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VIDEO: Twitter stands strong as a public platform for publisher connectivity

With the recent surge in the popularity of private messaging apps, much of the 2016 talk in media town has been about the shift from public to private social media. Facebook is betting big on Messenger and Whatsapp, while Snapchat has made secluded conversation cool again. But in Twitter, publishers still find a platform dedicated to distributing – and amplifying – on-site content. And as Rowan Barnett, senior director market development, Twitter D/A/CH, Benelux & Russia recently told us, this public focus shows no sign of shifting anytime soon.

Should publishers be concerned that Twitter seems to be becoming the main platform for news reporting?

Twitter is still 140 characters – most publishers can not tell a whole article in 140 characters, and therefore it’s actually a fantastic teaser for them to use the platform. There are 820m people coming to Twitter every month worldwide – newsrooms can use that audience to drive traffic back to their website, to drive awareness, and for them really to be at the centre of news as it’s happening on the platform.

So obviously that’s something that we are working hard on… how do we drive more traffic how do we drive more ROI? We’ve got various features that we’re doing that with with “Moments” for instance… That’s one of the things we’re looking at in trying to drive more to the publishers. So it’s hugely complimentary to the business model of publishers.

What does an ideal Publisher/Twitter relationship look like?

We work with lots of publishers all across the world in markets where we have teams on the ground and really we’re there to help them with consulting on best practices and consulting on their Twitter strategy – how can they build their brand? How can they integrate Twitter better within their content, business, and website? And so really they come to us or we go to them and we work together. 

What percentage of users login? Is that Twitter’s preference?

Twitter has 320m people logged in that come every month and on top of that we have 500m people that come every single month but consume logged out, and that’s actually something I think that doesn’t get enough attention. Because just like other platforms such as YouTube… I go to YouTube, I watch videos, but I don’t log in to do that. I go to a news site, I read the articles, I don’t log in to do that.

And it’s the same with Twitter - we’ve got 500m+ people coming to us reading the news on Twitter, going to, going to, and reading what is happening without logging in because you can actually consume everything logged out. So that’s why we’ve started to invest more in logged out – we’re rolling out monetisation and we’re making the experience better. Because at the end of the day until we give them the reason and show why it’s better to login, and of course it is a better experience, but if they want to consume it logged out, great, we’re happy for them to do that and we’ll make that experience better.

There seems to be a move towards private rather than public conversations – does that still fit the Twitter model?

Yes, totally, I think that is the USP of Twitter: We’re live, we’re public, we’re conversational, we’re distributed. You can take conversations around tweets into direct messages, so you can just take them with a click and then discuss that with people privately but we’re an open platform, that’s what Twitter’s really about, and that’s what enables Twitter to be so strong in news and allows news to just travel across borders in real time.

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