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Twitter exec: Commerce play focuses on movie, concert tickets

The consumer is unlikely to support a broad commerce conversion but would accept sales of movie and concert tickets once Twitter completes testing a “buy button,” as announced in September.

“I don’t see a whole lot of people fully converting on bigger purchase items that involve a more complex decision process,” said Ori Carmel, marketing manager with Twitter. ‘That will take a little bit more time. And of course, Apple Pay is going to accelerate all that.”

Mr. Carmel said Twitter’s commercial play has no timeline. “There are no distinct time lines that I know of at the moment, in terms of opening this up,” he said. “Just like any other technology, this will have its difficulties, have its ups and downs.”

Under pressure

Twitter is under pressure to monetize its service and the addition of an immediate call to action, linked to tracked, proven ecommerce and mobile commerce sales could move the bar in a big way.

Twitter said in September that giving users exclusive access to offers and merchandise they can act on right in the Twitter applications for Android and iOS will give sellers a new way to turn the direct relationship they build with their followers into sales. Industry sources are split on the impact the move could have.

Mr. Carmel at Mobile Marketer’s Mobile First Look  Strategy 2015 conference.

If Twitter can aggregate and track the direct influence of tweets on sales, they can open up the ability to retain a percentage of these sales, experts said.

During Twitter’s Citi 2014 Global Technology Conference in November, Twitter said it was working to unify the interfaces of users and e-commerce platforms to increase the conversion rates of e-commerce ads, Market Realist reported.

Twitter also hired Nathan Hubbard, the former president of Ticketmaster, to head its e-commerce unit last year and to boost its e-commerce initiative. The company has also developed its Cards product which lets ecommerce companies such as Amazon and eBay self-insert ads inside tweets.

In December, Twitter positioned its Offers feature, which allowed marketers to create promotions linked to credit cards and share advertisements directly with users of the social media mobile application, to make a big splash in mobile couponing.

As one of the leading social media networks, with more than 500 million users worldwide, Twitter has become the digital heartbeat of consumer undercurrents. One of the earliest networks that started in the mobile medium, Twitter is best known for amplifying actions, reactions or emerging patterns of behavior that influences policymaking as well as consumer and business decisions.

Mr. Carmel’s talk emphasized how the new retail consumer is more mobile, more social, more immediate and more personal. It also focused on the importance of adding value in a new channel-agnostic world, including using data and insights for decision-making.

The presentation included numerous examples of how Twitter has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie with actors in the audience at last year’s Academy Awards show was an example of Twitter’s power to make a big event even bigger.

Snickers turned a biting incident in the World Cup involving Uruguay’s Luis Suarez and an Italian player into an amusing ad that garnered great attention. The tweet ran:

“Hey @luis16suarez. Next time you’re hungry just grab a Snickers

More satisfying than Italian.”

Peace brand

In another example, Unilever’s Axe, seeking to shed its sexualized image, partnered with Twitter to launch the new “Peace” brand. Users were encouraged to submit selfies.

Helping Twitter monetize on mobile.

“Consumers are looking for connections, they’re looking for authenticity,” Mr. Carmel said.

Final Take

Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.