Twitter’s plans for beginning of 2015

Twitter has signaled in closed-door meetings to clients that 2015 will be about more ads.

Twitter has discussed privately that its video ads could potentially come with an autoplay preview, according to AdAge. The same article, attributed to people briefed on the company’s plans, implied that advertisers would only pay if the user clicked to watch the full video. 

The Wall Street Journal also reported that Twitter announced to media buyers that it will begin to place ads within stream of tweets on third-party apps and websites. The expectation was that Twitter would share the revenue with those partners, incentivizing them to participate. It was unknown if any publishers had signed on, but ESPN was mentioned during their presentation.

The sports broadcast and news giant is one of many publishers that includes Tweets in many facets of its web and mobile strategy, utilizing the consumer- and media-generated Tweets as another aspect of news gathering and story tracking.

This is another step for the social media company in its quest to monetize people who see Tweets but are not active users of the service. As Twitter has made it simple and easy to embed individual Tweets and full streams of content off of the domain, they have long sought mutually beneficial ways to monetize those eyeballs on third-party sites.

This news follows a Medium post by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams (who is still a board member, but does not hold an active company role) that talked about the issues chasing monthly active users, a metric with which Twitter has always been perceived as weaker than its competitors.

If you’re trying to measure the value of a company, it’s in theory a lot simpler. The value of a company, from a financial perspective, is its ability to make money over time. This is not easy, and growth trajectory matters a lot for new companies. But what’s amazing — despite the contrary examples of Google and Apple — is that Wall Street has seemed to buy into the users = value equation. That, of course, trickles down to the valuations of private companies and the obsessions of VCs and the tech press.

Williams’ new company, publishing platform (or if you like, platisher) Medium, tackles this issue by tracking total time reading (TTR), which it feels better identifies the value the company is creating.

While Wall Street is still concerned about the growth of Twitter’s MAUs – Instagram has surpassed Twitter and Google + is also higher than Twitter despite its reputation as a ghost town, Tweets still make news daily and are easily shared across the whole web. The challenge will be in the short nature of Tweets – it will be hard for Twitter to monetize them if the ad – video or otherwise – takes long to process than the actual Tweet.

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