Twitter teams with IBM for business analytics

Steven Loeb · October 29, 2014 · Short URL:

IBM will analyze Twitter data and turn it into something actionable for the enterprise

Twitter is one of the biggest treasure troves of user data on the planet, and it has businesses, most likely literally, salivating at the prospect of getting their hands on it. Just getting the data is  not enough, though. They need more. They need something actionable.

And that's what they are about to get.

Twitter announced on Wednesday that it has partnered with IBM to analyze Twitter data. The point is to go beyond just seeing what is trending or what people are talking about; the data will be presented in such a a way that in will actually be help businesses made better decisions.

"From a data perspective, Twitter represents an enormous public archive of human thought that captures the ideas, opinions and debates taking place around the world on almost any topic at any moment in time," Twitter wrote.

"While companies have long listened to what their customers are saying on Twitter, complex enterprise decisions often require input from a lot of different systems. IBM’s expertise is in integrating complex systems and data to make better decisions."

As per the partnership, IBM will offer Twitter data as part of select cloud-based services, including IBM Watson Analytics, according to a post from Alistair Rennie, GM of IBM Business Analytics:

Also, using IBM’s Watson Developer Cloud or our BlueMix development platform, entrepreneurs and software programmers will be able to integrate Twitter data into their own cloud services and mobile apps.

In addition, Twitter and IBM also announced that they will be coming together to combine Twitter data and IBM’s analytics solutions into "a unique collection of enterprise solutions." According to Rennie, "the first target will be applications and services for sales, marketing and customer service."

The partnership with IBM was only possible because of Twitter's acquisition of social media API aggregation company Gnip, which gave the company the  ability to offer an enterprise-grade platform of data.

Despite all of the data it has, Twitter, frankly, has not yet made much money off of it. In the third quarter of 2014, $320 million of Twitter's $361 million revenue came from advertising. Only $41 million came from data licensing, a.k.a. Twitter actually selling that user data.

This partnership with IBM could be the first step toward expanding that revenue stream.

And let's not overlook the importance of gettting this data for IBM, a company that is looking for relevancy in both the cloud and in social. This type of partnership helps the company get in with a hip client, and allows it to get further away from its fading hardware business. 

(Image source:

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes

Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs



Joined Vator on

What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.

Related News