E-commerce will be a vital tool as Twitter works to grow its slate of direct response advertising products, CFO Ned Segal said Tuesday at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Communications Virtual Conference.
“You should be able to click and buy something on Twitter,” Segal said. “We’ve come to appreciate that people do a lot of research on Twitter before they buy something.”
Twitter users go to the platform for expert commentary and advice on expensive products like phones or shoes, Segal said, and they can be compelled to make “spur-of-the-moment decisions” to buy products real-time. “These are all great opportunities for us to connect existing advertisers and new advertisers with their customers on Twitter,” Segal said. “So commerce will be an important lever for us.”
“E-commerce is on the road map,” Segal told analysts during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call in February. “The advertiser funnel [between] getting people the opportunity to click-through the website or to download an app is really important, and those have been places where we've already been able to help advertisers. But we won't be done until we help somebody begin a purchase on the service.”
In March, Twitter shared it would be experimenting with new shopping features and an in-app Twitter Card containing purchase links.
But the company hasn’t outlined how the new features will work, or how large a cut it would assume per sale. Regardless, Twitter is “being really thoughtful” about its relationships with the brands who would seek to sell on the service, Segal said.
In facilitating an advertiser-customer relationship, Twitter intends to “[make] sure we're helping advertisers [and] not standing in between them and their customers,” said Segal, who has become Twitter's go-to spokesperson for its initiatives. “That’s critical to success; we want [advertisers] to see Twitter as a partner, and not as a potential competitor.”
Segal likened the balance to how he hopes creators feel towards the company. “We want creators to think of Twitter as a way for them to find their customers, not [as] somebody who's going to take a disproportionate amount when they're creating so much value,” he said. “We're creating the network, and the opportunity to facilitate the transaction.”
Twitter is one of several social media companies to dip its toes into e-commerce in recent years, CNBC reported, and follows in Facebook’s footsteps as it angles to become a shopping destination.
Last year, Facebook launched direct-to-consumer digital storefronts Instagram Shops and Facebook Shops. In February, Shopify integrated Shop Pay into both those services, Retail Dive reported.
Last week, Facebook announced that every Friday starting May 21 through July 16, it will feature shoppable live videos from beauty and fashion brands via Facebook Shop, according to Retail Dive. Among the brands participating in the livestreams are Clinique, Sephora, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and Abercrombie & Fitch.