September 12, 2013, 7:59 PM — The days of shrugging off Twitter may soon be over. Some 200 million users strong, the site is already one of the most prominent social networks, but going public could give it the muscle to become the next Facebook or Apple, one analyst said.
"It's Twitter growing up, coming of age, maturing ... all those things," said Blau, an analyst with Gartner who focuses on consumer technology and social media.
"This gives it a sustainable future," he added.
IPOs are generally seen as a way for companies to gain additional cash for operations or expansion. In Twitter's case, the capital gains from going public will likely allow the company to make solid investments across the board in hiring, operations and acquisitions, analysts said.
Those are things Twitter has already been doing over the past several years. But buzz has been building for some time around an IPO, and for good reason.
"Investors want liquidity," said Greg Sterling, an industry analyst with Opus Research. "There's been pent-up demand with both employees and investors in mind," he said.
But the implications of an IPO are profound for Twitter, because the capital gains could help the site expand its ecosystem among different users like developers, marketers and consumers, Gartner's Blau said.
Twitter is a social network, but it's also a big publishing tool. In recent years the site has signaled that it wants to be a place not just for connecting people, but for letting companies connect with consumers by publishing new forms of content on the site.
One such area of growing interest to Twitter is television marketing. In July Twitter announced the national availability of a TV ad marketing program to let TV marketers push out branded content to people on the site if those users were tweeting about certain shows. Just last month Twitter announced its acquisition of Trendrr to better analyze those TV-related tweets.
That's one program that Twitter could build out and accelerate through an IPO, Opus' Sterling said.
Going public may also let the site do more with analytics and video too, he said.