Despite Twitter's new leadership, stock prices are plunging. Can the company's Periscope app save the day?
Fortune reported on Friday that Twitter's stock had reached an all time low, falling to just under $20 a share for the first time since the company went public. Since then, stocks have dropped even further, hitting $19.33 at their nadir on Monday.
Even Twitter's announcement that it is considering raising character limits for tweets to 10,000, instead of the platform's trademark 140, did little to help its plummeting stock prices. In the first week of the year alone, Twitter stock fell 13 percent. It is down 22 percent from its IPO price, just two years ago.
Enter the app that Twitter purchased for $86 million a year ago, Periscope, which now allows users to broadcast live video directly to other Twitter users, instead of forcing them to click away from the site though an external link. Twitter hopes this new integration of Periscope, which had previously existed as an independent app, will bring in more users.
“We’ve simplified our roadmap and organization around a few big bets across Twitter, Periscope, and Vine that we believe represent our largest opportunities for growth,” says Twitter co-founder and chief executive officer Jack Dorsey in a statement.
Periscope has been relatively successful as an independent entity, with users starting more than 100 million live broadcasts since the app's launch in 2015, according to Periscope CEO Keyvon Beykpour. The app's integration into users' Twitter feeds will allow all users, not only those with Periscope accounts, to view Periscope videos.
"Imagine scrolling through Twitter, reading about Mitch Oates’ underwater adventures," says the Periscope's team in a blog post. "You suddenly find yourself peering through a hole in your timeline out into his world, via his live broadcast. This adds a whole new dimension to Twitter."
The app does have at least one drawback. Videos posted through Periscope are taken down after just 24 hours, although Mr. Beykpour revealed that the company has plans to allow users to save their broadcasts, a feature that will let Periscope (and now Twitter) users ride viral trends until their extinction.
Periscope is a young app, but its growing popularity makes it a valuable addition to Twitter's platform. AppAnnie, an app analytics company, ranks it in the top 20 social networking apps for the iPhone. Apple ranked it the best iPhone app of 2015.
Mr. Dorsey has been pulling out the stops to increase Twitter traffic since he returned as Twitter's interim CEO in June, but investors are still skeptical about the company's future. Thus far, Dorsey's innovations have borne little fruit. Stock prices remain low, as Twitter has maintained the same number of monthly users, about 320 million, throughout the year. The announcement of vastly greater character limits for tweets was met with a negative reaction.
Yet, Dorsey has achieved some small victories in recent months. These efforts include the reinstatement of Politwoops, a site that saves politicians' deleted tweets, and the release of a product update called Moments, which allows users to gain an understanding of a specific event through a collection of user tweets and multimedia posts.
Twitter has also had previous success with integrating apps into its platform. It acquired Vine in 2012, and the app has since been incorporated into Twitter feeds.
Whether or not Periscope can bring Twitter the traffic it needs remains to be seen, but the app may make Twitter more user friendly to thousands of live-streamers around the world.