Faced with a similar picture, Snap zooms in while Twitter zooms out

Thursday, July 22, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

Twitter fingers and Snap faces... Social media earnings season has officially begun. Twitter and Snap report today, so we're diving into a few key differences between the blue bird and the little ghost.

  • Users: Snap's daily users jumped 22% to 280M last quarter, while Twitter's jumped 28% to 199M. So far, so similar.
  • Revenue: The dollars are close — the growth rate isn't. Snap's quarterly revenue soared 66% to $770M, while Twitter's jumped 28% to $1B.

One ghost, one bird... two different growth strategies. Snap is laser-focused on delivering on its plan to increase annual revenue by 50% for the next few years, so it’s investing heavily in tools to attract ad dollars. Twitter is focused on growing users and engagement, so it's taking a more experimental "see what sticks" approach to its product.

  • Focusing in: Snap is focused on growing ad revenue through features like Snap Maps (it's Yelp-ifying it) and Discovery (so many ads). Recent acquisitions — like virtual clothes-fitting app Fit Analytics and the 3D product imaging startup Vertebrae — underscore its goal of improving formats for advertisers.
  • Focusing out: Twitter’s investments have been more eclectic. In January, it snagged social audio startup Breaker and newsletter startup Revue in hopes they'd drive engagement. In March, it shut down live streaming app Periscope due to low usage. And it just killed its Stories feature "Fleets" for the same reason.

"Fail fast and make things"... doesn’t always work. Snap’s more focused strategy is panning out better so far: its market cap is nearly double Twitter’s, and its ad revenue grew 6X as fast last year. By doubling down on one product — the camera — Snap has built lasting features for users, which means it can focus more on catering to advertisers. Until Twitter puts its core product into focus, it might continue to struggle to grow its ad biz.