While Twitter is happy to let app developers work on new ways to analyze user traffic, it is not averse to entering the world of commerce. Focusing on growing advertising revenue streams and exploring the possibilities of adding a Twitter e-commerce option are top of mind for the social media giant’s CEO, Dick Costolo.
In an interview with CNBC, Costolo mentioned his interest in opportunities for Twitter to take part in commercial transactions between sellers and buyers. “It’s particularly interesting in areas where you’ve got things like perishable inventory like tickets,” Costolo says. “We observe that and are paying attention to that and are thinking about the kinds of ways we could participate in that value exchange.”
This is a change of heart for Costolo. A report in Mashable notes that in January 2012, Costolo dismissed the idea of Twitter’s expansion into new revenue streams, stating “We don’t feel like we need to add another component to the business.”
Twitter has spent much of 2012 introducing new advertising options and developing tools to help advertisers better target their Twitter customers. Businesses can now use Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends, and Promoted Accounts to deliver their messages, sales, and special offers to their own followers and those who meet the target criteria. Narrowing the audience for Promoted messages not only increases the conversion rate for advertisers, it improves user experience and user engagement for the targeted Twitter followers, who see messages relevant to them.
The improved advertising options also seem to work as a revenue stream for Twitter. Analysts predict Twitter will generate $1 billion in ad revenue by 2014. If the social media site does add a Twitter e-commerce option, that number could be even larger.