Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo said the short-messaging service will start offering its promoted advertising product in 50 new markets this year as it reduces its reliance on the U.S.
Twitter’s ads, which encourage users to subscribe to a company’s feed by recommending its postings, or “tweets,” to users, will be made available in additional markets in Latin America, including Brazil, and Western Europe, Adam Bain, the company’s revenue chief, said today in a press conference in Cannes, France. A full list of countries wasn’t immediately available.
Twitter, based in San Francisco, is predicting $1 billion in advertising revenue by 2014, two people familiar with the forecast said this month. The free-to-use service, which Costolo said today is growing “delightfully well,” unveiled its first ad offering in 2010, and recently expanded to mobile ads.
Google Inc. (GOOG) crossed the $1 billion threshold five years after its founding, whileFacebook Inc. (FB), which sold shares in an initial public offering last month, achieved that goal six years after it got started. Founded in 2006, Twitter will be eight years old in 2014.
The expansion marks the next stage for the six-year-old tech startup’s development, with Twitter seeking to turn its 140m users into revenue.
Asked about the next stage of development for the company, founder Jack Dorsey left the door open for a flotation, or potentially a sale to a technology giant such as Google.
“I’m extremely humbled by how quick and broadly Twitter has taken off an how we’ve done building something independent and timeless – this is a company that will last,” he said, speaking at a press conference at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity on Thursday morning.
“The company has always put itself in a position to choose when it is ready [to make strategic decisions such as an IPO or sale]. We do things when we are ready. We have a good understanding about pacing and have the discipline to make the [right] choices ourselves.”
Twitter, which currently offers its advertising products in just a handful of countries, intends to roll out them out to 50 territories by the end of the year with certain markets the top of the list.
Latin America, particularly Brazil, and west European countries such as Spain and Germany will be the first to get Twitter’s three advertising products – promoted tweets, promoted trends and promoted accounts. Twitter’s corporate responsibility to monitor and censor tweets – abusive tweets have become an issue for the service in the UK recently that the community of users can police itself effectively.
That front-row seat is transforming brand messaging that Costolo said has historically been interruptive, loud, one-way and ultimately fleeting.
“What does it mean then when the conversation itself is the canvas?” asked Costolo, who came armed with examples. He pointed to Burberry, which during the recent London Fashion Week tweeted photos of the models before they came out on the runway and sparked a conversation that went well beyond the attendees of the shows. H&M, too, created dialog with the David Beckham Super Bowl spot by simply adding #beckhamforhm to its ad and commenting on and sharing the ad well after the game was over.
Costolo also pointed to a nimble execution by Tide during the Daytona 500. The detergent was used to help clean up after a crash and fire, and the P&G brand tweeted out a shot of the mop-up and asked followers to tweet back captions. Each of these examples of using Twitter “extended the runway of their investment in the campaign,” said Costolo, adding they made “earned media free to them.”
Costolo also took a swipe at existing digital ad models as purely interruptive that provide little in the way of value for consumers. “When the content is embed in the conversation in incredibly simple ways, we have seen huge engagement,” he said, pointing to very simple text and photo tweets by Porsche that produced very high levels of engagement. “Adapt the campaigns to the moment instead of planning our campaigns for the future,” he said.
Copyright 2012 by Bloomberg, Guardian.co.uk, AdWeek & YouTube