Late to the #Party?
As of recent, my work has been closely tied to Twitter from a product and usage standpoint. It’s really allowed me to learn a lot more about the Twitter platform beyond my traditional use cases of snarky tweets and Klout inspired gamification. With my experience I’ve begun to really respect Twitter from many standpoints. It’s simplicity towards users is fantastic, from onboarding, to tweeting, to content digestion. The way it’s become a pulse of the world as well as the fastest information dissemination out there (sorry news sites, you can’t hang), has been very cool to see.
So after the balloons have settled from my little Twitter parade, there is one nagging issue I’ve always had. How well is Twitter going to be at making money? Twitter has slowly started to develop revenues sources. They’re in the information business and have been able to find plenty of customers for their data. They’ve positioned themselves nicely in the event and entertainment space, and offer some great, real-time analytic options due to the public nature of their platform. In 2012 they brought in $350 million in ad revenue, not too shabby if you ask me.
But can they scale like other ad platforms have been able to? The problem I’ve always seen is targeting and ROI. Now part of the reason for this is because the lens I look through is from a startup perspective, small and searching for efficiency. I’ve used Facebook, Google, Twitter, and many other ad platforms and for me, Twitter has fallen short since it feels like you are putting messages in a bottle and throwing them out to sea. Other than location, you really have no idea who is going to see your tweets and whether they are relevant to your message. This creates an issue to me since I gives me little to test beyond tweet composition and location.
Today Twitter announced the addition of basic targeting, including gender, broad interest, and device. It made me wonder if I was seeing the first step of Twitter’s growth into a strong public company, or just someone who’s shown up at the end of the party (thrown by Facebook and Google for this example). This is definitely a step in the right direction, but the product still lacks the abilities of other ad platforms.
I think this is the start of a ramp up to an IPO (not really a surprise), and a move that was a long time coming. I think Twitter has strategically always made solid purposeful moves and not rushed into things. I’m still onboard as a fan and think there are great things to come.