulate Facebook, but these features have likely increased Twitter’s popularity in recent years. With the algorithm on the Explore page offering curated content that is hyper-specific to the user’s locations, interests and engagements, users can explore topics that they would have otherwise missed out on.

More recent updates in August 2021 have made the platform easier to read and less distracting. On August 12, Twitter announced that they were releasing updates for colors and typography that was to offer “higher color contrast of buttons, links, focus”. With a new easy-to-read font and more space between text, Twitter is giving users what they want.

Its new design features outlined this month seem to signal a new, more mature Twitter. What’s interesting about these changes is that Twitter seems to have evolved with its audience, and this is something that has given it staying power.

In 2021, Twitter’s global audience was composed of 38.5% of users aged 25-34. The second-largest age group demographic was adults aged 35-49, with a share of almost 21%. When you also consider that 42% of Twitter users are degree-holders, it paints a picture of a highly-educated audience. Arguably, the platform’s increase in popularity can be attributed to the user experience (UX) changes it has made that align with its key audiences.

For brands, the Twitter audience is highly desirable – being older, highly educated and more likely to hold well-paying jobs. As Twitter works hard to keep this audience engaged, brands should utilize the current opportunities on the platform.

4. The platform collaborates closely with creators

Another key move that has made Twitter more popular is its collaboration with creators. In August 2021, Twitter revealed that it is “launching an exclusive research community just for creators” that would exchange creators’ “ongoing feedback” for Twitter goodies.

Plus the platform has recently unveiled plans to roll out a ‘Super Follow’ feature, which will offer creatives the chance to deliver exclusive content, newsroom features and audio chats in exchange for a monthly subscription.

This commitment to working with creators is something that has made Twitter very popular. While other social media platforms have faced criticism from creators for making changes that don’t suit their needs, Twitter seems to put creator satisfaction at the heart of its strategy.

From a brand’s perspective, this makes collaborating with creators on Twitter much easier. Working with creatives on platforms that they know and like is always more desirable, and with new features making it easier for creatives to get paid on the platform, there is more incentive for creators to build a strong audience.

Twitter goes from strength to strength in 2021

In Feb 2021, Twitter’s share price sat at an all-time high – double that of its 2020 high – proving that the platform is in the midst of an ambitious growth period. It seems that the platform is going from strength to strength, with an army of loyal users and a creator-centric strategy.

For brands looking to grow their audience, there has never been a better time to utilize Twitter and grasp the many opportunities that the platform offers. Ad spend on Twitter is up significantly at the moment, with the results of these ads proving fruitful. Total ad engagements are up 12% comparing Q2 2020 to Q2 2021, and the Twitter audience seems very open to engaging with suggested and sponsored content.

Influencer works with an array of creators on Twitter, crafting campaigns that use insights and technology to drive real results. Get in touch to find out more.

Ben Woollams, senior client partner at Influencer.

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