Ads don't sell themselves, even if you're Twitter. So today, the micro-blogging service announced that it has hired its first two ad sales executives - one from Facebook and one from Yelp.
Dan Coughlin, who had been director of media sales at Facebook for nearly four years, comes to Twitter as its first director of sales for the eastern region. His counterpart in the west is Amanda Levy, who oversaw West Coast sales for Yelp for the past five years.
"We're putting together a top-flight sales team as we begin to open our Promoted Suite of products to more companies," said Dick Costolo, chief operating officer of Twitter in a written statement. "Dan and Amanda are both important hires for Twitter; they have years of experience working with brands and scaling sales teams."
Twitter has been rolling out its 'promoted suite' of products gradually over the past few months in an attempt to slowly integrate advertising into the service. So far, the suite consists of three main components: Promoted Tweets allows advertisers to get their messages seen by users other than their followers, usually among search results; Promoted Trends allows marketers to place a sponsored phrase at the bottom of Twitter's trending topics list, which links through to search results for that topic; and @earlybird is a Twitter feed that retweets special deals and promotions from advertisers - some paying for the privilege.
So far, big-name clients such as Disney, Bravo, Red Bull, Best Buy and Starbucks have been using some or all of the available services. The hiring of Coughlin and Levy (who, coincidentally, was also the first ad sales hire at Yelp), signals that Twitter is ready to bring in a wider array of marketers.
In addition to selling ads, Coughlin and Levy will be putting together ad-sales teams - one on each coast - to reach out to advertisers. Among them is an account manager for ad operations, an opening now being advertised on Twitter's site.
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
March 19, 2014