The appointment of Jack Dorsey as CEO of Twitter makes a difference to marketing people, as many believe he represents their best hope for a more brand-friendly platform.
Dorsey, a Twitter cofounder, was named CEO Monday. He previously held the role until 2008, before being replaced by Ev Williams, with Dorsey moving to chairman of the board. He had been acting as interim CEO since Dick Costolo stepped down on July 1.
“Twitter needs sustained user growth for growth in advertising revenue,” VB Insight analyst Jon Cifuentes said. “I think that’s what the excitement with Jack is — that he may jump-start user acquisition with more features.”
Most recently, we’ve heard reports that Twitter is considering extending the 140-character limit for tweets, an idea some people struggle with. But marketers see other Twitter initiatives as promising.
“Under his leadership, I think we’ll see a stickier product (one in which people spend more time) as well as user growth,” said Chris Tuff, VP and director of business development and partnerships at the ad agency 22squared. “This will start with ‘Moments,’ where Twitter will attract a new audience of people who want to get real-time/immersive experiences.”
Moments, originally referred to as Project Lightning, is a new Twitter feature that surfaces tweets and other content around a specific event, like a movie opening or a World Series run. The Moments are curated by Twitter’s internal media team and include contributions from media partners like BuzzFeed, Entertainment Weekly, Getty Images, NASA, and Major League Baseball (MLB).
That vision thing
“No doubt Dorsey will look to amplify that platform value in Twitter and really focus in on fueling user growth and user engagement,” said George Manas, chief strategy officer at Resolution Media, the search and social agency for Omnicom Media Group.
Manas believes the appointment will only increase Dorsey’s political power within the company. “I think he’s already showed some of his teeth with so-called “Project Lightning” and Twitter’s commerce play in the Buy Button.”
“What brands care about most, I think, is the Twitter vision, the long-term,” Manas said. And that’s been a problem for Twitter, at least where marketers are concerned.
Build for growth, and for marketers
“So far, other than a lot of testing opportunities, I don’t see the Twitter team incorporating advertising or marketing opportunities into the consumer value,” said marketing tech expert Stephanie Miller in a note to VentureBeat.
“‘Adding on ads after the product is designed is not going to compete,” she said. “It has to be an integrated and integral experience, and of course, that means that marketers have to innovate in the ways they connect with consumers, as well.”
Miller was actually more interested in Twitter’s promotion of Adam Bain to chief operating officer (COO). Bain had served as Twitter’s president for global revenue and partnerships since September 2010.
“Adam is the one who has been focused on the marketer audience, and advocating for marketers with the product team,” Miller said.
Of course we have no idea what’s going on deep inside Twitter today, one day after Dorsey was named CEO. Hopefully Dorsey is inside laying out clear vision for the company that the rest of the management and product teams can get behind.
And, hopefully, the needs of marketers will be in the mix too.