August 27, 2013, 2:38 PM

Twitter looks to a ticketing executive to lead commerce

Nathan Hubbard joins Twitter as it moves further into online marketing.

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Twitter, the microblogging service that’s moving deeper into e-commerce—and perhaps moving closer to an initial public offering—has hired a former online ticketing executive as its director of commerce.

Nathan Hubbard comes from Live Nation Entertainment, which formed in 2010 from the merger of concert promotions company Live Nation and ticketing behemoth Ticketmaster. Since the merger, Hubbard had worked as CEO of ticketing for Live Nation Entertainment, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before the merger, he held a similar job for Live Nation.

Twitter offered no immediate comment, though Hubbard announced his hiring on his own Twitter feed. “To me, Twitter is a cardiogram of the passion of the live moment,” he wrote. “Let's see if we can get people to transact on the platform.”

Hubbard’s hiring comes as Twitter reportedly prepares for an IPO, and launches programs that could make it more attractive to e-retailers and online marketers.

“Twitter obviously believes there's a significant, unrealized commerce opportunity waiting to be developed. There's an opportunity,” says Greg Sterling, founder of research and consulting firm Sterling Market Intelligence. “How large it is remains to be seen. But this hire and the direction it suggests will likely expand the types of marketing options that Twitter can make available to its customer-advertisers.”

Last month Twitter said that its users will soon see ads on the microblogging service based on their behavior across the web. That could, for instance, enable a local florist to use its newsletter e-mail subscription list and data gathered from cookies—software that tracks consumers’ online activity—about consumers who have visited its web site to advertise its Valentine’s Day special on Twitter.

Such ads could also drive more traffic from Twitter to retail sites. According to Internet Retailer’s 2013 Social Media 300, which ranks retailers by the percentage of traffic to their web sites from social networks, the average web site traffic from Twitter for the Top 50 retailers in that category stands at 0.31%.

Many retailers also use Twitter to provide customer service. As of June 1, 32% of top-performing brands had a Twitter handle dedicated to customer service, up from 30% in March 2012, according to a recent study from social media analytics company Simply Measured Inc. 

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