It is no secret that Twitter has been struggling to expand its user base. The company has tried many strategies to remedy that, including changing the specifics of its 140 character limit and adding an instant news section called Twitter Moments.
The most recent change, however, represents a fundamental change to how Twitter categorizes itself. The social network has relisted itself on the Apple app store as a “News” app rather than as “Social Media” app.
This change comes in light of the report that Snapchat has surpassed Twitter in its number of active monthly users. This can only be bad news for Twitter; Snapchat is still something of a start-up, and does not have the advantages (like NFL deals) that Twitter has. It has become clear that Twitter needs to redefine its mission.
The move from social media to news makes sense for Twitter because over the years its target audience has shifted. The latest study from Pew Research shows that 59% of Twitter’s users get their news from the site and a 54% of them can be categorized as News Seekers rather than just as people who happen upon news. On the other hand, only 38% of Facebook users reading the news can be categorized as News Seekers even though 66% of its users get their news from the website. By comparison then, Twitter caters more toward people who use the site as a serious news source.
By finding a specific target audience in News Seekers, Twitter can take the opportunity to find more effective monetization methods and build a better experience for its core users. In the meantime, businesses on the micro-blogging site need to adapt to Twitter’s changing user-base.