Jack Dorsey must not abandon Twitter Commerce for Display Advertising Model

Jack Dorsey’s recent submission about the Twitter platform ( “Twitter is live: live commentary, live connections, live conversations.” ) has created/reinstated an enthusiasm among various stakeholders for another revival for the company, from 30% below the IPO listing price with over $500m loses, high employee turnaround and, more importantly, low user growth.

Once the closest rival to Facebook, Twitter has reduced to a 10th of Mark Zuckerberg’s empire and there are many hypotheses around, from the famous open blog from to Chris Sacca to Dick Costolo’s claim for shareholder pressure for a quick and high-profit margin, to a disengaged developer community, as to why Twitter is struggling to take off, both monetarily and on the popularity front.

No doubt since Jack Dorsey took over as CEO, company has shown some promising progress such as a redesigned home page for non-registered users, talks about increasing tweet length to 10K, Twitter Moments, support for GIF and videos, re-integrating the developer community to develop apps using Fabric and opening Direct Message for non-followers. However Jack failed to show any progress on the Twitter commerce side, which in my opinion might leave the company with a lot to catch up with on the social commerce or sharing economy side, which is growing at a far higher rate than any other commerce medium.

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Twitter Focusing on Big Data & Social Commerce after Ads & Social TV

A recent Twitter annual report showing lower than expected growth of monthly active users, revenue, engagement and timeline views has sent some shock waves into the market, and as a result the share price is over 40% down since its high in November 2013. Also some high profile clients have raised questions on its effectiveness for driving traffic.

So far, if we look, Twitter is focusing more on display advertising products such as prompted tweets and accounts, in addition to TV amplifier, where Twitter is trying to leverage its usage along with TV programs. But we all know results are not promising and clients have shown some concern.

Despite all its criticism, Dick Costolo (Twitter CEO) is very positive about Twitter’s future growth and promised to launch a series of new products and services to boost its revenue and effectiveness for businesses. Let’s look at what these future products could be.

Gnip + BlueFin + MoPub Means Twitter can become Mobile Google AdWords

Last Year Twitter made 11% of their revenue via data licensing and one of the recent developments was that Twitter ended up buying one of their data licensing companies, Gnip. This will give Twitter a more control over how to use their data powerhouse with over one billion tweets every two days and loads of rich media content, link images, video and text.

We should not forget that last year Twitter acquired MIT based data analytics start-up Bluefin, which means they must be looking to combine Gnip data aggregation and Bluefin’s data analysis techniques to provide a more enriching experience to both businesses and consumers.

Twitter also owns mobile ad exchange company MoPub, which means Twitter can offer advertising beyond their platform: imagine, if Twitter analytics could identify the right trends (images, keywords, and videos) from billions of tweets and let businesses target people on a mobile platform at real-time; they could really become Google AdWords on mobile.

Twitter and Amazon partnership shows Twitter inching towards real-time commerce

Last week Amazon announced a partnership whereby users can link their Amazon and Twitter accounts and then add stuff, via tweets, to their basket. It’s a great first step toward the highly anticipated Twitter commerce where whole transactions (including payment) can be carried out on Twitter.

Twitter Amazon Comerce

If we look based on Twitter’s mobile usage and real time nature, there is a huge possibility for Twitter commerce, as businesses can setup a service where consumers can find and buy their products on Twitter. For example, Amex already allows customers to find the latest deals on Twitter in real-time. Our (i.e. Startup TweepForce) client Payasugym lets you find your nearest gym via a tweet and another client (@Socialretail) runs loyalty campaigns purely on Twitter to encourage users to be more engaged.

To sum up, these last two developments (big data and Twitter commerce) look very promising as they go beyond traditional display advertising and can give Twitter an extra edge on their competitors.