At its Twitter Flight developer conference in San Francisco this week, Twitter unveiled a new API suite that brands can use to gain insight into the performance of their content and the audiences they target.
The Gnip Insights offering consists of two APIs. An Engagement API allows brands to access engagement data for the Twitter accounts they operate. Twitter says this can help them "measure and improve their marketing efforts." An Audience API provides anonymized, aggregate data about groups of Twitter users. Brands can segment users to learn more about specific audiences they're interested in.
According to Chris Moody, Twitter's VP of Data Products, "The Gnip Insights APIs are the next step in providing global brands with the audience and content performance data they’ve been asking for."
Twitter is one of the world's most popular social platforms, and many brands spend significant amounts trying to reach consumers on Twitter. But their willingness to keep spending over the long haul will likely depend on their ability to optimize their Twitter campaigns and assess performance. Data from the Gnip Insights APIs, which has not previously been made available to third parties, could help them do both.
Initially, Gnip partners Networked Insights and NetBase had exclusive access to the Audience API. These companies work directly with brands like Disney and Visa and offer web-based solutions that enable their brands clients to tap into Twitter's data. Starting this week, other companies interested in the Gnip Insights APIs can apply for beta access.
Are APIs the key to Twitter's future?
Gnip began its life as a data aggregator and was the first authorized reseller of Twitter data. The social media behemoth acquired it last year and it is now a prominent part of Twitter's monetization engine as companies clamor to tap Twitter's treasure trove of content and data for their own benefit.
In August, Gnip introduced a Full-Archive Search API which for the first time ever opened up access to every public tweet since Twitter's launch.
While there is no doubt that Twitter's raw data is of great value, with the Gnip Insights APIs, Twitter is moving into business intelligence data. According to Twitter product manager Rob Johnson, "By getting this data directly from Twitter, our customers can free up the resources previously needed to build, train, and maintain one-off demographic and reach tools, and can instead focus on the bigger brand questions they face today."
By building APIs that provide more than just raw data, Gnip could become an even more important part of Twitter's business. And if Twitter, under new CEO Jack Dorsey, can regain the trust of developers who were pushed away from its public APIs, Twitter might find that much of its business going forward is driven by its APIs.