Here's Why Twitter Acquired CardSpring

Learn why Twitter recently acquired a startup called CardSpring, and what this could imply for the social network in the future.

Jul 21, 2014 at 3:00PM

In its attempt to become a large social commercial site, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) has recently bought an e-commerce platform called CardSpring. This newly acquired start-up provides a payment infrastructure that connects applications with payment cards. Through its API's, merchants can link with publishers to offer online-to-offline promotions, getting access to analytic data and assessing the success of their campaigns in a simple way.

The new advances in commerce could propel Twitter to increase its monetization, and attract or engage users looking to benefit from promotions as they connect with friends. However, social network giant, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), is also looking for e-commerce as a potential revenue stream, and might present a threat to Twitter's moves in this field.

Becoming a social commercial site
In August 2013, Twitter hired ex-TicketMaster CEO, Nathan Hubbard, as Head of Commerce. Since then, the social network is undergoing changes in order to efficiently sell products and services to customers online. Moreover, Hubbard has a successful track record in TicketMaster, as he managed to drastically improve the business and increase sales, teaming with Facebook to enable users to see which seats their friends take at concerts or events.

As a part of Twitter, it seems like Hubbard has implemented new ideas. In May, the company teamed with Users who have connected their Amazon and Twitter accounts can now add products to their shopping carts. All they have to do is reply with the hashtag, #AmazonCart, to tweets containing links of products for sale by

By integrating CardSpring into its social networking and microblogging service, Twitter can enable its clients to advertise with promotion campaigns through tweets that have coupons and discounts. At the same time, it will let them know the analytics and offline performance of their campaigns. As a result, Twitter could better show how its site leverages its clients' brands, and how it affects consumer behavior. 

New revenue stream
As Twitter becomes a service that provides useful coupons and discounts, it increases its site differentiation, adding a new buying experience to it. The success of it depends on how Twitter manages the promotions and ads. Despite a stagnating growth in user base, the company still manages to increase its revenue -- derived mostly from ads -- consistently quarter after quarter. In its Q1 2014 results, the company reported revenue of $250 million, up 119% year-over-year, plus 255 million monthly active users. For that matter, Twitter shows its aptitude in monetization strategies, a strength that could be useful in the integration of commerce in the social network. 

Screen Shot
Source: Twitter's 1Q 2014 Earnings Report

Competing with Facebook
Facebook is currently testing a new "buy" button on its site, promoting products and allowing users to purchase in the moment. In its last quarter, the social network giant reported 1.28 billion users, and revenue of $2.5 billion. Plus, the company looks to expand its service in the future by providing Internet access in emerging markets through solar-powered drones. For that matter, as Facebook builds its commerce features, its vast user reach and strong engagement could place the site as a better option for certain agencies and publishers, which threats Twitter's entrance into the market. Yet, Twitter can still benefit from adding value to its niche through e-commerce, as it improves its means of monetization.

Final foolish takeaway
The integration of CardSpring's technology into Twitter is a step forward for the social network in the land of e-commerce. Through it, the company could better allow its clients to offer promotions and analyze the performance of their campaigns. As Twitter shows consistent increase in revenue and efficient monetization, this new initiative could propel its business forward if it manages to appeal users. Yet, Facebook presents a potential danger, as it is testing its own approach to commerce, and has a large user base that attracts agencies and publishers.

Your credit card may soon be completely worthless
The plastic in your wallet is about to go the way of the typewriter, the VCR, and the 8-track tape player. When it does, a handful of investors could stand to get very rich. You can join them -- but you must act now. An eye-opening new presentation reveals the full story on why your credit card is about to be worthless -- and highlights one little-known company sitting at the epicenter of an earth-shaking movement that could hand early investors the kind of profits we haven't seen since the dot-com days. Click here to watch this stunning video.

Alvaro Campos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook and Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers