For a so-called “dying platform,” I’ve written a lot in the past few months about Twitter.
Whether it was the possibility of Twitter making emojis the new keyword, or all the way back in January when #Twitter10K was a hot topic, this social media platform has been at the center of many conversations throughout the industry lately.
Just this week, whispers of a potential sale of Twitter were circulating, which sent the rumor mill into overdrive. Big-name brands like Disney, Google, and even Salesforce are being thrown into the mix as potential buyers.
Each of these companies is very different. So I started thinking: What would happen if any one of them acquired Twitter? How might this deal look like for each of these companies? Let’s explore.
Given the fact that Twitter is now streaming events like the presidential debate, and joining forces with the NFL to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games globally, Disney may be looking at Twitter as a chance to expand its digital power. The House of Mouse already owns ABC and ESPN, along with their myriad of cable and digital entities; but people are fickle. As more and more people migrate their media consumption to digital-only platforms – particularly in the sought-after 18-35 demographic – Disney may be looking to follow the audience. ABC’s Thursday night lineup consistently trends on Twitter; College GameDay is an often-Tweeted weekly event. Why not join forces into one powerhouse platform? If Disney acquires a social network, they’re privy to data that their competitors can never touch and can use their existing channels to promote and generate content for their latest venture.
However, I keep wondering if a Disney acquisition would make other big-name networks like CBS, NBC and the like shy away from using Twitter since it would be owned by the competitor. Or would some healthy competition spur their creativity? Would Universal be the next to jump into social network acquisition?
Google has struggled to make waves in the social networking space. Google+ fought to gain traction to minimal avail. Buying Twitter would give Google the chance to let their presence finally be felt in the social sphere by purchasing an already successful platform, rather than trying to fight the Facebook behemoth for space market share.
Twitter also owns the live-streaming app Periscope, which, as of March 2016, boasted more than 200 million user-created broadcasts. The hunger for video content is almost insatiable right now. So for Google, who already has their foot in the video door with their ownership of YouTube, acquiring another video outlet could possibly lead to the integration of autoplay videos, and creation of a more user-friendly experience when embedding YouTube videos into tweets. Perhaps they’re even thinking of a foray on the Instagram Stories/Snap Inc. (formerly Snapchat) space to give Twitter the boost it needs.
Finally, Salesforce, the cloud computing company that’s behind the world’s top CRM solution, is on the table as a possible buyer. But how could this company help Twitter once again be a flourishing platform?
Compare it to Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn. With this acquisition, Salesforce, like Microsoft, would have access to stores of data from the pre-existing site—data that can be used to create new products and improve the software.
Many marketers use Twitter to reach new customers. This type of tactic could be rolled into a new software update for Salesforce that mines the data right from Twitter, which companies could then use to create relevant, valuable content and messaging.
What’s more, Salesforce already has a system in place that’s integrated with Facebook Lead Ads, which sends leads from Facebook directly into the CRM. It wouldn’t be a stretch to give the same capability to Twitter.
From the average tweeter’s perspective, nothing would likely change with a Salesforce acquisition. At least, not in regard to the general purpose of the platform. But marketers using one of the Salesforce tools could potentially use data gathered from Twitter to refine the targeting on their clients’ promoted tweets and gain marketing knowledge that can inform advertising across myriad other platforms. From a marketer’s perspective, this option definitely has some legs.
Though this would help brands spread their messaging to their target audience, Salesforce would also be faced with the challenge of growing the platform’s popularity among a younger crowd that’s not interested in sales or business development. After all, people turn to Twitter to express their thoughts, voice their opinions on certain topics, and share stories that mean something to them. Salesforce, while building its potential for business purposes, on one hand, will also have to come up with new, innovative strategies to engage users that aren’t into the marketing function but are interested in the social aspect of the network, instead.
Keep in mind that these are just rumors—an acquisition isn’t set in stone. Twitter will have to weigh the pros and cons of each company to find a perfect fit when moving forward.