KEY POINTS
  • Twitter CFO Ned Segal said e-commerce will be an important lever for the company as it continues to build out direct response advertising products.
  • "You should be able to click and buy something on Twitter," Segal said.
  • Twitter is the latest social media company to indicate it has big plans for e-commerce features moving forward.
Twitter's Chief Financial Officer, Ned Segal

Twitter CFO Ned Segal said Tuesday that e-commerce will be more important for the social media company as it continues to build out direct response advertising products.

"You should be able to click and buy something on Twitter," Segal said at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Communications Virtual Conference. "We've come to appreciate that people do a lot of research on Twitter before they buy something."

Segal explained that users go to Twitter to hear what experts have to say about products like phones and shoes. Users also could feel compelled to make spur-of-the-moment decisions to buy products as they chat about major events, like the Super Bowl, in real-time on Twitter.

"These are all great opportunities for us to connect existing advertisers and new advertisers with their customers on Twitter," Segal said. "So commerce will be an important lever for us."

Twitter briefly touched on its e-commerce plans in February during its analyst day, and the company confirmed in early March that it is testing new types of tweets that include shop buttons.

The company has yet to provide details as to how these e-commerce features might work or how big of a cut Twitter will take from each sale, but Segal said the company is being really thoughtful about its relationship with brands that may wish to sell on its service.

Twitter is "making sure that we're helping advertisers in a way where we're not standing in between them and their customers," he said. "Where we're facilitating a relationship between them and their customers. That's an example of the kind of decision that is really important and can be critical to success. Where advertisers, we want them to see Twitter as a partner and not as a potential competitor to them."

Twitter is the latest social media company to indicate it has big plans for e-commerce features moving forward. Last year, Facebook launched Instagram Shops and Facebook Shops, which are digital storefronts where brands can sell goods to users directly on those services. Snap, meanwhile, announced several new features last week that allow consumers to use augmented-reality technology to virtually try on products before buying them.

This shift toward e-commerce comes as social media companies are faced with more privacy features, such as those in Apple's iOS 14.5 software, that make it harder for them to track the efficacy of their ads. By facilitating sales directly through their apps, social media companies can continue to prove the effectiveness of their products to their advertisers.