Future of Investing

In play for customer data, TD Ameritrade rolls out Twitter trading bot

  • Since many TD Ameritrade customers are active Twitter users, the Twitter trading bot is an engagement tool
  • TD Ameritrade's Twitter trading bot helps the company understand customer behavior patterns, data that can be used for personalized experiences and recommendations
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In play for customer data, TD Ameritrade rolls out Twitter trading bot

TD Ameritrade is blending tweeting and trading into a single customer experience.

The brokerage firm released a Twitter bot Thursday, allowing stock investors to execute trades, get market updates and browse educational content through direct messages. For the brokerage, encouraging traders who use Twitter to transact will give it, the hope is, a rich source of user data to offer personalized customer experiences and product recommendations.

“Twitter has a rich, organic community of investors and traders,” said Sunayna Tuteja, director of emerging technology and innovation at TD Ameritrade. “Investors are consuming news on Twitter, influencers are very active, and what they say tends to move the market — the speed of information is so critical to decision making.”

This is the second major social media trading feature the brokerage firm launched within the last six months; it rolled out a Facebook messenger bot in August. Tuteja said the company decided to add the Twitter bot to reach users in a social channel they’re often using. Many investors are active Twitter users, so it seemed like a natural move to add a trading feature, she added. Customers can also access real time social media sentiment analysis and educational text and videos through the bot.

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TD Ameritrade’s forays into using social media are part of a bigger industry trend to meet the needs of an increasingly social generation of traders who often share information through digital channels. For companies serving digitally savvy traders like Robinhood and StockTwits, for example, it’s a big enough opportunity for them to create their own social networks for traders.

Encouraging customers to trade through Twitter offers TD Ameritrade the opportunity to make its employees available to them 24 hours a day and gives customers an opportunity to use Ameritrade employees as resources, including CEO Tim Hockey.

“Twitter is a way for us to connect analysts and employees with clients,” Tuteja said. “It’s about transparency.”

Beyond a convenience factor for customers, TD Ameritrade will be tracking use patterns of customers who trade via Twitter and Facebook. It’s still early days for the social trading tools; the company said it would be looking to offer tailored experiences for customers based on user data, but wouldn’t say exactly how. For now, it’s focusing on getting the customer experience right.

“We haven’t gone down the road of cross selling focused on contextual information — we’ll do it if that’s something the customers are looking for,” Tuteja said. “We’re looking to engage this population, and education is a powerful entry point.”

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