Twitter is in serious trouble. Shares for the social media platform hit a record low on Monday, closing down nearly 6% to $29.27. That’s 58% below their peak in January 2014, and a drop of 45% over the last four months. Comments on growth from company executives have sparked intense concern among investors, and slowing user growth has begun to show a significant toll on the company – which didn’t grow its user base at all in Q2.
The decline comes after the company reported an underwhelming set of quarterly numbers last week, as well as news of several high level employees jumping ship. Former CEO Dick Costolo announced plans to leave two months ago, but has yet to be concretely replaced. Investor doubts are skyrocketing, especially after co-founder and interim CEO Jack Dorsey was remarkably candid about its problems in appealing to new users.
“We haven’t done a great job at aligning the entire company around our total audience strategy,” Dorsey said on a conference call. “We realize it’ll take some time to show results we all want to see.”
They’re going to need to hustle on those results, because the numbers are not looking good at all:
Twitter has widespread brand recognition through traditional media and a vocal user base highlighted by journalists and celebrities, but mainstream audiences remain confused about its value, and still look at the 140-character message platform with the same lemon-faced “what’s the point?” reluctance and ridicule we’ve all heard from relatives and Facebook connections.
While still struggling to acquire the mass market critical to its survival, they’re experimenting with new products that might make the service easier to use and the best content easier to find.
Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto said during the company’s earnings announcement last week that Twitter did not expect to reignite user growth for a “considerable” time. With plunging stock prices, Twitter execs are in an understandable panic to make the service more widely appealing.
Twitter is testing a news tab within its app, which showcases the top news headlines of the moment. The effort – currently being tested to select U.S. users – is meant to broaden Twitter’s appeal by making it easier to find relevant content. Interestingly, the news tab does not appear as a tweet stream, instead appearing as a list of headlines based on what stories are trending on Twitter.
The app’s standard-issue reverse chronological format is also being reconsidered, according to Dorsey, with a series of upcoming features which aim to appeal to Twitter loyalists and non-users alike. One such feature is “Project Lightning,” which will filter content to offer live events-based curated feeds when it rolls out later this year.
Right now, Twitter needs all the help—and all the users—it can get. But it may very well be too late. Speculation has already begun in earnest about who might be interested in acquiring the business.