Twitter CEO Dick Costolo recently revealed some startling numbers about the microblogging service at Web 2.0 in San Francisco that will blow your mind. 250 million tweets are being generated each day, new user signups increased at a 3x rate thanks to integration with Apple’s iOS, and 50% of their user base is publishing daily. That’s sort of growth is incredible, and it was all made possible thanks to Apple.
While at one time we were bearish about Twitter, if you were a Large Media client, you’ll know that the announcement from Apple was something we advised would be a game changer for Twitter. Putting the service at the fingertips of every iPhone and iPad user took Twitter from being an early adopter phenomenon to scale almost overnight. It was a bold move by Apple to embrace the microblogging platform, no different than how iMessage quietly changed texting forever for those using iOS devices over wifi.
There’s a great takeaway here for brands looking at playing with startups: First mover advantage as a marketer with new technologies is still a completely hit or (mostly) miss game. And much like an up and coming artist, there’s no guarantee of future success or a sustained career. Have a plan for why you want to partner with a startup and have an exit strategy. Remember, not long ago Gowalla was pitching brands on creating custom icons for $25k apiece, Facebook’s Page management features were horrendous which allowed third party apps to thrive and Twitter was struggling to figure out a revenue model and even shut down texting in the UK due to costs.
The iOS/Twitter integration provides another great takeaway for startups looking to break into mainstream: Forget throwing parties with social media influencers, think like a marketer and go after your target audience where they work, play and live. There are still four P’s in the marketing mix (and some might argue seven) and in the case of Twitter, the Apple iOS integration — Place, not Promotion — took a startup and made it part of your everyday life.