God, I’ll be happy when the Elon Musk/Twitter takeover deal is finally done with, so that I can finally stop checking in on Musk’s rubbish Twitter feed every day.
So what’s the latest on the Musk takeover fiasco?
Well this week, Elon’s team finally had a minor win, with a judge ruling that Twitter will be required to provide documents from former Twitter product chief Kayvon Beykpour as part of Team Musk’s evidence-gathering process, through which it’s seeking to prove that Twitter willfully mislead investors as to the amount of fake accounts on its platform
Which is the key sticking point, according to Musk, in the deal going ahead as originally planned. For months, Musk has questioned Twitter’s claim that only 5% of its active users ae bots or spam accounts – because in his personal experience, and that of other people he’s spoken to, it’s clearly much higher than this.
Which it may well be. According to Twitter’s own explanation:
“Twitter’s quarterly estimates are based on daily samples of 100 mDAU, combined for a total sample of approximately 9,000 mDAU per quarter.”
Twitter’s sample size of 9k accounts – or 0.0038% of Twitter’s total audience – does seem like a fractional review size, which likely isn’t producing a fully indicative result in this respect. But nevertheless, Twitter has argued that even if you disagree with its methodology, that’s immaterial to the takeover moving ahead, because Musk agreed to the original deal with its official disclosures on record, and with no further parameters for revision based on such.
So while Musk’s team is gearing up to prove that Twitter’s numbers are false, Twitter’s saying that its official statements and processes have been on record for some time, and have been accepted by the SEC in the past, which therefore negates Musk’s claims that this would constitute cancellation on the grounds of ‘Material Adverse Effect’.
In other words, nothing has significantly changed since the deal was agreed to, so it will, in Twitter’s view, be going ahead.
How new revelations from Beykpour change this remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely that the former product chief is going to be able to provide any significant revelation that will alter these stances either way.
But Musk continues to re-state his concerns via tweet, noting today that Twitter is ‘doing everything possible’ to avoid answering questions about how it verifies its audience data, and how many actual people are seeing ads via the app.
There is seemingly a case to be considered in regards to ad exposure, if Musk’s team can definitely prove that the vast majority of Twitter ads are not being seen by real people. But thus far, Musk and Co’s efforts to prove Twitter wrong have relied on questionable methodology, which likely won’t hold up in court in this instance.
For context, Musk’s team has claimed, based on its own investigations, that the number of fake/spam accounts is more like 27% of Twitter’s mDAU count, while only 7% of Twitter users are actually seeing the majority of its ads.
Could insights from Kayvon Beykpour change this?
I guess, in theory, if Beykpour wanted to harm his former employer, he could dig up some dirt from past discussions on such, which could raise more questions about Twitter’s methodology. But then again, as noted, Twitter has directly stated that it’s only ever measuring 0.0038% of its audience for bot traffic, on a rolling, month-by-month basis. Twitter has been open about this, as outlined in its methodology. There doesn’t seem like much more could be said to cloud its claims.
Maybe that’s why Musk is already gearing up to pay for the app, recently selling almost $7 billion in Tesla stock in preparation for a transaction.
It does seem, on balance, like Musk is on the back foot, and will be struggling to wriggle out of the deal, based on the agreed terms. At least, Twitter’s legal team seems confident that they have the details locked in – though we won’t find out for sure till October, when the trial begins.
Twitter Tests New Tweet View Count Display to Better Highlight Content Reach
Not entirely sure about this.
Today, Twitter has launched a public test of a new ‘Views’ count on some users’ tweets, which displays the total number of times that each of your tweets was seen in the app.
As you can see in this example, posted by @chimponsey, in the expanded tweet activity display, some users are now also seeing a ‘Views’ listing, alongside ‘Retweets’ and ‘Likes’.
The count is also indicated by an eye icon in the main tweet stream.
So, cool, right? Now, instead of thinking that people are seeing your tweets and not engaging with them, you’ll know for sure, which should do wonders for your self-esteem.
Technically, the feature doesn’t add anything new, in that you can already view your tweet impression count in the full tweet analytics display (accessible via the graph icon on your tweets).
‘Views’ and ‘Impressions’, of course, are not the exact same thing, but as confirmed by Twitter, this is the data that people seeing.
So why put it in the general info display, and confront people with that figure?
At a guess, I would assume that this is part of Twitter’s ongoing effort to demonstrate that it’s more popular and influential than its general usage numbers may suggest.
Twitter, for example, currently has 238 million monetizable daily active users, which puts it well behind Facebook (1.9b), Snapchat (347m) – basically, every other big social app has more users than Twitter, which has struggled to grow its audience over time.
But according to Twitter, this doesn’t tell the whole story, as many people are consuming tweet content regularly, despite not logging into the app. At one stage, Twitter pegged its ‘logged out’ monthly user count at 500 million, more than double its actual usage figure.
That’s a significant story for Twitter to tell, because it points to the broader influence of the app, which could make it a more valuable consideration for brands, thought leaders, creators, etc.
Maybe, by making tweet view counts more present, that will help to reiterate this – because maybe, even though your tweet only got 10 likes, 10,000 people actually saw it.
I mean, that still doesn’t seem like hugely helpful data to have from a self- confidence perspective. But maybe, by knowing that you are actually reaching a lot more people than the Like and retweet figures suggest, that will help you revise and refine your tweet approach to improve engagement and response.
Some users have also reported seeing profile view counts in the app as well, which falls into the same category, with profile view data also already available in your tweet analytics.
Maybe, by making these insights more front of mind, that could have a positive effect – or the negatives of such are minimal enough to justify a full test either way.
I guess, what Twitter really needs to know now is whether having this data more immediately available then reduces people’s propensity to tweet. If you’re seeing that a lot more people are viewing your tweets than you’d thought, because your other engagement stats are low, that could make you feel like you’re not great at tweeting, and see you share less as a result.
If that happens, Twitter will no doubt switch it back – but it could also, as noted, give users more context as to the true reach potential of the app.
Twitter has confirmed that the new view count display is currently being tested with a small group of users.
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