In conversation with WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey said the focus was on differentiating and simplifying the Twitter offering for brands, and providing evidence it delivers clear value for money.
“We can make it a lot simpler,” Dorsey said. “And we want to make sure that every advertiser coming to Twitter can see that it works.”
Dorsey’s comments on advertising and improving ad revenue came in response to a question from Sir Martin on whether Twitter would consider switching to a paid subscription model for users in order for the business to improve its finances.
Sir Martin also suggested that Google and Facebook were too dominant a force, and that Twitter could be the alternative many advertisers were looking for.
“The fact is that our clients would really like a third force,” Sorrell said. “They would like to even out, to balance out, the digital ecosystem.”
While WPP is spending around US$300m with Twitter this year, that pales beside the $2bn its agencies are spending with Facebook and the US$5.5bn going to Google.
Dorsey said that in addition to simplifying the ad offering, there was also a push to improve the Twitter experience for users – which Sir Martin described as “clunky”. The aim, he said, was to make it easier for people to find the content that is most relevant to them at any given time, whether that’s text, an image, a video or live content.
But he signalled that winning the rights to show live sporting events – a year ago, Twitter was launching live NFL coverage on the platform – was not a high priority.
This kind of live streaming is “awesome, but it’s not necessary”, Dorsey said. Few people can watch anything live; what’s important, he said, is that whenever and wherever they do consume content, the conversation around it takes place on Twitter.
“I want to make sure we are one of the first places you hear of something that really matters to you. Anything that’s happening that you would find interesting … it should be that little bird on your shoulder that says ‘you really should pay attention to this’.”
On Twitter’s most famous user, Donald Trump, Dorsey said the president’s use of the platform – along with other world leaders – was an important way that the public could get close to what their leaders are thinking, respond in real time, and hold those people to account.
Asked by Sir Martin whether he would consider joining a Trump advisory council if the opportunity arose, Dorsey said only: “I would have to evaluate that.”
Data sourced from WARC