On the State of Twitter Advertising: Adam Bain

Last week I wrote a post about Neal Mohan, who will be joining us for this month’s Signal conference in San Francisco. Today I’m focusing on Adam Bain and his role as President, Global Revenue at Twitter.

I’ve known Adam for some time, since his days at Fox Interactive Media, where he built Fox’s advertising platform (initially as a product out of MySpace). He joined Twitter a year and a half ago, and since then, has overseen the development of its “promoted” suite of products. Just recently, Twitter has expanded its roll out of what CEO Dick Costolo calls its “atomic unit” of advertising, the Promoted Tweet, to its mobile base, a significant move mirrored by Facebook at nearly the same time. It’s also opened up a self-service portal to its ad machine, a crucial move that drove early adoption of search and Facebook advertising.

When you are in charge of revenue for a company valued at $8 billion, the heat is on – the estimated $140 million or so Twitter pulled in last year ain’t gonna cut it. The company needs to scale its advertising platform to Google and Facebook levels, in terms of efficiency, response, and return on marketing investment. That’s no easy feat. In fact, it’s only been done a few times – by Facebook, Google, and arguably Overture (before Yahoo’s purchase and subsequent deal with Microsoft).

Hence last week’s Journal piece on Twitter’s attempts to woo ad giant P&G – the Journal argues that to get to billions in revenue, Twitter has to get companies like P&G to see the service as an “upfront” partner – the kind of company P&G spends with year after year.

The company has work to do, but is confident it’s figured out a path that will justify its lofty valuation. At the SF Signal conference, I’ll have a chance to sit down with Adam and discuss that path, as well as any number of other issues of interest. My question to you all – what do you think those items might be? Comments welcome, and if you’re wondering whether to come to Signal, please, register now! We’ve got quite the lineup, and we’re close to sold out.


6 thoughts on “On the State of Twitter Advertising: Adam Bain”

  1. Having been using Promoted Tweets for about a month, I can say with some certainty that the average PPC manager will be disappointed with their self-service portal.  The audience engagement is incredible, but both Twitter & Facebook have a ton of catching up to do on their respective back-ends if they expect PPC folks to do the fun tricks you can do with Google AdWords.

  2. Twitter making great strides in advertising, and offer a solid alternative to Facebook’s recently announced Sponsored Stories. Brands on Facebook believed their posts were being seen by the fan base, many of whom were acquired by other paid media units on Facebook, but now Facebook is putting a price on distributing the wall posts as Sponsored Stories. 

    Jacob’s comment about audience engagement in Twitter is spot-on. I’d like to see brands and companies like P&G do more with Twitter’s expanded tweets. Just Tweet a link to an Amazon product page, or an app from the iTunes App Store, and see the beautiful interface that Twitter is giving to this content. Engagement + Referral traffic for commerce could be a huge offer for Twitter and is likely already on their roadmap.

    But that means Twitter needs to continue to expand their reach into solid mobile experiences with better curated streams and filtered views (even some that are geo-located). 

    Twitter has big opportunities in front of them, and it doesn’t carry the weight of the Facebook platform on its shoulders. Adam’s team appears to be cautious & calculated, but on the right track.

    1. When you say “Engagement + Referral traffic for commerce could be a huge offer for Twitter and is likely already on their roadmap” – can you unpack that a bit more? What might that look like? I’m not seeing it exactly.

      1. Great question, John. That was a bit of a jumbled thought. 

        My thought centers around brands having the opportunity to communicate in this realtime channel with products/services that may be of interest to followers. For example, highlighting a unique product featured in a live fashion event or a limited-availability shoe featured on TV show. 

        Twitter could offer the brands an expanded tweet (see: http://bit.ly/zrknPq or the tweet itself in my Favorite tweets) to expose the product with just the right amount of “more information” that may or may not encourage the referral traffic back to the core branded commerce site for purchase. 

        Think of it as window showing/shopping for the brand & consumer. Don’t like it? :: keep on reviewing tweets. Like it? :: Click to add to cart on the brand’s commerce site. 

        This may or may not be in the cards, but it’s evident through the testing with Amazon and iTunes (see: http://bit.ly/xkBJiA) that Twitter is testing these waters. 

        And I find it very compelling for brands to introduce commerce event through a tweet. And if offered as a promoted tweet, a potentially valuable ad unit for Twitter.

        Only time will tell.

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