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Twitter Notes from MWC

February 21, 2011

For anyone not at the Mobile World Congress last week to catch the presentation from Twitter’s Dick Costolo here’s the scratch pad notes I took…

Twitter’s Mission
Their company mission is clearly and sharply articulated in one statement: To Instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most meaningful to them.

To accomplish this mission, their goals are to be instant, simple and always present – they are not as present as they would like to be yet.

They bring this mission to life through social connections; social connections defined as the contacts that happen between mutual followers in a given social context.

“Brands used to create experiences for our users, but now the users are creating experiences for each other”. They are not only helping each other, but they are also helping Twitter so they can continue helping each other (a great example of this is how they are crowdsourcing translations in different languages with impressive results).

Main Challenges
40% of tweets are created via a mobile device. 50% of active users connect through more than one platform.

They are struggling with having a consistent experience across multi platforms and consumers are having to re-learn how to use Twitter every time they use a different device/platform.

Another issue they are facing is the speed of adoption: they are looking to shorten the distance between awareness and engagement. Those two sides of the spectrum need to get closer, sooner.

Proof (s) of Success
Proof of their relevance is the growth of tweets per second: during the 2008 SuperBowl, they counted 27 tweets per second. During this year’s edition they counted up to 4000 tweets per second.

The record on tweets per second goes to Japan’s 2010 New Year’s Eve, with 6000 tweets per second (the whole country in the same timeframe)

“Calling Twitter a microblogging service misses its transformative impact. Like calling an automobile a “horseless carriage”

Twitter is the Second Screen
“People have talked about interactive TV and a second screen experience forever. We’re seeing now that the second screen is Twitter”

An interesting statement he made was how people are watching more real time TV again, as opposed to the DVR. If in fact Twitter is considered the 2nd screen, this means people can participate socially in the content they are simultaneously watching, so they can see and share real time.

Actually there are some instances where people are asking channels to air again some old TV shows so they can tweet about them with the world, through their second screens.

Twitter position for brands
They position themselves as a brand with a utility that enhances connections amongst people and other brands.

Their Business Model
3 main revenue streams:

  • Trend Topics, where a brand can pay to promote something within the topic or even become part of the trending topics
  • Promoted tweets: Not only tracking the brand’s followers but also non-followers conversations where the brand name is involved somehow
  • Promoted accounts: Tracking those accounts that discuss topics related to the brand’s belief system, so they can create conversations based on those shared values

The whole session was insightful and inspiring. Exciting times for Twitter, even though they’re not for sale and they’re not worth as much as you think they are. You can follow Dick on Twitter.

Alex Pallete is JWT’s Planning Director for International Business Development @alexpallete

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