Twitter is looking beyond its own boundaries to grow ads model

12 Jan 2015

Twitter is hatching an ambitious new plan to grow revenue by expanding its advertising model to other publishers’ websites, generating ad revenue from media readers who aren’t Twitter users.

The social media giant is planning to sell ads within streams of tweets on other publishers apps and websites. It is understood that ESPN’s SportsCenter and magazine reading app Flipboard may be among the earliest proponents of the new shift.

The idea is that Twitter will share the revenue from the ads with the publisher.

Twitter is hopping on what could be a very real trend since tweets published in its network often become embedded in news articles on other websites, resulting in Twitter-originated content spreading far and wider among non-Twitter users.

According to the Wall Street Journal senior Twitter executives briefed media buyers on the new plan at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week.

Last week it emerged that Twitter is planning to add a new native video player that will allow people to upload 20-second long videos directly to Twitter. The new video tool is expected to come with a six-second auto-play feature similar to that on Facebook.

Rival social network Facebook is working to optimise its sudden success with video, whereby users on average increased their video uploads by 75pc per person in the past year. Facebook claims more than 1bn videos a day were viewed within its News Feed in 2014.

New pecking order at Twitter?

While media buyers have appeared bullish about these new tools to emerge from the Twitter nest, the news was accompanied by speculation that Twitter’s president of global revenue is in line to be the next CEO at Twitter after Dick Costolo.

While Costolo has no plans to vacate the CEO seat any time soon, he has his hands full ensuring Twitter continues its steady growth in the face of challenges to retain users.

That’s why the focus on a new video player and increasing the reach of Twitter’s advertising machine will be interesting to see.

Key metrics to watch when Twitter’s financial results emerge on 5 February will be mobile ad revenue allied with growth numbers in terms of monthly active users.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years