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Twitter's treasure trove of data can be a boon for a company looking to acquire the platform, especially those that are seeking to find out what the public is thinking about a particular topic.
That information can be valuable for companies that offer programmatic advertising technology or customer relationship management (CRM). Getting almost real-time feedback from people could help brands strategize where to place their advertising or how to focus their messaging. For a CRM firm, it could tell companies what consumers are thinking about their products, give them insights on how to keep customer's happy, and nip issues before they become crises.
"Twitter data is highly valuable because it is one of the fastest information platforms, reflecting in the moment real time audience trends and sentiment," said Chad Bronstein, senior vice president of partnerships at marketing technology company Amobee. "Data of this type can give marketers a first mover edge, and enables them to connect with audiences in real time and capture their attention in a noisy advertising environment."
The platform could be used to identify viral moments, figure out how to get your company to jump in the conversation on a viral topic, and figure out immediate consumer feelings on a subject, Bronstein said. However, he cautioned that people's opinions could change rapidly, and what is said on Twitter could be the opinion of a vocal minority.
A report issued Thursday from Sun Trust listed IBM, Verizon, AT&T, Microsoft, Comcast or an international company as potential bidders for Twitter. Verizon and Oracle declined comment. IBM, Comcast and Twitter did not respond to requests for comment. AT&T and Microsoft declined to comment.
Another company that has been floated around is Salesforce, whose main revenue driver is a CRM product. Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff told CNBC's Jim Cramer that Twitter was a great product, but had "very severe challenges." Salesforce did not respond to requests for comment regarding the rumors.
"IBM, Oracle and Salesforce have all pursued aggressive acquisition strategies in the ad tech and [marketing] tech spheres, and the prospect of integrating Twitter's consumer data into a platform like Watson, for example, or adding it to Oracle's existing data from BlueKai and Datalogix, could be incredibly exciting for a company looking to offer clients an edge in data enrichment and consumer preferences," said Omer Kaplan, chief marketing officer and co-founder of online software and mobile distribution company ironSource.
Twitter is looking to sell by the time it reports its 2016 Q3 earnings on Oct. 27, sources told Reuters.
What sets Twitter apart is it has strong ad tech components and developer tools of its own, Kaplan said. Coupled with another company's capabilities, it could create interesting data insights, he added.
"For all it's struggles with user growth and revenue, Twitter still functions as an accurate — and real-time—barometer for consumer sentiment, and that kind of data is invaluable to companies looking to build out their marketing technology and data capabilities," Kaplan said.
"The question marketers are trying to answer is what's driving human behavior and how that can impact my brand," he added.
For example, production company Rooster Teeth uses social platforms, especially Twitter, to figure out what kind of shows to develop. After noticing that there was a high demand from their female audience for a female-led show, it created "Always Open." Similarly, shows with negative feed back online have been shuttered.
Also, when it comes to video, clips that are playable on Twitter tend to have the most engagement from fans compared to YouTube or Facebook videos, said Barbara Dunkelman, director of social and community marketing at Rooster Teeth. She added it is also an effective tool to build followings, both for the brand and for Rooster Teeth's various stars.
"(Twitter) is the most instant feedback we receive on everything," Dunkelman said.