Twitter Buy-out Hopes Crash After Teen Survey Finds No Interest

Twitter fail whale stencil (Wapster / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
Wapster / Flickr / CC / Cropped

Twitter’s stock collapsed on October 14 — at one point falling over 8 percent — after potential suitor Salesforce withdrew its interest following the release of a “Teen Survey” that found virtually no interest in the Twitter brand by youth.

Although CEO Marc Benioff signaled strong interest in Twitter, Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) as an “unpolished jewel” on October 5, institutional shareholders and Wall Street analysts savaged the idea and sent Salesforce’s stock plunging the next day by over 6 percent.

But it may have been the results of Piper Jeffray’s newest “Teen Survey” that found virtually no interest in the Twitter brand among the youth demographic that advertisers most want to engage that caused Benioff to drop out his bid and comment, “It wasn’t the right fit for us.”

Twice a year since 2001, Piper Jeffray has surveyed more than 140,000 teens to collect over 37 million data points on teen “spending in fashion, beauty and personal care, digital media, food, gaming and entertainment.” The stated goal is to “get a better feel for what young people like, ranging from favorite handbag brands to top restaurants and (importantly for Eye on Tech) their favorite social media platforms.”

Snapchat garnered what Madison Avenue brand specialists refer to as the “Iron Throne” — a teen’s top preference — with 35 percent of the vote. That were followed by Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) Instagram division, which lost the crown this spring, but still saw a slight gain to a 24 percent preference of teens.

It appears that social media engagement is up at Instagram, because it specifically copied some of Snapchat’s biggest features. But Facebook engagement preference among teens fell to single digits and Twitter was virtually nonexistent in the survey.

Other notables results of the Teen Survey found that Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) website topped the list of favorite shopping sites with a 40 percent vote, followed by Nike (NYSE:NKE) with 8 percent. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) took the top spot for consuming video with a “whopping” 37 percent preference, but Google’s YouTube also passed cable TV to take the number 2 spot in teen preference.

The demise of Twitter appears to have been largely self-inflicted. Breitbart News reported extensively on the mid-June 2015 Twitter board room coup d’état by ultra-liberal and big Barack Obama campaign “bundler” Chris Sacca, who orchestrated booting CEO Dick Costolo. At the time, Twitter was the #3 most popular social media site, with a 316 million monthly-active-user (MAU) base and rapid growth, trailing only Facebook and Instagram.

Costolo was deeply loved by Twitter and its employees, and had a social media community reputation for not muzzling conservative thought, despite being headquartered in the “People’s Republic of San Francisco.” Costolo’s “Abusive Behavior Policy” was considered the fairness-in-social-media gold standard:

Users are allowed to post content, including potentially inflammatory content, provided they do not violate the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service. Twitter does not screen content and does not remove potentially offensive content unless such content is in violation of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service.

But in the 16 months since Costolo was ousted and Twitter has knuckled under to the leftists’ Thought Police, Twitter’s MAU has flat-lined at 313 million and the company has tanked to the #9 most rated social media website. The company has been passed by Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, QQ, We Chat, QZone, and Tumbler. Twitter is now also on the verge of being eclipsed by Baidu Tieba, Skype and Sina Weibo.

Twitter’s stock is down by over 52 percent in the 16 months since Costolo left, and that is after bouncing up on speculation that the company buy-out would foster a bidding war. With the lack of teen engagement explaining why big companies like Google and Disney have lost interest in bidding on Twitter, the unprofitable company could have a tough time surviving on its own.



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