CEO CORNER

Steering Twitter SEA toward profitability

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Twitter’s managing director Arvinder Gujral is a trending topic himself in the region

With over 17 years of experience in sales and marketing in tech consulting and advertising, Arvinder Gujral has been taking on the challenge of overseeing Twitter’s growth in Southeast Asia.

Now the managing director of Twitter Southeast Asia, Gujral joined the popular social networking site in 2013. Prior to that, he was the head of data, VAS and new products at Aircel, a telecommunications company in India. He was also the former global product marketing director in India’s first true mobile app startup, Geodesic Limited which was listed on the Indian stock exchange.

Twittter’s turnaround
Twitter was launched in 2006 San Francisco but despite its popularity that rivals both Facebook and Instagram, it will take 11 years for the company to post its first-ever quarterly profit.


According to Gujral, 2016 was a particularly difficult year for them because of the sudden decrease of users. Therefore, he was appointed managing director of Southeast Asia in addition to being the company’s business development senior director for Asia Pacific.

Arvinder Gujral, Twitter managing director for Southeast Asia

As managing director for the region, Gujral’s new responsibilities include strategic leadership and business planning, executive engagement with customers and partners, and cross-functional alignment to build presence.

Gujral’s role is crucial because Twitter needed prove a lot in terms of market profitability. Fortunately, 2017 seemed to be a good year for the company because it was able to bounce back and increase its user base.

“We really had a nice fourth quarter in 2017. It’s a nice turnaround that’s still being talked about around the world. Our audience has, in fact, been growing for eight consecutive quarters. Our global audience also grew, and a number of new partnerships are coming in,” Gujral noted in a recent interview with The Manila Times and other media.

Although the Philippines is not the biggest market for Twitter on a global scale, it still amazes Gujral how much the country’s social media crazy netizens have helped the social media platform grow even more.

“Twitter grew by 12 percent globally last year. The Asia Pacific region is actually the growth engine of Twitter. Within APAC, the Philippines is one of a few countries globally that is driving that growth.”

Gujral emphasized that Twitter has played an essential part in lives of Filipinos especially those in the far-flung areas. He also shared that the three topics that majority of people tweet about are entertainment, sports, and disaster/calamities. “These three subjects give us a lot of insights on what’s happening in the market. They in turn generate pro-active interest from clients to be associated with these conversations on our platform.”

Debra Aho Williamson of the research firm eMarketer said “this was the quarter Twitter needed to prove itself to investors. It’s too early to say whether they’ve turned a corner but they have certainly gotten off to a good start with the fourth quarter results.”

Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University communications professor who follows social media, called the fourth quarter results an important milestone for Twitter. “It shows that Twitter has staying power. A lot of people have had doubts for several years.”

An even brighter future
Gujral’s success in growing Twitter’s growth in Asia is an indication that the platform is here to stay. As it enters its 12th year, Gujral said that Twitter plans to focus on other features like video to increase market profitability. It was reported that Twitter video views increased fivefold from October to December 2017. In that fourth quarter, a total of 1,100 live events were streamed and every day 1.2 billion views are happening on the platform.

The total number of active Twitter users to date is 330 million that is four percent higher than it was in 2016. Although Twitter is still behind Facebook by 2 billion users, its revenue of $732 million which is two percent more than the past year, shows that the future may be bright for the social media platform.

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