B&T recently went one-on-one with Twitter Australia managing director Suzy Nicoletti (pictured) to discuss the platform’s monetisation strategy, the threat of Google and Facebook, and Donald Trump.
You’ve only been in the MD role for a few months now. What have been the main challenges since joining Twitter?
Last year was a transformative one for Twitter, and as we reset, for the new year, we really focused on why people use the platform. We defined and strengthened our core use case – Twitter is the fastest and best way to see what’s happening and what everyone’s talking about in the world; we simplified our organisation to execute faster and more efficiently; and we focused our work with partners on bringing them more revenue, reach and innovation on Twitter. And our strategy is working. We have re-accelerated audience growth globally and in Australia through a combination of product improvements and bringing more premium content onto Twitter.
We have a lot of really good momentum, and are hugely optimistic about what we’ll be able to achieve in the rest of 2017 and beyond.
It seems the problem with Twitter is that it has a massive audience but is unsure of how to monetise it. Do you agree?
We are really proud of Twitter’s massive audience. Over the past four consecutive quarters, daily active users (DAU) have increased. Just last month we reported DAUs up 14 per cent year-over-year to reach 328 million globally. This growth was even higher locally, with more Australians coming to Twitter more regularly, and consuming and engaging more content.
Now, we’re working closely on translating this audience growth into revenue growth. We’re streamlining and simplifying our revenue products, and reallocating resources to our highest revenue-generating priorities. We’re placing a big focus on video here in Australia as it’s some of the most premium content on Twitter, and what people engage with most.
We believe that executing on this plan and continuing to grow our audience will continue to see Twitter monetise the platform.
Google and Facebook seem to have done well in eating up ad revenue. What are Twitter’s plans to remain a significant player?
Twitter is the best and fastest place to see and talk about what’s happening in the world, whether that’s about their interests or brands. No other platform can replicate that.
One key focus area is to bring more video content and programming to Twitter in Australia, making it easier than ever for our partners to go live and monetise their own content. Combined with Twitter’s reach and engaged audience, it’s this value proposition that makes brands want to advertise with us. In the first quarter of 2017, our video views in Australia were up significantly. This was on the back of some great wins we had with the likes of the NRL, which we recently broadcast a junior international and a junior final match; the Intel Extreme Masters, Australia’s biggest ever esports event, live from Sydney, to a highly engaged gaming audience; and the federal budget, where we had a number of content partners, including BuzzFeed, HuffPost Australia, Channel Seven and the ABC, go live.
We’ve also improved ROI for brands on Twitter, and as the amount of high quality content on the platform continues to increase, it’s really paying off. In the first quarter, cost per engagement for advertisers on Twitter globally decreased more than 60 per cent year on year.
How can brands and marketers better utilise Twitter?
Our video solutions and content partnerships are creating new opportunities for marketers to reach passionate, engaged audiences. One year after Twitter kicked off its first live stream partnership, we’ve closed more than 56 live stream partnerships around the world, and streamed over 800 hours of live content in the first quarter of 2017 alone. We just announced 16 new live streaming content deals at Digital Content NewFronts with the likes of Bloomberg, IMG, Live Nation, Buzzfeed, PGA and more, the majority of which will be available to Australian audience.
There is also huge opportunity for brands to become content creators themselves, using Twitter as their distribution platform. We’ve already seen brands take advantage of this and it represents a huge opportunity for many other brands to do the same. For example, Myer recently became the first brand in Australia (and the first department store in the world) to use Periscope 360 to provide Twitter users an unprecedented “in the round” view of its Autumn/Winter fashion show launch. NAB also used Twitter to livestream its #Budget2017 breakfast featuring unique insights from its chief economist, Alan Oster.
Has Donald Trump damaged the Twitter brand, or has his activity on the platform been a positive?
Our audience numbers have continued to grow over the last four consecutive quarters. Research we’ve conducted on user growth on Twitter has shown it is more about the improvements we’ve made to the platform than any one person.
We know politics of any kind is big on Twitter, as #auspol continues to be the number one hashtag in Australia. We have 90 per cent of the world’s leaders – presidents, prime ministers, heads of state – on our service. Having global leaders use Twitter helps build awareness and sparks discussion, debate and controversy, all of which reinforces our ability to show you what’s happening in the world better than anyone else.
For example, the recent Korean election generated over 57 million Tweets during the course of the election campaign.
Furthermore, #auspol – the hashtag used to discuss Australian politics – is another great example of how Twitter is used as the platform for these types of discussion. This hashtag has consistently been the most used hashtags in Australia for the last three years.
This has all been positive for Twitter.
What is the focus for Twitter in Australia for the remainder of 2017?
We’re focused on working with content providers and brands to bring them more reach, revenue and innovation. This includes focusing on live and video – the perfect example of the value of Twitter – and we’re working hard to ensure our partners can monetise the Twitter audience here and across the world. We have a clear direction for 2017, and we’re positive we’ll continue to strengthen the Twitter platform for brands and consumers alike.
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