Twilio Inc. (TWLO) - Get Report shares traded higher Thursday after analysts at Morgan Stanley boosted their target price on the cloud software group, citing value linked to its next-generation communication platform.
Morgan Stanley analyst Meta Marshall lifted his rating on the stock to overweight, from equal weight, with a $130 price target, a $5 improvement from his last assessment, Marshall noted the company's "depth of platform and (overall market share) position should help them outgrow this market", adding it has "a meaningful runway for growth that is being missed in recent pullback".
Twilio shares were marked 1.4% higher at the start of trading Thursday to change hands at $114.39 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain to just under 30%.
Twilio, which provides cloud-based communication platforms for customer service use, rolled out a slew of new tools and improvements that make up the next wave of its products earlier this year, including Twilio Conversations, which will allow companies to link together communications from multiple channels -- such as SMS, WhatsApp and chat -- into a single stream.
This could especially benefit companies that need to accommodate different preferences in how customers want to get service -- for instance, Facebook's (FB) - Get Report WhatsApp is far more popular than SMS in many international markets.
"Conversations are eating apps as the easiest way to interact with companies," Lawson said. "It's easy, there's nothing to download, there's no call to action...people are tired of having to download apps for absolutely everything."
Companies that want to survive in the current digital age should embrace the "natural behaviors" of their customers, Lawson argued, such as responding to a text the same way you would with a live person.
"You will be able to book an airline ticket, or make an appointment through messaging....all of these things will become possible in the next 12 to 24 months," Lawson predicted.
--TheStreet's Annie Gaus contributed to this report.