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Twitter Has Acquired Gnip; What Does That Mean for Your Marketing?

Posted by drew on April 20, 2014, 6 p.m.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of Twitter’s acquisition of the Boulder, CO start-up, Gnip. If not, let’s start with a crash course in this purchase. Gnip is essentially a data-mining company, founded in 2008. They take data from social media sites (basically every social network you can think of, but most notably Twitter) and then they sell that data to marketers.

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For an idea of how this might work, and why marketers would want your data, let’s think about the kinds of things someone might post on their Twitter accounts. If a user posts about themselves being sick and taking the day off of work, various advertisers might want to take advantage of this data, such as makers of cough syrup and soup. If someone posts frequently about watching a certain television show, they can be flagged for advertising when that show comes out on DVD. Gnip collects this posted data, organizes it into useful trends and lists, and then sells that information to businesses who can profit off of it.
 
In purchasing Gnip, Twitter is essentially cutting out the middle-man. Rather than allow a 3rd party company access to the Firehose (a real-time stream of all twitter data) so that they can make money off of it, Twitter itself will now be the company making money off of this data. Twitter will be selling user data to advertisers directly. But this isn’t just about serving you advertisements. Traders also want access to social media data to gauge the impressions of certain brands. This information informs the way they make trades.
 
This acquisition is another step toward realizing the power of Big Data. Twitter hopes this purchase will allow the company to “offer more sophisticated data sets and better data enrichments, so that even more developers and businesses big and small around the world can drive innovation using the unique content that is shared on Twitter,” according to Twitter’s VP of Platform, Jana Messerschmidt, who posted about about the agreement on the twitter blog
 
What does this mean for marketers? Well, data-driven marketing has been around for a long time, and this is just another step in putting an end to advertising without data. As more and more advertisers use this data, it will quickly go from a competitive advantage to merely a necessity in order to be considered among the competition.
 
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