Aiming to play a bigger role in analyzing tweets and sharing the resulting insights with advertisers and other businesses, Twitter has acquired Gnip, its partner for the past few years.
Boulder, Colorado-based Gnip has been analyzing the so-called "firehose" of about 500 million daily tweets and delivering information to a range of businesses for uses in marketing, business intelligence and the like. Gnip says it has delivered more than 2.3 trillion tweets to its customers in 42 countries.
Now Twitter is bringing Gnip in-house, in a move that could give a healthy boost to the company's data licensing business. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
"We want to make our data even more accessible, and the best way to do that is to work directly with our customers to get a better understanding of their needs," Twitter said in its announcement.
"We believe Gnip has only begun to scratch the surface," the company said.
With Gnip under its roof, Twitter said it plans to offer more sophisticated data sets and better data enrichments. Twitter also said it would be further extending its data platform through Gnip and its existing APIs (application programming interfaces).
"Combining forces with Twitter allows us to go much faster and much deeper," Gnip said in its own announcement.
Data licensing is a small but important business for Twitter, which makes most of its revenue through advertising. For the six months ended June 30, 2013, Twitter generated roughly US$32 million by licensing its data to third parties, out of total sales of roughly $254 million. With Gnip, Twitter could grow its data licensing further, by making more compelling data available to more customers.
The deal also eliminates the risk that Gnip might be acquired by someone else. Topsy, another social media analytics company with deep access to Twitter, was purchased by Apple last year.
Other Twitter data partners include DataSift and Dataminr.
Separately, it was revealed on Tuesday that Twitter was hiring Daniel Graf, a former Google executive working on Google Maps, to become Twitter's new VP of consumer products. The move could help Twitter jump-start its stalled user growth and broaden the service's mainstream appeal.