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Twitter scores by moving the goal posts

Matt Kapko | Aug. 4, 2014
Twitter is moving the goal posts and Wall Street likes the new numbers it sees up on the scoreboard. The company's monthly active user base grew 24 percent from the year-ago period to 271 million, but the actual reach of Twitter goes well beyond that, the social media company claims.

"I think Twitter is unique in that most technology companies disrupt other industries and disrupt other businesses, but Twitter actually makes other companies and other brands better than it would otherwise be," says Noto, a former securities analyst who was also previously the CFO of the National Football League. "I think that's the unique complementary nature of our information network that really makes us partner with so many types of companies, which increases the amount of information we have and content which aggregates a larger audience and it just continues that virtual cycle."

When major news breaks around the world, Twitter's TV and news partners are driving people's attention to the platform as they look for content about what is happening and unfolding in real time. "Many of them browse around, some of them search, some of them look at profiles. And obviously from the numbers we're seeing, most of them decide not to log in," says Costolo. "We provide limited content to those hundreds of millions of other users who are unique visitors to our properties, and we see an opportunity, a big opportunity to serve them just as well."

In-Tweet Shopping Coming Soon?

Opportunities abound, but driving sales directly on the platform could very well become the Holy Grail for Twitter. The recent acquisitions of CardSpring and TapCommerce have emboldened Twitter's plans for commerce as it continues to experiment in the nascent space of social shopping.

Expectations are running high with Nathan Hubbard, former CEO of Ticketmaster, leading the charge for commerce on Twitter. The company has been running tests with Amazon since May that enable users to add products to their shopping carts via a tweet. Meanwhile some users have spotted a "buy now" button embedded on promoted tweets on Twitter's mobile app.

Costolo declined to provide more details about Twitter's plans for in-tweet shopping, but every indication suggests a significant change and new revenue stream may be coming sooner than later.


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