As Facebook prepares for its much-anticipated stock market flotation on 18th May this year, an unexpected side swipe at the social media giant has come from a highly respected name in the advertising industry: Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman of top agency Ogilvy & Mather.
Sutherland has said that, in his opinion, Facebook lacks the long-term staying power and user appeal of rival social media site, Twitter; this despite Facebook currently being more popular than Twitter and indeed any other social media site.
According to Sutherland, Twitter’s future strength in the market is particularly enhanced by the short, pithy nature of the site’s messages. He said:
“As a forum for outbursts, Twitter’s [character] limit, its haiku element is very appealing.”
The advertising mogul even goes as far to say that, in his view, Twitter will eventually outpace Facebook in the financial stakes:
“I wouldn’t bet against it [Twitter] being more valuable [than Facebook] in the long term…[its] potential for making money is higher than anyone realises.”
Facebook is currently valued at an estimated £59 billion and it is expected that around £3.1 billion will be raised when the company goes public later this month. Whilst Twitter on the other hand is steadily expanding its subscriber base, commentators refer to the difficulties the site is currently experiencing in attracting advertising revenue.
Given Sutherland’s track record of transforming the fortunes of Microsoft back in the 1980s however, it would perhaps be rash to dismiss too readily his positive predictions for Twitter eventually superseding Facebook.