Promoted tweets lie at the centre of this profitability. By ensuring paid content is displayed at the top of everybody's search sessions and trend feeds, Twitter is reassuring its advertising clients that their marketing spiel is being seen. The #WispaGold hashtag, which chocolate company Cadbury introduced via promoted tweets in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, apparently enjoyed a overnight boost of 116 per cent in positive mentions. A promoted trend run later apparently increased positive mentions by 1,800 per cent. In similar circumstances, LG reported 38 per cent and 30 per cent increased brand engagement in two separate instances of promoted tweets.
These are Twitter's own case studies, of course, but go some way to showing the power of social networking.
While Facebook has to fight to make people click, Twitter can simply drop content at the top of each and every feed. And while Facebook's ham-fisted sponsored material insertion has raised the ire of users who feel betrayed by ‘misuse' of their personal information stores, Twitter has never been concerned with birthdays, tagging or personal message ‘walls'; it's just not the kind of application that people closely link with manipulating huge amounts of their personal information.
While Facebook, not to mention Zynga and Groupon, clearly lost out last year on IPOs, creating something of a bad smell around tech company IPOs generally, Twitter has its house comparatively in order. LinkedIn remains 19 per cent higher than its IPO value. It also just so happens to be the only one of these four with a well-imagined monetisation strategy (it's impossible to argue with a simple paid registration service).
Should Twitter go IPO in 2014 - and do so before the rumoured Apple buyout takes place - it could well find itself meeting or beating its £6.8bn valuation.