Google Confirms Data Sharing Deal With Twitter

4 minute read
Jose Alvarez avatar

People will find out what you're tweeting quicker, thanks to a partnership between Google and Twitter. The deal, confirmed in Twitter's fourth quarter earnings call, will allow Twitter to provide Google with tweets as soon as they're posted to the social networking site.

Through the arrangement, Twitter hopes to expand its reach to more users. Twitter also has similar deals with Microsoft and Yahoo, but Google, as we all know, has the lion's share of the search engine market.

Haven't We Been Here Before?

Twitter had a similar deal with Google from 2009 to 2011 called Google Realtime Search. 

At the time, Twitter had no archive search function of its own. “Google doing it [archive search] takes some of the pressure off. Where do we want to innovate in this world and drive unique set of experiences?” said Mike Abbott, Twitter's then-vice president of engineering, said.

But the deal was allowed to lapse, a move that took some industry observers by surprise. “Twitter has been a valuable partner for nearly two years, and we remain open to exploring other collaborations in the future,” a spokesperson for Google said at the time

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said the move wasn't immediate. Tweets won't appear on Google for another several months. He didn't go into any further detail regarding the deal. However, during the fourth quarter earnings call, it was noted that data licensing generated $47 million in the fourth quarter.

Costolo also mentioned that more was to come — implying the deal between Google and Twitter. “We have a number of projects under way to grow our user base and provide a compelling valuable experience to anyone in the world, whether they have a Twitter account or not,” Costolo told investors.

Twitter vs. the Competition

Twitter has 288 million monthly users, putting it behind Facebook (1.39 billion), LinkedIn (347 million) and Instagram (300 million).

Learning Opportunities

The deal with Google could help it leapfrog ahead of Instagram and LinkedIn, despite doubt from analysts.

“Twitter's biggest challenge is to prove it can win and retain new users. Just 18 months ago Twitter was clearly the No. 2 consumer social network, but now it appears to have tumbled into fourth place,” Forrester Research analyst Nate Elliott said. “Relative newcomers like Instagram and Pinterest have spent the last year collecting more and more new users. But Twitter has acquired only a modest number of new users in the past year, and its engagement rate per user actually went down slightly last quarter."

However, Elliott noted that Twitter can get more money from the users it has by making it more efficient than its competition in terms of generating revenue.

Analyze This

The data-sharing deal could be a boon for analytics, so companies that actively use analytics in their business strategy should be watching where these numbers will be heading come 2015.

Twitter's mobile advertising revenue is 88 percent of its total ad revenue of $479.1 million last quarter. It also reported $164 million in international revenue, around a third of the quarter's total ad revenue. The data-sharing deal with Google plus the increasing numbers of mobile users in emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa could push at least the international revenue numbers higher in 2015.

Jeff Riddall, director of product strategy at gShift, a company that provides a web presence analytics platform, said the deal "validates the importance of social media, the distribution of content via social media channels and the absolute necessity for marketers to monitor and measure web presence across multiple channels." He continued:

Content posted to Twitter, in particular, has taken a leap forward as its accessibility and visibility will henceforward be indexed, analyzed and displayed within search results of the de facto organic search option, thereby enabling brands to increasingly use this channel to boost their online authority. Twitter should no longer be discounted by any organization looking to establish and extend its web presence."

About the author

Jose Alvarez

Jose Alvarez is a freelance writer and journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area who has written on many topics including tech, gaming and business for the past seven years. An alumnus of Saint Mary's College of California, he started writing for his college newspaper in the United States, and has worked at Gadgets Magazine in the Philippines, covering tech products, gaming, and tech news.

Noreen Seebacher

A Savannah, Georgia area-based writer and editor, Noreen bridged the digital divide by transitioning from print to online. Before joining SMG/CMSWire as Chief Editor, she was an editor at two UBM Tech sites.

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