To Lure Advertisers, Twitter Inc. Makes a Bigger Bet on Analytics

New tools help users, advertisers better see the impact of using Twitter Inc.’s platform for marketing.

Jul 15, 2014 at 8:30PM

Twitter Analytics Dashboard

My Twitter analytics for @milehighfool. Credit: Twitter.

Add Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) to the list of companies betting bigger on data. Last week, the microblogger introduced a new dashboard for studying the impact of organic tweets.

"For the first time, advertisers will be able to see how many times users have viewed and engaged with organic Tweets, so that they can more effectively optimize their content strategy," Twitter's analytics product manager, Buster Beeson, wrote in a blog post announcing the feature.

A new term for your buzzword bingo scorecards
"Content strategy" has become a popular term in recent years. Rather than overtly market to or pitch consumers, companies are now using social media, blog posts, and related "content" to demonstrate their uniqueness in hopes it'll be shared widely. The resulting brand boost should help to boost sales, or so the theory goes.

Twitter's new dashboard caters to true believers by showing them how everyday tweets perform in hopes of sparking follow-on ad campaigns. It's a worthy idea, and it comes at an interesting time. In May, (NYSE:CRM) combined software acquired from Radian6 and Buddy Media to create what it calls Social Studio, a suite of tools for team to collaboratively develop and publish content to social networks.

Content strategy in action
For example, say you're working with a movie studio in the months leading to Oscar season. You might use Social Studio to monitor for and respond to tweets and posts about your client's film to build buzz. You might also use the tool to check response data in order to better understand when, and to whom, you should market the DVD and Blu-ray when it's available.

Could Twitter aspire to one day offer something as sophisticated as Social Studio? Credit:

Social Studio is a new product so it's unclear just how much impact the software is having on results. Yet this isn't a minor-league effort; Salesforce wraps Social Studio into a suite of offerings it calls the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, named for the marketing company it acquired for $2.5 billion last June.

Why investors should cheer
Twitter's offering isn't nearly as sophisticated. Yet it doesn't need to be. Even a little intelligence about what matters to followers should be enough to help brand advertisers do more with their ad dollars, leading to more spending, and for Twitter, more growth. Advertising accounted for 90% of revenue in the first quarter.

In that sense, adding analytics -- even simple analytics -- is a step in the right direction. For Twitter, which has seen its shares drop over 40% year-to-date, that's about as good as it gets right now.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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