Twitter has finally realized that people don’t use it to buy things

Twitter Founder
Twitter is reportedly putting a halt to its e-commerce projects in order to focus on its core experience, namely the live tweeting service it has always provided.

As a result, Twitter’s commerce team has been disbanded, with individuals slotted into other departments at the company, according to BuzzFeed News.

The e-retail initiative, started by former CEO Dick Costolo, included a ‘buy’ button that was often integrated into branded product pages on the platform.

The problem, however, was that almost no one ever purchased anything via Twitter. In fact, some analysts now warn that the entire social media retail bubble may be about to pop. The likes of Pinterest and Facebook also attempted to attract revenue by placing similar buying options on their networks. But consumers have ignored social media, and have continued to flock to mobile retail sites instead.

Twitter's 'buy' button featured on a product page
Twitter’s ‘buy’ button featured on a product page

Although its “buy” button remains active, Twitter has chosen to instead focus on dynamic product ads. The latter are targeted advertisements shown to people based on their browsing activity. Twitter recently revealed that these ads achieve double the click-through rates and conversions of promoted tweets.

Twitter’s current leader, Jack Dorsey, doesn’t seem to be concerned with people buying things through the platform. Since taking back the reins in October of last year, he has made it very clear that he envisions the service as a place for live interactions. Dorsey has pinned his hopes on tweaking the current Twitter framework in an effort to attract new users and appease its fans.

For newbies, the platform has eliminated the inconvenience of finding and following its influencers, refining the Twitter experience using curated news feeds and an algorithmic timeline. For its outspoken supporters, it is broadening the amount of leverage they can get from its 140-character tweets without completely scrapping that core experience. Finally, but no less crucially, Dorsey is focusing on integrating livestreams — extending to Periscope and beyond — into its platform.

Dorsey clearly has a firm grasp on Twitter’s strengths and, it seems, e-retail was never its strong point.


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