Twitter has finally proved its critics wrong. The micro blogging site recently reported its first ever profitable quarter, bringing an end to speculations that the social media platform was fighting a losing battle. Twitter is also making a strategic shift to new revenue streams and its focus on India is helping it charter a new growth story.
On a short visit to India, Matt Derella, Twitter’s Vice President of Global Revenue and Operations, spoke about Twitter’s profitable phase, the shift to alternate revenue streams and the big promise that India holds for the company.
Twitter just delivered its first ever profitable quarter in its 12-yr history – what contributed to this? How are you looking to build on this to deliver growth in the future as well?
We finished the year on a strong note. It was an incredible ending to what was a really transformational year for us. When I look at the factors that have enabled us to bring us to this position of strength, I think it starts with a clear understanding of who we are. For many years, for a decade almost, we never really defined what Twitter was, what we stood for. When Jack Dorsey returned to the company two years ago, one of the first things he did was to define what Twitter is. The clarity around who we are is the decision that makes one thousand decisions. It has really driven focus and operational excellence.
Ad revenue has been a concern for Twitter in the past. Are you looking at alternative revenue streams at all and if yes, what can they be?
In the most recent quarter our advertising business grew at 7 per cent and we believe there is plenty of opportunity for us to help marketers build value. We also have other businesses where we have a very strong presence like our MoPub business, which is the world’s leading mobile ad exchange in the world. We also have a very strong data business and we are always exploring other areas where we can continue to add new value that translates into financial benefits for the company.
Twitter is also focusing big on Live Streaming, could you help us understand how it has changed the game for Twitter so far? How do you look to build on it in the future?
I think it is a natural extension as it is helping us be the best at what is happening. We are also excited about it and now some big investments are happening around it. Why I’m excited about 2018 is because our product is leading the future of how to connect with this kind of content. When it comes to content strategy, the first thing we do is to listen to Twitter to know what are the people taking about in India and then from that information it guides us in our content partnership efforts. We are not guessing, we are just listening to the people, what they want and helping make Twitter even better for them by bringing out such kind of content.
How is the Indian market helping Twitter add up to its revenue? What percentage of revenue are you looking at from this market in 2018?
I won’t be able to share the specifics. However, in the fourth quarter the international revenues grew 17% YoY and as I look across international markets, India represents a massive opportunity for Twitter. It is on an upward trajectory and I am in India because I’m very aware of the massive opportunity that we have in this market. In fact we want to create a Twitter that resonates with all parts of India.