Twitter and the art of making money

By: June 21, 2014
The ability to buy goods on Twitter by just using a tweet, is one step closer to reality The ability to buy goods on Twitter by just using a tweet, is one step closer to reality

In recent months Twitter has started expanding its commercial and marketing teams worldwide. Nathan Hubbard, former CEO of Ticketmaster, is Twitter’s first-ever head of commerce. This key hire shows Twitter intends to be more than a platform that makes money from adverts.

Hubbard’s is a new role, one created by Twitter as it takes expanding steps into new business streams.

Currently Twitter makes money from selling promoted trends and promoted tweets, and 70% of its ad revenues come from mobile.

In September 2013 Twitter bought the mobile ad exchange MoPub. This means Twitter can now start building a real-time bidding service for its advertisers. Advertisers will be able to buy ads when they suit and target Twitter users by location and interest, just like you can with Facebook.

Being a mobile first platform brings certain advantages and it is by harnessing these advantages that Twitter aims to build new revenue streams.

Tweets and treats
As most Twitter users are mobile, Twitter can use its users’ locations and interests to offer them deals and products. However, Twitter has something far more satisfying [for the consumer] in mind.

Twitter recently signed a deal with online payments firm Stripe. The thinking is that users will soon be able to link a credit card to their Twitter account. The plan then is to allow Twitter users the ability to shop on Twitter. If users see a deal or a product they like, they’d be one click away from purchasing the offer.

Twitter could also link in with the bigger e-commerce sites like eBay and Amazon and for every sale, take a small commission.

Twitter’s partnership for American Express called Sync, allows users to link credit cards with Twitter handles. Cardholders can then tweet at a certain Twitter handle with a certain hashtag to buy something. However, there is a lot of tweeting back and forth before the purchase goes through, so it’s innovative but clunky.

At the very heart of Twitter is its disruptive heritage. It is a service that has already disrupted many established industries (like the media industry) and it has the potential to be a dominant global player in mobile commerce.