Marketers will increase their spending on social media advertising by more than 21% this year, Dentsu forecast this week. The agency said ecommerce will be an important driver of this growth as brands seek sales conversions directly within social media apps.

Twitter is among the social media platforms that seek to prolong consumer engagement with more video content including live shopping. In this Beet.TV discussion, Sarah Personette, chief customer officer of Twitter, describes the company’s recent and future efforts to connect advertisers with consumers.

Video Consumption

Many people have increased their video consumption on connected devices such as smart TVs and mobile phones, leading marketers to boost their digital ad spending on social media and video-sharing platforms.

“People on average are expected to be watching over 100 minutes of video online per day, and Twitter is no different,” Personette said in this discussion with Doug Rozen, chief executive of Dentsu Media – Americas. “The surge of live and video on our platform over the last two years has been very similar to that of other platforms.”

Twitter is different from other platforms with its focus on immediacy, giving people a way to see news as it happens and to take part in online discussions about current trends. Many people follow running commentary on Twitter during live events such as football games and other sports .

“We see a ton of real-time consumption,” Personette said. “We see that we are the ‘home of the highlight’ and we also see that we are the ‘second screen’ and the ‘first scroll.’ Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what’s happening in the world is happening on Twitter.”

Avoiding Competition in Content

Unlike other social media companies that have paid for original programming and long-form videos, Twitter has focused on short-form content that fits in its continual news feed.

“Our strategy is to be complementary and not competitive in any way,” Personette said. “With the series of content partners that we have, we worked to invest in helping them shape content that is going to be highly engaging and highly relevant for every individual’s feed.”

Twitter’s video inventory is manually reviewed to ensure it’s brand-safe.

“That has been a really important part of our ability to meet advertisers’ needs,” Personette said. “That manual review and that partnership with creators all the way through to large content publishers has been important to our video strategy.”

Piloting Live Shopping

Networks like HSN and QVC have offered live shopping for years, mostly as a niche within the broader retail industry in the United States. The sudden growth of live shopping in China on platforms like Alibaba’s Taobao Live has led more companies to test the retailing format in the U.S.

“Looking at the market overall, commerce on mobile is actually expected to double by the year 2025,” Personette said. “The way that we think about it is that our shopping experience essentially allows you to watch and experience video live while also buying and browsing those products.”

Twitter partnered with discount chain Walmart on a live shopping pilot. It included a half-hour variety show hosted by singer Jason Derulo, and featured products for viewers to buy immediately within Twitter’s app. The company will continue to push into social commerce as its development teams gather data signals from consumers, Personette said.

“Live shopping or social shopping is so new in terms of a consumer behavior today,” she said. “At the start of covid, there were so many different shopping experiences that were immediately launched and I think we have taken a more patient approach….We’re really trying to think holistically about it.”

Live Social Audio

Twitter in 2020 began public tests of its Spaces feature that lets users host live audio chats with others, and recently added a recording feature to re-stream those conversations. The company is working to make Spaces more seamless with other parts of the platform, giving marketers a way to have more robust interactions with their customers.

“This new format brings an opportunity for brands to operate without borders,” Personette said. “They can listen, they can learn, they can interact in real time with people while they are either hosting a conversation or they’re bringing in somebody else to help host challenging conversations on their behalf.”

Priorities for New CEO

Under the leadership of Parag Agrawal, who replaced co-founder Jack Dorsey as chief executive in November, Twitter will continue to develop its technology, including artificial intelligence to help personalize content that people see on the platform.

“He is very, very focused on personalization for better relevancy of the experience that you will have as an individual,” Personette said. “It also helps to ensure that everyone has a better advertising experience, too.”

You are watching “Advertising Transformation: What’s Next for Converged TV and Video,” a Beet.TV Virtual Leadership Summit presented by Mediaocean. For more videos, please visit this page.