Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey promises to refine 'clunky' ad model with improved measurement

Twitter's chief executive Jack Dorsey has promised to make it simpler for advertisers to work the platform

Twitter's chief executive Jack Dorsey has promised to make it easier for advertisers to run campaigns on the platform, admitting that is has been too “complicated” for brands to use, and lacked measurement capabilities in the past.

Speaking on stage at Dmexco on Wednesday, 13 September, Twitter’s top executive told WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell that Twitter plans to streamline how brands buy ads within its walls, as well as making it easier for them to see where their investment is actually going.

“We have a really strong business in advertising... Our focus is on two things: one, we need to simplify it and differentiate it, it’s been a little bit too complicated for our advertisers to use in the past,” he said.

In response to Sorrell’s suggestion that buying ads on Twitter was a “clunky” experience, Dorsey conceded: “Every organisation is clunky and messy, so we can certainly focus more and we can certainly make it better for [clients].”

He reiterated that advertisers must be able to trust the dollars they spend with Twitter are going to yield ROI. “Priority number two is prove that it works. We have not focused enough on measurement and proving that it works so that is a big focus for us,” he noted.

His comments come amid attempts from Twitter to improve the measurement it offers to advertisers, as the wider digital ecosystem comes under increasing pressure to prove ROI worth to the ad industry's decision makers.

Just last month, Twitter’s publishing platform MoPub unveiled a series of improved measurement assurances to brands across areas like viewability, etc. Recently, the company has also inked a deal with Dunnhumby to offer more assurances to FMCG advertisers around ROI, as well as striking similar accords with measurement partners Moat and IAS.

WPP’s agency roster – which works with some of the world’s biggest brands including Unilever and Coca-Cola – collectively spent around $240m on Twitter in 2015, a figure which rose to $300m last year, but one Sorrell noted is going to be “pretty flat” by the time 2017 is out. By comparison, Sorrell said WPP will spend a combined $8.3bn with the Google and Facebook (the “two elephants”) this year.

Earlier this year Twitter said it was on course to become accredited by the Media Ratings Council (MRC), with Dorsey asserting that it wanted advertisers to view the platform as the "gold standard" for third-party measurement.

This strategy looks to differentiate Twitter in a space plagued by measurement woes, and amid concern from big advertisers that they have overspent on digital. A recent World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) study found that 63% of marketers have said they are now only investing in viewable impressions that adhere to industry standards, highlighting the urgency for platforms to ensure they are meeting such client demands.

Other topics of discussion during the chat between the two leaders included President Trump's impact on Twitter's bottom line - with Dorsey reacting cynically to suggestions that the commander in chief was worth $2bn to the platform - and Amazon's role in the changing media landscape.

When asked about Amazon snapping up the rights to NFL's Thursday night games, which were previously held by Twitter, Dorsey hinted that despite signing a slew of live deals of late with the likes of Bloomberg and BuzzFeed, Twitter wasn't about to put all of its eggs in one basket with real-time deals.

“We can’t just optimise for these live experiences, we have to optimise for asynchronous, because only a very small market can see something live, but the whole world can see it after it happened.

"Our job is to make sure we show users what matters the most within that stream, and that’s what we’re doing now – continuing to focus on what people thought, but also what mattered within that stream – like what were the highlights and what they need to see.”

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. Based in London, she has interviewed key figures from brands like Airbnb, Amnesty International, Facebook and Spotify. She has covered international events in Berlin and Amsterdam, as well as Advertising Week Europe.

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