Twitter's challenge: Personalization, co-founder says

Making bucks and keeping tweeters happy aren't mutually exclusive, Williams claims.

Making Twitter meaningful on a personal level to its users is the biggest challenge facing the microblogging service in the future, according to former CEO and co-founder Evan Williams. "With 100 million tweets flowing through the system on a daily basis, there's something for everyone, but the real challenge is finding the most valuable stuff for you," he said in an interview that aired today on National Public Radio's On The Media program.

"That may be an alert from a business about something you want to buy, it may be something from a friend, it may be something in the news, and finding that and doing that in real time is incredibly hard, but that is where the real value is going to come from," he observed.

"We really want to make Twitter the source of information that you check several times a day on your mobile phone," he continued. "I think right now Twitter does that in the best cases, but we have a long way to go to make that really valuable."

Asked about Twitter's recent chasing of revenue streams damaging the appeal of the service to its membership, Williams expressed confidence that making bucks and keeping tweeters happy aren't mutually exclusive. Current limitations on promoted tweets to one per search is one way to preserve the service's organic charm, he noted. Continuous analysis of a promoted tweet's engagement is another way to do that. "If people aren't either replying or retweeting or clicking on a link, we take that as a signal that it's not very interesting and then we'll stop showing it."

Garnering revenues through advertising means Twitter must compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. Nevertheless, Williams feels the service has a value proposition that's as attractive to marketers as its competitors. "The nature of Twitter as an information network is extremely valuable for anyone who wants to get a message heard by lots of people," he explained. "Obviously, that's what advertisers pay for."

Better yet, advertisers may be able to get better results with Twitter than other online vehicles. Williams cited a recent "promoted tweet" by the Washington Post aimed at attracting traffic to its election coverage. "That got about a nine percent engagement rate for people who saw it, which, to us, that's orders of magnitude higher than most advertising on the web," he said. It's an order of magnitude for most Internet marketers, too, who see the average click-through rate for an online display ad to be less than one percent.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags social mediainternetsocial networkstwitterInternet-based applications and services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John P. Mello Jr.

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?