Twitter hires Ticketmaster CEO Hubbard to bolster e-commerce strategy

Twitter has announced former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard as its new head of commerce, reporting directly to head of global revenue Adam Bain.

The news was confirmed in a tweet – where else? – from Bain yesterday, prompting thoughts about how Twitter will look to push its e-commerce strategy going forward.

If anything, yesterday’s announcement ties up the loose ends, following reports two weeks ago that Hubbard had left his post at Ticketmaster.

Hubbard, according to a quote from Bloomberg, will initially team up with payments merchants as opposed to directly competing with the likes of eBay and Amazon. This seems to make sense, not only because it would be a long, hard road for the microblogger if they did the latter, but as Hubbard noted: “One of the hallmarks of Twitter’s entire approach has been partnering.”

There are various ways Twitter could increase revenue through these channels, be it through payment links via Promoted Tweets, or through more specific tools for retailers within tweets. Similarly, Twitter Cards could also be a worthwhile platform for retail monetisation.

Earlier this month, Twitter announced partnership with Datalogix so the microblogger can quantify “offline sales impact” – in other words, how Promoted and organic Tweets impact offline sales for consumer packaged goods.

This could also be the push which finally drags Twitter into the public domain, with reports widely circulated suggesting that the social network will float sometime in 2014. Analysts at Greencrest valued Twitter at $11bn (£6.8bn) in January, with the Telegraph reporting that the company is “being courted by banks” eager to be first in line for when the social network does enter the market.

The elephant in the room is of course Facebook, who is reportedly launching a one-click mobile payments offering of its own. As Ovum analyst Eden Zoller notes, payments has traditionally been a weak spot for Facebook, with quarterly commerce activity revenue slumping at $214m in Q213, compared to overall revenue in the quarter of $1.81bn.

For Hubbard, however, the potential for monetisation is vast. What do you make of this announcement?

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