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Ken Magill

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What Many May Have Missed in Twitter's TellApart Buy

5/19/15
 
By Ken Magill
 
Twitter is apparently banking on direct response advertising and a lot of folks are dismissing the effort.
 
But those folks may be missing a key insight: The value of consumer purchase history to direct-response advertising.
 
Twitter announced on April 28 it had agreed to buy digital ad platform TellApart for $532.6 million in stock.
 
“By bringing Twitter and TellApart together, we’ll be able to help performance advertisers reach users wherever they are, whether on desktop or mobile,” said a Twitter blog post. “TellApart brings deep expertise in performance advertising, driving cost-effective return on investment through dynamic product ads and email marketing…
 
“Direct response advertising has been a major growth engine for our ads business over the last several quarters. We’re confident that TellApart will accelerate that trajectory further.”
 
Twitter also announced on April 28 that later this year, media buyers will be able to purchase Twitter ad inventory through DoubleClick’s Bid Manager, “making it easier for clients who prefer to centralize their buying through DBM to create and manage campaigns on Twitter.”
 
Both announcements were received with a collective yawn.
 
“The purchase may also help increase retail adoption of Twitter’s retargeting tools but given Twitter’s stalling MAU (monthly active users) and limited reach, the Twitter + TellApart combination feels like a lot of sizzle without a real reason to take the new combination seriously,” said a post by Nii A. Ahene on AdWeek.com.
 
“Unless something dramatic comes out of the acquisition like an extensive publisher build out (both app and web) or the ability to leverage more interesting first or third party data to increase ad targeting and purchase intent capture, Twitter should remain a second tier priority for retailers behind Facebook and Google.”
 
According to copy on TellApart.com, TellApart is the only Predictive Marketing Platform that offers end-to-end delivery of personalized messages through channels and devices. These messages can be sent through advertising in display, social sites, mobile, email and even dynamic on-site promotions.
 
TellApart’s client roster is a who’s who list of retailers, including Brookstone, Neiman Marcus, Pottery Barn, Sur la Table, eBags and Overstock.com.
 
With the TellApart acquisition, Twitter now presumably has access to the purchase histories and email addresses of millions of customers of some of the world’s top retailers.
 
Twitter also has the massive file of email addresses of its users.
 
If Twitter is allowed to match TellApart’s clients’ costumers’ email addresses to the email addresses of its users, suddenly Twitter has the purchase histories of millions of its users and can serve ads to them accordingly.
 
What’s more, media buyers will be able to purchase the ads and measure the results with a tool they’re familiar and comfortable with.
 
And while it may seem farfetched, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that Twitter could email messages on behalf of sponsors straight into members’ inboxes based on past purchase behavior.
 
Sounds pretty powerful to me.
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