Twitter pitches to advertisers with system to track TV watchers

May 23, 2013 4:36 pm

Twitter pitches to advertisers with system to track TV watchers

By Emily Steel in New York

Twitter is attempting to secure its position at the nexus between television and digital media, announcing on Thursday a new TV ad-targeting programme along with a flurry of partnerships with media companies including Major League Baseball, Time Inc, Vevo and Vice.

The new ad product taps special technologies to “watch” television and note when a commercial airs. At the same time, it “listens” to Twitter for people posting about the same show. The technology then allows advertisers to target ads on Twitter to people who likely saw their commercials on television.

Twitter also unveiled its Twitter Amplify programme, a series of partnerships with media companies that will introduce into users’ news feeds more video clips as well as real-time sponsorships that link ads on television to promotions on Twitter. Amplify extends Twitter media partnerships beyond television to include magazine publishers, sports leagues and music groups.“We often have thought about Twitter plus TV, but we are now thinking about Twitter times TV,” Adam Bain, Twitter’s chief revenue officer, said during an event in New York. “Twitter is a bridge, not an island. It is a bridge to things that appear on many screens.”

Hundreds of media and advertising executives filled the standing-room-only space at the headquarters of the Internet Week New York conference, buzzing about Twitter’s news. Jane Lynch, the actress who stars in the hit musical comedy Glee, made a surprise guest appearance.

Twitter is attempting to capitalise on the trend of people visiting social networking sites and using mobile devices while watching television. A recent Nielsen study found a strong correlation between increases in the amount of tweets about a show, and its TV ratings.

“Twitter is the soundtrack for television,” said Deb Roy, chief media scientist of Twitter who founded Blue Fins Labs, the social media monitoring firm that Twitter acquired this year.

Some analysts, however, were sceptical of the Twitter ad news. Jim Nail, an analyst with Forrester, predicted that users will have a low tolerance for ads in their Twitter stream. “There are about 10 – 15 ads per half-hour – can you imagine having your chat stream interrupted with 10 – 15 tweets?” he said.

The news also comes as a wave of internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Facebook try to tap into television ad budgets. Facebook, for instance, is in the midst of rolling out new video ads.

Twitter’s global ad revenues are expected to almost double this year, reaching $583m in 2013 up from $288.3m in 2012, according to eMarketer. Despite the fast growth, the company’s ad revenues remain a small sliver of the total $205bn global TV ad market.

The social networking service is attempting to position itself as partner to television networks rather than a competitor. “We’re not saying move your video ad dollars from TV to Twitter,” said Joel Lunenfeld, vice-president of global brand strategy at Twitter. “We’re saying, make your television work harder.”

Advertisers praised the news. Bonin Bough, vice-president of global media and consumer engagement for Mondelez, said that the maker of Oreo cookies, Trident chewing gum and Ritz crackers reports twice the effectiveness of television ads when it participates in conversations on Twitter at the same time it runs television ads.

“The future of storytelling is ahead of us,” he said. “For us, a partner that has the ability to help us seize that moment the most happens to be Twitter.”

In recent weeks, the social networking company struck its biggest ad deal yet, securing a commitment worth hundreds of millions of dollars over several years withPublicis’s Starcom MediaVest Group.

May 23, 2013

Twitter Lets Brands Reach Viewers of Their TV Ads


For those inclined toward social media, using Twitter while watching television has become a ritual, with viewers commenting on everything from sports events to nighttime dramas. On Thursday, executives from Twitter discussed how they planned to capitalize on that activity by allowing advertisers to send ads to people who are watching specific programming.

The new product, called Twitter Amplify, will help brands match advertisements with Twitter commentary by viewers. Brands can then send messages to selected Twitter users who have already seen their ad on television.

“When people turn on TV they turn on Twitter,” said Matt Derella, the director of brand and agency strategy, who led a presentation on Twitter Amplify in Manhattan.

Twitter also announced it would work with a number of media companies, including Time Inc., Bloomberg, Discovery, Vevo, Vice Media, Condé Nast Entertainment and Warner Music Group, to sell advertisers content, which probably will be digital video or television content like clips from shows. The content can then be shared on Twitter, and advertisers can run ads before the videos are viewed.

The format is similar to a partnership Twitter announced last year with ESPN and Ford, which embedded replays from football games in posts sent via Twitter. ESPN and Ford promoted the posts to people who had been identified as being interested in sports based on the accounts they followed on Twitter and the subjects of their posts.

Jim Nail, an analyst at Forrester Research, said Twitter would have to be careful about the number of advertisements it allowed on its platform. By injecting too many ads into a user’s feed during a television show, “they risk driving those fans away and having those fans unfollow the show,” Mr. Nail said. A representative from Twitter said the company already had limits on how many ads users would see in a day.

“This will allow us to really align much more of the work we’re doing day in and day out,” said Tim Castree, the chief operating officer at MediaVest USA, part of the Starcom MediaVest Group, of the new advertising offerings. Instead of focusing advertising during major events, advertisers can now “extend the time period for the spot we already had planned.”

Last month, Twitter signed a multiyear deal, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, with Starcom to, among other things, allow the companies to combine some of the resources they use for measuring and tracking data and advertising.

This week, Twitter made other brand announcements including a two-step authentication process that would provide more security for Twitter accounts. The accounts of several prominent brands, including Burger King and Jeep, were hacked in February.

The company also announced a feature that allows users to sign up for offers from brands without having to leave the site.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: