Why Twitter and Facebook Couldn’t Be More Different

Facebook and Twitter’s quarterly financial results were only separated by a day, but they might as well have been light years apart. Facebook (FB) blew the doors off even the most ambitious forecasts, while Twitter (TWTR) missed on almost every metric.

In one sense, it’s fitting that the two were so different because Twitter has been compared to Facebook for most of its life, and it has always suffered for it. Facebook is like the older brother who was a college football star, and Twitter is the younger rival who likes to paint, and periodically disappears to “find himself.”

If you look at the numbers, you could argue that Twitter’s actually don’t look that bad. It’s true that it missed estimates, but not by a huge amount. The number of users grew by several million, better than in other quarters. But Facebook’s results make Twitter’s look like a rounding error.

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It might seem unfair to compare the two. But the reality is they are in the same business: Namely, selling ads related to the interests of their users. Based on that metric, Facebook is better in almost every way. It’s larger, it’s growing more quickly, and its ads are in greater demand—in part because it can target users in ways of which Twitter can only dream.

And that’s why the share price of the former will continue to climb, not just today but for the foreseeable future, while the shares of the latter will likely continue to test new lows.

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