Ad-Tech Execs Weigh In On Twitter’s IPO

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ADOTAS — Here’s what some of the online ad industry’s movers and shakers are saying about Twitter’s IPO today:

“With an active user base of 232 million users Twitter definitely has traction, nonetheless Twitter has yet to turn a profit and currently reports 9% of the revenue Facebook reported a year ahead of its IPO. While this upcoming IPO shows the markets hunger for Adtech innovation, Twitter still needs to prove its proprietary advertising model. In general, social media is still unproven in terms of return on investment that more advertisers are now demanding.” — Sephi Shapira, CEO of MassiveImpact.

“With Twitter’s IPO there will be an increase in audience growth and wider initiatives to bring in a wider audience. For marketers, the IPO does not only mean a wider reach thanks to a growing audience, but also a multitude of untapped monetization opportunities. Thanks to the recent acquisition of MoPub, there will be a much higher emphasis on mobile: MoPub’s technology allows real-time bidding into the Twitter ads platform which will result in greater automation and scalability for mobile marketers. Next to mobile, Twitter offers other new tools that offer great potential for marketers: Thanks to Vine (video tool), there might be a possibility to place video ads. Moreover, Twitter offers great potential for real-time marketing. With the use of keywords and hashtags, marketers will be able to shift towards exciting real-time opportunities. — Frans Van Hulle, CEO/Founder of ReviMedia.

“Twitter adding images and videos directly into the twitter feed just before their IPO is no accident, as advertisers will look for richer media than 140 character text snippets to advertise their brands. Speculation on how these will likely become native ad formats will certainly help the IPO. On the flip side, success for Twitter will lie in making their ad platform available for the general marketing public. Their current focus on brands and the lack of a credible self-serve platform is rubbing the vast majority of agencies and marketers the wrong way. Anyone trying to advertise on Twitter today needs to jump through many hoops to open an account. Of course, this is in sharp contrast to the self-service approach offered by leaders such as Google, Bing Ads and Facebook Ads.” — Marc Poirier, EVP, Business Development of Acquisio.

“Twitter has been a huge proponent for democratizing media creation and distribution, and that is really exciting. I look forward to seeing how Twitter and developers will continue to push toward making Twitter THE platform for public self-expression. But to get there it needs to be about more than just distribution – we need to see much more true engagement than we do today. Twitter encourages us to pay attention to what’s new, but to encourage self-expression, it must allow the content of that expression to be valued – not just the act of expressing. It must allow creators to build and cultivate lasting assets, and to display those assets in ways that feature and enhance whatever their creators are trying to express. That may never be Twitter’s model, so some of that we will have to do ourselves. Twitter’s distribution engine is fundamentally unidirectional. Their investor pitch gives several examples of brands having one-to-one conversations with customers, so the question becomes – is Twitter really an “engagement” platform at all? So there’s the dilemma – how do brands get the engagement, without having to pay for it? The solution is getting their followers to engage with EACH OTHER. You create a community AROUND your brand, and you feed that community so that it begins engaging itself. I see that as the only economical way to do it.” — Stephen T. Bradley, Founder & CEO of AuthorBee.

“The Twitter IPO presents another opportunity to invest in social media, and it’s likely that early adopters of the stock will range from stalwart institutional investors, baby boomers looking to boost their portfolios post-financial crisis, and the growing crop of Millennials with minimal disposable income but maximum social media experience. While the Twitter-literate, under-50 crowd doesn’t always have the deepest pockets when it comes to investing, the good news for Twitter is that its adoption among all age groups is on the rise, even among the 65+ crowd. More than ever, social media companies need to balance shareholder demands and community requests. This should drive them to be greedy for more friends, in the form of users and shareholders. If Twitter’s IPO is to be successful, now and in the long run, the company should make every effort to keep all of those friends happy, not prioritizing one group over another. No matter how disparate and demanding they may become. — Jarrett Lilien, Chairman and CEO of Kapitall.

“Twitter’s IPO is very well timed and should be a very good investment. Twitter has a strong mobile presence at a time when mobile advertising marketing is starting to grow as a rapid pace. Twitter is strong with the younger demographics at a time when TV is losing its grip on advertising to the cool crowd. Big brands are very interested in Twitter’s users, and performance marketers will be able to capitalize on the real-time advertising that sponsored tweets provide. Twitter will also have the benefit of learning from past social network IPOs like LinkedIn and Facebook. Taking a company public is no easy task, especially in the social media industry. Every action the company takes will be scrutinized by investors, analysts and the media. Privacy issues are a big concern that will take away focus and resources from the main objective.  And, for a public company, the main goal should obviously be to drive the maximum value and meet or beat market expectations.” — Joe McCormack, CEO of Adquant.

“Investors are gung-ho about the Twitter IPO because they are betting that marketers will increasingly pour money into Twitter advertising in order to connect with consumers online, making Twitter profitable in the process. Maybe… but the Twitter advertising ‘pot of gold’ is hiding the rainbow. The real value of Twitter lies in its data. Advertising will most probably not transform Twitter. Advertising focuses on creating awareness, sharing a message about the product or driving people to a website, for example. But companies that advertise on Twitter are only reaching those individuals who have self-selected to follow that company’s tweets. And it won’t be long before marketers catch on that editorial content is much more effective than for example a promoted tweet, given the existing affinity between the brand and its followers. What Twitter DOES offer to marketers is a real-time glimpse into the daily activities, goals, complaints and dreams of its users, and the aggregated insights provide marketers with contextual, granular and spontaneous input into new product innovation, brand strategy creation, portfolio development and even rationalization, etc… Forget the 230 million Twitter users; the value of Twitter is to connect the marketer with the consumers that matter most: the vocal, regular users of a product who can then become passionate ambassadors of the brand if their needs are understood and if the product satisifies those needs.”— Agathe Blanchon-Ehrsam, Executive Director of Vivaldi Partners.

“Twitter is doing all of the right things as a mobile first company. Twitter is focused on monetizing their mobile users from day one of their IP vs the mistake Facebook made in not focusing on mobile ads until quarters after their IPO. Twitter has an amazing amount of first party data that they can leverage when targeting mobile ads and native ad formats that are unique in the market, which are both of significant interest to brands and their agencies.” — Howie Schwartz, CEO/Founder of Human Demand.

“Twitter’s last-minute IPO price raise guidance underlines that the market is hot for digital after impressive IPOs from Rocketfuel and Criteo. As Facebook had to do Twitter will have to demonstrate value beyond the clicks they deliver; they need an attribution solution.” — Jon Baron, CEO/Founder of TagMan.

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