Byravee Iyer
Jun 23, 2015

Cannes: Twitter VP outlines data strategy

CANNES - In December, General Motors used insight from Twitter-data to tweak its latest Chevy Silverado because consumers in the US were complaining about the cars' overheated steering wheels.

Chris Moody presenting his keynote on 'The Power of Now'
Chris Moody presenting his keynote on 'The Power of Now'

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Twitter is often overlooked in the fast growing business of data. But the social medium is now pushing brands and advertisers to use its numbers to make better business decisions and, of course, increase advertising on its platform.

“We believe our data has unlimited value and our job is to fuel as much of that innovation as possible,” said Chris Moody, Twitter’s VP of data strategy told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “We believe we’ll make the world a better place by helping businesses operate more efficiently and helping save lives.”

Moody doesn’t share revenue numbers, but Twitter has reported that its data licensing and other revenue contributed $45 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, a 105 per cent increase from a year-ago.

Moody was the CEO of Gnip, which Twitter acquired in 2014 as it sought more control over the monetisation of its content. The two companies had collaborated for four years and Moody recognised that Twitter presented a much larger opportunity for the message and value of data.

Twitter’s 120-strong data team primarily makes its money selling subscriptions to software providers who use big data tools to analyse conversations about customers. In October 2014, the firm entered a deal with IBM to help businesses predict trends about brands and train 10,000 employees on the best use of its data.

More recently, Twitter has begun selling data to advertisers in an effort to increase advertising revenue. Dove, for example, launched a social media campaign that aimed to put a positive spin on negative tweets about body image on the night of the Oscars.

As part of the #SpeakBeautiful campaign, Unilever created a Twitter tool that indentified hateful keywords about stars on the red carpet and in response Dove’s Twitter account tweeted non-automated, positive comments.

According to Moody, Twitter’s data strategy is unique because much of it is public as opposed to other platforms where data is private. “Fundamentally, this data tells you what the world is telling you—without bias.”

In Asia, Moody identifies Indonesia as a huge market for Twitter that’s showing lots of interest in data. Although brands are yet to jump the bandwagon, the company is seeing interest among local, government organisations. Faced with the possibility of floods during the monsoons, Jakarta’s emergency management agency used Twitter’s real-time data to help and warn city residents. 

Twitter’s February deal with Google to make its updates more searchable online is another way for the firm to push its data agenda. “What advertisers want to understand is ROI and our data can really help with that,” Moody pointed out.  “We can look at conversations and show consumer feedback on an advertisement and use data as a supplement.”


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