Twitter plans mass sale of user tweets to help brands build customer profiles

The head of data at Twitter has revealed the social network is looking to up its game when it comes to the sale of users’ tweets to brands and businesses.

Tweets, which contain a wealth of marketing data for brands if properly aggregated, were sold by Twitter in 2014 for a total of $70m, a thin slice of the company’s $1.3bn income.

However, Chris Moody, Twitter data strategy chief, told the Guardian that the company is looking to step up its process of sorting and selling the tweets of its 288 million users

On utilising the information people share on the site, Moody said: “One of the questions we get asked is: how do we ensure that we are not being creepy.”

Expanding on the insights tweets could give marketers, he added: “Twitter gives this fascinating ability to understand people in context like we’ve never been able to do before. It’s not ‘I know that Chris Moody is a 48-year-old male’ - which is how we’ve thought about marketing in the past – but ‘I understand that Chris Moody is dealing with the death of a parent because he’s talking about it on this public platform.”

Moody said that the site is unique in the fact that conversations which take place on it can do so on a global scale – “the conversation of an individual to the world”.

Companies including Salesforce, IBM and Oracle repackage the raw data in such a form that it can be used by brands. Moody concluded: “Your customers, if they exist on Twitter - we can provide advertisements to them. It’s done in a completely anonymised fashion, so we are not sharing private information.”

Gideon Lask, chief executive of Buyapowa, said: “Twitter's announcement that brands and retailers will be able to buy access to trillions of tweets not only shows the immense value inherent in social data but also underlines the fact that social is not free. Not only is it not free today but brands looking to get ahead will be faced with spending more on social in the future.

“Access to the huge volume of Twitter’s real time tweet data, and not forgetting the valuable data stored in the users’ social profiles, offers a host of exciting opportunities when combined with the data a brand already holds about a person such as sales and complaint records.

“Twitter is only following the example of Facebook, which already allows brands to match user profiles to data points, such as emails from loyalty programmes, to send targeted ads etc. So we should expect that other social networks like Pinterest, Snapchat etc. will also follow this path particularly as their high current valuations are based on their ability to get brands to pay dearly for access to the data they hold.”

Twitter does not sell data contained within private or 'DM' communications.

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