Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Twitter’s Pitch Deck for Big Advertisers (Slides)

Twitter’s ad business is looking less like an experiment and more like a real business, one that could generate $1 billion a year in the not-too-distant future.

If Twitter ads really take off, it will be because CEO Dick Costolo will have figured out how to sell lots of little ads to small marketers, in the same way Google did more than a decade ago. In the meantime, the company seems to be succeeding with the other end of the spectrum: Big marketers interested in experimenting with a brand-new format.

Last year, Twitter ad boss Adam Bain made a point of targeting big brands like Pepsi and American Express. And this year he’s seeing some of that work pay off, as some of them are committing to campaigns that will run for much of 2012.

Twitter won’t talk publicly about its ad-selling efforts. But you can get a glimpse of what they’re doing via a pitch deck the company recently used to woo a big publicly traded company. We’re not going to show you all of it here, primarily because some of the slides identified the would-be advertiser*. But you can still get a pretty good sense of it.

A few notes in advance:

  • Twitter is still doing lots of basic explaining about what it is and how it works: Yes, people still use Twitter to talk about their breakfast. But it’s important for Bain et al to explain that people use Twitter to pass along lots of other stuff, too: Rallying cries (like the #Jan25 hashtag during Egypt’s revolution of 2011), cool images (like Stefanie Gordon’s groggy space shuttle pix) or celebrity smackdowns (Drake v. T. Boone Pickens). Big idea: Your brand could be one of those things people share on Twitter, too!
  • Also important for Twitter to keep repeating: Unlike Facebook, we’re totally cool with mobile.
  • Those “Event pages” Twitter rolled out last month are going to be important for big advertisers. Obviously they are — that’s why Twitter spent money buying TV ads to promote them. But that slide highlighting them reinforces just how attractive they will be for brands — and what a nice compliment they’ll be to 140-character bleats  — when Twitter gets around to selling them.
  • Spend enough and Twitter will offer you all kinds of goodies. Just like any other big ad company, Twitter offers white glove treatment for its most important customers, and it hints at some of this in the “Joint Business Plans” slide: Early looks at new ad products, help coming up with new campaigns, custom events, etc. The part where Twitter promises to provide all kinds of “analytics” might be particularly relevant for some of the third party companies that do the same stuff.
  • Spend enough and Twitter will let you spend less.  That same slide mentions “key discounts,” detailed on an “investment grid.” I’m not reprinting that one, but am happy to tell you what’s in there: Twitter says it will knock 10 percent off the rate card for anyone who ponies up more than $6 million a year (An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that number as $6,000). Again, standard issue for any big ad business. But always interesting to see spelled out.

One other item I’m not reprinting (again for the reason explained above): A slide where Twitter  says it has plans to roll out “enhanced interest targeting” for its core Promoted Tweet product.
In English: Right now, Twitter only offers advertisers a handful of crude tools when they want to slice up their target audience, but it has promised in the past that those would get more refined. The company isn’t offering a timetable for the new tools (at least not in the slides I’ve seen), but it’s confident enough about them to start talking them up to would-be buyers.
*Are you a big would-be Twitter advertiser who wants to share? Please drop me a line: (Same goes for Facebook advertisers, too.)

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus