Cannes: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Rethinks Ad Tech Acquisition Strategy

Twitter’s ad tech fortunes haven’t been great. Most recently, it took its 479-million-dollar acquisition TellApart for a long walk behind the barn.

However, Twitter isn’t giving up on ad tech, at least not as an investor, said co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey at a Wednesday panel hosted by Omnicom’s OMD in Cannes.

“We’re definitely not out of the ad tech investment phase,” he said. He noted the recent hiring of Bruce Falck, former CEO of the DSP Turn, as GM of revenue products.

But Dorsey hinted that Twitter is less interested in actually owning the ad tech itself – a shift from its previous mentality.

“We tended to build a lot in the company,” he said. “We started before there was a public cloud one could use, and that set up the DNA in that company.”

But Twitter is coming around to the idea that it doesn’t need to build everything – or buy everything, for that matter.

“We can purchase from third parties and focus on what our strength is,” Dorsey said. “That allows us to move faster. So it’s just a mindset shift, though the big thing is being able to tie it to our particularly strategy.”

Twitter’s inability to figure out how its earlier acquisitions fit into its overall strategy is why all that expensive ad tech never panned out. The problem wasn’t specific to ad tech in particular, Dorsey said. Rather, Twitter often didn’t properly prioritize the efforts of the companies it purchased.

“We acquired companies and platforms, and we didn’t always give them the options they needed or tie it together with everything else we were doing,” he said. “That doesn’t set up the acquisition for success in the broader company.”

Dorsey insisted that Twitter is now being “really deliberate” about what sort of tech it looks at and thinking about how and why the company would be a fit.

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