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Twitter may already be in the big leagues of mega social media platforms, but its value is about to surge due to an advertising deal that probably made Jack Dorsey weep with joy. Starcom MediaVeset Group, part of Publicis Groupe—the ad-buying team that works with Coca-Cola, Proctor and Gamble and Wal-Mart (to name just a few)—signed a deal reportedly in the hundreds of millions, causing research firm eMarketer to predict that Twitter's ad revenue will be just shy of $1 billion in 2014.
The Financial Times reported that Adam Bain, the president of global revenue at Twitter, said one of the major focuses of the deal will be to intersect Twitter and television marketing, as TV buffs love to connect with other fans in real time during their favorite programs. Starcom plans to create a "social TV lab" to advance ways for companies and brands to advertise across both media simultaneously.
The lab isn't the only recent advertisement advancement in the microblogging service. Last week, Nipoon Malhorta, Twitter's product manager of revenue, published a blog post that stated that Twitter plans to introduce keyword targeting in user timelines. Previously, the content of Tweets were only one part of shaping the company's "interest graph," the term Twitter uses to describe what users are most frequently discussing on the platform. Malhorta offers a succinct example of how the keyword targeting will work:
For example: let’s say a user tweets about enjoying the latest album from their favorite band, and it so happens that band is due to play a concert at a local venue. That venue could now run a geotargeted campaign using keywords for that band with a Tweet containing a link to buy the tickets. That way, the user who tweeted about the new album may soon see that Promoted Tweet in their timeline letting them know tickets are for sale in their area.
This sounds like Twitter is starting to compete with the data-crawling Google's gotten rich off of—reading and recording our 140 character inklings like web crawlers before sending our thoughts on say, Girls, to HBO marketers. Technically, our privacy isn't getting more invaded (the Library of Congress already has the rights to archive all tweets, breaking news or Twitpics of our cats), but advertisers are just getting closer and closer to sniping what's on our mind in a near-immediate fashion.
The past two weeks has been busy for Twitter, as the platform just released its polarizing music recommendation service #Music, and even announced that's it's in the process of testing a two-step verification process in order to prevent hacks. The latter development is in response to the high-profile hackings of accounts such as the Associated Press, NPR, and 60 Minutes. The company is planning on making users enter a special code sent to their smartphones whenever they log in from a foreign device in order to combat fraud. Facebook and Google already require a two-step verification process, and this change is a logical step for Twitter, especially in the wake of those nefarious fake tweets.
Twitter, a company that once struggled to monetize, is growing at hyper-speed from a business perspective. While the 2012 ad revenue was just under $300 million, this year's total is nearly double that, and next year's will again double the cash intake. The ad partnership, app developments and security improvements appear to be pushing Twitter to its next level.