Archive for the 'Twitter' Category

AdStage now lets you buy and manage Twitter ads

Tuesday 21 October 2014 @ 5:00 am
AdStage now lets you buy and manage Twitter ads
Image Credit: Shawn Campbell

Cross-network advertising platform AdStage today has added the ability to purchase ads on Twitter.

AdStage offers marketers and businesses a centralized platform for buying adds across many different ad networks, including Google, Bing, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Clients can also adjust campaigns from AdStage’s platform for the best results as well as view a set of analytics to track progress. It’s new integration with Twitter makes it the only platform currently available that offers the ability to buy and manage ad campaigns from all the major social networks, according to cofounder and CEO Sahil Jain.

Creating a Twitter ad campaign through AdStage's platform.

Above: Creating a Twitter ad campaign through AdStage’s platform.

Image Credit: AdStage

AdStage is a bit different from other platforms that offer similar cross-network advertising services. Clients pay a monthly fee (starting at $99) for access, and don’t have a minimum amount of money they need to spend. Other cross-network platforms typically either put a minimum amount for a campaign, or charge a fee on top of the ad campaigns from each network. The startup has about 200 active companies using its beta ad campaign platform every month.

“Our [business model] means we’re able to serve smaller businesses that don’t have a huge budget to spend like the large companies,” Jain said in an interview with VentureBeat. He added that AdStage is interested in grabbing the companies that only spend $5,000 or so per month all the way up to the big spenders. The idea is that AdStage will let you experiment to see what works and what doesn’t, while remaining a self-serve ad campaign tool.

In addition to the Twitter ad integration, AdStage is also updating its platform for use by ad agencies and those with larger budgets that run many more ad campaigns than smaller clients. The startup is also announcing that it has hired a new executive from rival ad tech company Kenshoo, Paul Wicker, who will take over as AdStage’s new director of product.

Founded in 2013, the San Francisco-based AdStage has raised a total of $8.8 million in funding to date from Freestyle Capital, Digital Garage, Verizon Ventures, and others.

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AdStage is a self-serve cross-network online advertising platform with full management and analytics across search, display, social and mobile ad networks like Google, Bing, Facebook & LinkedIn. The all-in-one marketing platform, compl... read more »

Who To Follow On Twitter, According To Marc Andreessen

Sunday 19 October 2014 @ 9:52 pm
andreessen-marc_topic - NOT FOR FEATURED IMAGE Well-known Tweetstormer and investor Marc Andreessen has produced a list of his favorite people to follow on Twitter. He was prompted to do so by an article in The Information called “Silicon Valley’s Frontman Problem” by Jessica Lessin, who questioned if the industry leaders most often quoted by the media (she cited Andreessen, Elon Musk, and Peter Thiel) really… Read More

Twitter to roll out its Buy button to general public in early 2015

Friday 17 October 2014 @ 7:52 am
Twitter to roll out its Buy button to general public in early 2015

Above: Twitter's mobile "Buy" button

Image Credit: Twitter

Twitter is aiming to launch its new Buy button to all organizations some time in the first quarter of 2015, VentureBeat has learned.

The Buy button officially debuted last month with Twitter testing its functionality with only a handful of businesses, celebrities, and non-profit organizations. The button, available for those browsing from a mobile device, lets you make a purchase or donation directly from a tweeted message.

The company previously said it will gradually be adding more organizations to test the Buy button, but thus far it hasn’t announced when it will launch this new feature to everyone. Sources, however, tell VentureBeat that Twitter is planning to roll out the Buy button within the first three months of 2015.

The Buy button has the potential to transform Twitter into a serious mobile shopping player, if early successful attempts by startups like Moontoast are any indication. Not only can sellers quickly advertise a limited supply of exclusive products, now they’ll also be able to sell them much faster than featuring them on a standalone web store. The same could be said about fundraising for charities.

VentureBeat is following up with Twitter for confirmation about the Buy button’s launch date and will update this post with any new information.

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Twitter’s Music Card Now Plays In Its Mobile Apps And Supports iTunes Previews

Thursday 16 October 2014 @ 10:09 pm
twitter Twitter hit a bum note with its Twitter Music service, but everyone’s favorite 140-character social network is keen as ever to light up users’ timelines with the sound of music after it launched a spiffy new update to its music card. The company already has a card that lets you play tracks in-tweet when you post a link to Soundcloud, but it now supports mobile play — via… Read More

Twitter will soon start to show you tweets from folks you don’t follow

Thursday 16 October 2014 @ 4:48 pm

Twitter has decided to take your timeline into its own hands and show you tweets from accounts you don’t follow.

The social media giant, which has long been experimenting with our timelines by inserting promoted tweets and other suggestions into them, said in a blog post that it will soon be throwing in tweets from strangers.

Trevor O’Brien, of Twitter’s product team, writes:

One of our goals for experimentation is to continue improving your home timeline. After all, that’s the best way to keep up with everything happening in your world. Choosing who to follow is a great first step — in many cases, the best Tweets come from people you already know, or know of. But there are times when you might miss out on Tweets we think you’d enjoy. To help you keep up with what’s happening, we’ve been testing ways to include these Tweets in your timeline — ones we think you’ll find interesting or entertaining.

For example, we recently ran experiments that showed different types of content in your timeline: recommended Tweets, accounts and topics. Testing indicated that most people enjoy seeing Tweets from accounts they may not follow, based on signals such as activity from accounts you do follow, the popularity of the Tweets, and how people in your network interact with them. These experiments now inform the timeline you see today. (See our help center to learn more about what’s in your timeline.)

Some timeline experiments never make it to 100% of users. The ones that do aim to make the experience more interesting and relevant. As the timeline evolves, we will continue to show you Tweets you care about when they matter most.

But to be honest, this isn’t really all that shocking. Twitter has been messing with our timelines in the name of “helping us discover tweets or accounts” for a while, and back in August, one user spotted this new experiment when it was still supposed to be hush hush. It also introduced the “mute” button back in May to better tailor timelines, though users soon found out they couldn’t mute promoted content, sadly.

Speaking of promoted content, Twitter has also been tweaking our timelines by adding paid content such as promoted tweets and accounts, as well as content we might want to purchase from such as via the #AmazonCart hashtag or Twitter’s upcoming “Buy” button.

The idea of showing you tweets from accounts your network follows seems to be purely about increasing your engagement with the service. As the company itself said, while you can be pretty good at following the accounts you want to follow, you’re also likely to miss out on some that you’d benefit from following.

And obviously there are financial incentives for Twitter to want you to interact more with its service. It could, for example, leverage this free “promotion” to entice people or brands to shell out money to boost their reach — “look, so many more folks out there like your stuff, you should really consider spending some money with us!”

Higher engagement numbers could also mean more ad dollars.

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Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations. At the heart of Twitter ar... read more »

ISIS Tactics Illustrate Social Media’s New Place In Modern War

Wednesday 15 October 2014 @ 9:30 am
twitter-isis Bahjat Majid, 33, sat anxiously in his family’s refugee camp in Ainkawa, Iraq, in late September. In just days, he said, he would leave them and return to the front line as a Kurdish peshmerga soldier to fight the self-declared Islamic State. During his last battle, in Aiyrash Village near Qaraqosh, Majid endured heavy fire from snipers and mortars, the combat continuing day and night… Read More

Tech Stocks Show Weakness Amid Uncertain Global Economy

Sunday 12 October 2014 @ 5:50 pm
2067062407_c0ebf2204e_o Tech stocks fell sharply on Friday, setting a somber mood for the industry this weekend. The carnage was widespread, with giants taking a stumble — Microsoft, -3.97%; Google, 2.92%; Facebook, -3.95%; LinkedIn, -3.84%; Yahoo, -3.65%; and Alibaba, -3.28% — and newcomers joining in the general mayhem. MobileIron fell 6.92%. ZenDesk was off 8.06%. GoPro dropped 4.63%, Twitter fell… Read More

Twitter Sues The Government Over Data-Request Disclosures

Tuesday 7 October 2014 @ 4:45 pm
twitter-rise Twitter wants you to know that it is serious about data request transparency, and that is a darn fine good thing. The social company is suing the government for the right to share, in more granular detail, the requests for user data that state makes. The United States government would like such data to be opaque. Twitter, the opposite. Read More

Twitter sues government for right to make more NSA request data public

Tuesday 7 October 2014 @ 11:55 am
Twitter sues government for right to make more NSA request data public
Image Credit: Garrett Heath

Twitter has been complaining to the government for months about restrictions on the way the microblog can report national security-related data requests it receives. But the back and forth between Twitter and government wasn’t progressing to Twitter’s liking. Now the San Francisco-based company has filed suit.

Twitter says the government is violating its First Amendment right to free speech by limiting the specificity with which it may report the scope and scale of the data requests. Twitter reports the government’s requests twice a year in its Transparency Reports to users.

Tech companies have been under pressure to reassure customers that they aren’t eager to hand over user data to the government and to be more transparent in cases where it had to. But the government is placing limits on their ability to do so, in the name of national security.

“It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of US government officials by providing information about the scope of US government surveillance — including what types of legal process have not been received,” Twitter VP Ben Lee said in a statement. “We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges.”

In Twitter’s case, most tweets are already public, so Twitter would like to make clear to users that the risk of divulging sensitive information to the government is already limited. It would also like to report the exact number of requests it receives, which is markedly lower that email providers, for example.

The American Civil Liberties Union chimed in on the case, too: “Twitter is doing the right thing by challenging this tangled web of secrecy rules and gag orders,” legal director Jameel Jaffer said in a statement Tuesday. “We hope that other technology companies will now follow Twitter’s lead. Technology companies have an obligation to protect their customers’ sensitive information against overbroad government surveillance and to be candid with their customers about how their information is being used and shared.”

Government officials have said, however, that the FBI and National Security Agency are seeking to defend the country from real security threats, and the more that the world knows about their sources and methods, the greater the risk of losing capabilities.

Officials have also pointed to efforts to be more transparent, including their release of thousands of pages of redacted court and government documents pertaining to NSA surveillance programs. In the Jan. 27 agreement reached with other tech companies, officials say privately, the Justice Department tried to find a reasonable middle ground that allowed a greater level of disclosure while shielding the government’s ability to protect national security.

Twitter’s lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of California on Tuesday.

Via: Washington Post

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Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations. At the heart of Twitter ar... read more »

How Twitter can solve its onboarding problem

Thursday 25 September 2014 @ 1:30 pm


How Twitter can solve its onboarding problem
Image Credit: Garrett Heath

I love Twitter — I get so much value from it. I never want it to go away and I actually have a bet with a friend that Twitter will be here in 20 years. Twitter was also the first network I added to my company.

But, Twitter has an onboarding problem.

This problem stems from the simple fact that it is not simple or easy for a new user to learn how to use Twitter to maximum benefit. It takes a lot of work to make Twitter work for you.

I believe Twitter’s growth numbers have slowed in recent years because it has failed at product education and making the sign-up process easy. Twitter is doing a great job monetizing, but it seems a little ridiculous that most people don’t know that if you start a tweet with an @ mention, that only the people who follow you and that handle will see it in their feed (here’s a quick fix).

Still, I think there is a solution to its onboarding problem.

One thought before jumping in. Most people I know learned to properly use Twitter from a friend or family member. I learned how to use it when I joined Aviary in 2010. @msg and @mayafish said I needed to get on active on Twitter and gave me a Twitter 101 sit down. I taught my wife (@liztaub) and my mom (@hindytaub). My mom taught my dad (@rubytaub) and on and on. I’ve heard this type of situation with many others and think Twitter might want to invest a little time and effort in local events. I think it will go a long way with the snowball effect of friends/family teaching friends/family.

Now onto the onboarding process.

First let’s diagnose the main problem. It’s hard for individuals to understand the value in Twitter. From the sign-up process to becoming an active user, they are not building the optimal follow list for their respective interests. This leads them to not use the product often. I think this is fair reasoning. So the solution needs to be:  how can Twitter get new users to a point where they are following enough of the right people to come back and use Twitter as their #1 source of information?

The current sign-up process requires someone to be a self-starter. It’s a major undertaking to find good people to follow. And most regular people are looking for shortcuts on a daily basis. They don’t want to take 30 minutes to follow a few hundred people to have a steady flow of news. They want things done for them and they want it to be good. This general life mentality is at odds with the way Twitter runs its sign-up flow and I think that is where the split of active users versus. non-active users happen. I don’t think Twitter releases total sign ups versus active users but I imagine there is a major discrepancy — more than your normal consumer-facing company. So, how does Twitter solve this pretty big problem?

I’ve thought about it a lot. I’m in a unique situation because I speak to a lot of Twitter users, mostly brands, but a sprinkle of individuals. This is something I do all day, given that I am the co-founder of SocialRank (a company that helps brands find out more about their followers on Twitter and pulls them into a central location , sort of like a Hootsuite but for followers).

Before founding SocialRank, I was running the business side of the API platform for payments company Dwolla with my now co-founder Michael, who led the technical side.

When we joined Dwolla we knew that the developer portal needed a huge facelift. At the time it was just a bunch of developer docs, which was great, but the problem was non-technical people couldn’t understand how they could leverage the API for their company. A common scenario we saw was that a CEO, head of product, business lead or someone else would come in trying to understand Dwolla and what they could do with the API, but were ultimately discouraged because there was no clear path for them. They didn’t understand the developer documentation, so we lost a potential merchant or partner.


What we did was build an entry point ( that had two paths, one for technical people and the other for non-technical folks. You either code or you don’t. If you do code, you go down the coding path and see the developer documentation, helper libraries and more. If you don’t code, you go down the path to see what the API’s capabilities are, how other merchants are using the API, and more. The flow worked out really well, API usage grew and a lot of developer sections copied it because of the success.

So how does this relate to Twitter’s sign-up process? I think there needs to be a path split at the most important point of Twitter’s sign-up process. But, instead of “Code” and “Don’t Code” it is “Build your follow list” and “Build it for me.” Let’s dig in as to how I think it should work.


Twitter already does a really good job right after sign-up by asking you what your interests are. Once you finish ticking off your interests, though, is where I think they are missing a step. Here is where I would add the split path. One path to build your follow list as normal and one to have it built for you. If you click “Build your follow list,” you go through the existing way of onboarding — this is for those self-starters that naturally figure out how to use this crazy thing they call Twitter.


If you click “Build it for me!” that’s when things get interesting. There are a few ways to approach this, but let’s look at three.




Once a person itemizes their interests in the previous step, Twitter can build an optimal follow list of 100–300 accounts that are awesome in these interests. So for example if you selected an interest in sports, tech, and rap and hip hop music you’d get a list of appropriate people to follow. Your sports list might include everyone from Bill Simmons and Kobe Bryant to a sports writer for the NY Times and A-Rod. For tech, you’d have everyone from Elon Musk, Tim Cook and Fred Wilson to Marc Andreessen, Drew Houston and Marissa Mayer; and for Music you’d have accounts like 50 Cent, Drake, Eminem, Iggy Azalea and Macklemore.

The list should include a combination of popular accounts (i.e. industry-celebrities) as well as people that have a highly engaged follower base. Twitter, you already have this data, so go and make awesome follower lists. Then a new user just has to learn how to perfect that follow list — adding new accounts and removing accounts, and learning what to tweet and how RTs, Favs and @ mentions work.



On this next path, Twitter will ask a new user who they want to emulate after they list their interests. Instead of building an optimal follow list for them, suggest a few people that have the same interests as they do and offer them the opportunity to carbon copy someone else’s follow list.

This is a riskier approach, because follow lists are a combination of interests and personal contacts. So for example if someone had similar interests to me and decided to follow the people I follow in one fell swoop enabled by Twitter, they would get sports, media, tech but also get my friends, family and more. I don’t follow a lot of friends and family, maybe 20–50 accounts total, but enough to throw people off. It would be interesting if Twitter could do the carbon copy but remove the smaller friend and family accounts. In other words, take the top 75% in terms of follower count or engagement and start someone there.



The third path uses Twitter Lists. In this path Twitter would take very popular lists and use them as suggested follow lists — not to follow as a traditional list, but to follow the accounts within the list. This is another great starting point as Twitter will have a good sense of who likes what type of lists. Extracting those accounts out and building a follow list for a new user can be a good path to success.


I believe that if Twitter starts thinking about splitting new users into two types, the ones that want to select their followers for themselves and the ones that want to be told who to follow based on interests, Twitter will be able to A/B test and find optimal paths to activity as well as continue to tinker with the massive amounts of data they have and make the suggestions 100 times better.

Alex Taub is co-founder of Social Rank, an application that organizes and analyzes your Twitter followers. Find him at @ajt or [email protected]  

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