Twitter wants advertisers to see it as the ‘gold standard’ for third party measurement

Twitter has trumped lukewarm financial estimates but its revenue is still in decline / Twitter

Twitter wants advertisers to view it as the “gold standard” for third party measurement as it looks to ensure it isn’t guilty by association to the current metric woes that have seen some of the biggest advertisers question whether they have overspent on digital.

It may have been late to the third-party measurement game – having only hooked up with Moat and Integral Ad Science to measure video viewability and attention metrics earlier this month – but Twitter believes that could be advantage. So much so that it will become regulated by the Media Ratings Council (MRC), according to what its two most senior members of staff told investors during an earnings call today.

During the Q&A with shareholders, chief operating officer and chief financial officer Anthony Noto explained that the social network had already implemented MRC standards for video viewability and measurement.

“We will become MRC accredited, it’s an important process we’re embracing,” he confirmed, hinting that the move would take time. Pointing to existing relationships with Moat, Nielsen and TAG Noto promised advertisers that Twitter will be a “golf old standard” in making sure it integrates the measurement standards “deemed most appropriate by its partners.

“I would say we’re at parity with everyone else, to a sight advantage – because we do have some higher standard options in relation to video viewability versus others – but we are going to move very fast to get out front and be the gold standard because this is something we can completely control.”

It may have been late to the third-party measurement game – having only hooked up with Moat and Integral Ad Science to measure video viewability and attention metrics earlier this month – but the Twitter believes that could be advantage. So much so that it will become regulated by the Media Ratings Council (MRC), according to what its two most senior members of staff told investors during an earnings call today.

During the Q&A with shareholders, chief operating officer and chief financial officer Anthony Noto explained that the social network had already implemented MRC standards for video viewability and measurement.

“We will become MRC accredited, it’s an important process we’re embracing,” he confirmed, hinting that the move would take time. Pointing to existing relationships with Moat, Neilsen and TAG Noto promised Twitter will be a “gold standard” in making sure integrates the measurement standards “deemed most appropriate by its partners.

“I would say we’re at parity with everyone else, to a sight advantage – because we do have some higher standard options in relation to video viewability versus others – but we are going to move very fast to get out front and be the gold standard because this is something we can completely control.”

“It’s something we know our advertisers value,” he continued saying there was no reason for Twitter not to lead the way on the matter because it wasn’t determined by scale or user counts.

The “gold standard,” line was one reiterated by both Noto and Twitter’s founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey several times during the address to investors, and is a point that will no double play a role in Twitter’s pitch to advertisers during its forthcoming session at the Digital Content NewFronts in New York next month. During its session at the event the social network has already promised to reveal more details about its new video partners.

Dorsey was also keen to push Twitter’s commitment to transparency saying his company was poised to make “aggressive moves,” and investments in the space.

It’s confidence in its ability to do so is born from the trust issues that have engulfed inventory being peddled by its larger rivals Google and Facebook in the wake of a string of scandals over the last six months that have given advertisers food for thought to consider what media they are buying and how effective it is.

Twitter’s proposition to advertisers is loud and clear but the figures indicate it is a trickier sell than its rivals. A decline in overall revenue growth has impacted its advertising revenue which accounts for the lion's share at $473.7m for the quarter. This figure is a reduction of the11% rise compared to what it generated throughout the same period in 2016, but revenue from its data licensing and other streams is, up $10m year-over-year in the first quarter.

During its last meeting with investors Twitter said it was focused on driving value across three key areas – audience, content and revenue. While it has cut its financial losses its decrease in revenue means progress has been slow, and the loss of its NFL Thursday night live-streaming deal to Amazon has most likely done it no favours in the content stakes.

The company has, however, credited changes in its timeline and "deep learning models to show the most relevant Tweets first" for improving engagement.

Noto has also emphasized Twitter's live video viewing gains in a statement revealing that n the last quarter more than 800 hours of live premium video was viewed by users.

"We remain focused on our initiatives to grow revenue by simplifying our revenue product portfolio, communicating our progress to advertisers, and re-allocating resources to our highest revenue generating priorities," he added.

Speaking ahead of the company’s most recent results call on Wednesday (26 April) Noto told BuzzFeed that the platform had plans to introduce an always-on live TV-style service to the site.

Noto said Twitter wants to air live video to users 24 hours a day, seven days a week via its desktop and app offerings. The strategy aims to make Twitter a “dependable place” for people to access real-time updates from around the world and will slot in nicely to Twitter’s ‘See What’s Happening’ proposition which has been rolled out over the last year to cement the platform’s status as the home of breaking news and live events.

“There is a lot of activity that takes place on Twitter where we’re not directly driving revenue today. So we want to investigate those areas of high usage to see if there are different ways to drive revenue,” he said, pointing to its ad tech outfit MoPub and its social dashboard TweetDeck as alternative solutions.

Over the course of the year eMarketer has estimated that Twitter’s total ad revenue will grow by just 1.6% and that its global user base will increase by 3.4% in 2017, whether the platform’s renewed focus on third-party metrics and transparency will help it woo more advertisers remains to be seen.

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