Twitter Builds U.S. Sales Force, Eyes Japan

adambain-twitterTwitter currently works closely with big brand advertisers like Jet Blue but the growing company is gearing up to let small advertisers help themselves. With that comes a ramp up of its sales force, along with plans to move into new markets such as Japan.

Twitter has worked with 600 advertisers on 6,000 campaigns since it launched its still-evolving ad products last April with a mere six advertisers, according to Twitter director of revenue Adam Bain.

“Eighty percent of those marketers come back and buy from us again,” he continued.

In order to handle the increased volume of accounts and educate marketers about its relatively new products, Twitter has expanded its sales and marketing staff to over 60 people, said Bain, who met with ClickZ News this afternoon.

“We’ve put them all across the country,” he continued, noting Twitter sales staff are located in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, Boston, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. Those locations house “the front end and backend of the sales team.”

Twitter also anticipates branching out its sales force overseas. Bain specifically mentioned the UK and Japan as markets the firm is “looking into.”

In describing its brief history of ad sales, the company points to success stories from the likes of Nissan, Papa John’s and JetBlue. The airline, which runs the @JetBlueCheeps account followed by over 230,000 people, has “done a lot” of advertising on Twitter, said Bain, adding, “We just think there’s a lot more for us to do together.”

Referring to JetBlue Airways SVP marketing and commercial, Marty St. George, Bain continued, “We actually had Marty and his whole strategy team come in to a one-day working session with us. They’re working on some really cool stuff that they’re going to bring back to the market.”

Big dollars come in from brands like Toyota, HBO and Samsung – all of which have run a Promoted Trend recently; however, Twitter aims to bring in smaller and mid-market brands through its inside sales team as well. The firm’s Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets offerings are auction-based while Promoted Trends now cost $120,000 per day – up from $25,000 to $30,000 at launch in April 2010, according to Bain.

The company also recently began requiring that advertisers spend a minimum of $15,000 over three months on bid-based Promoted Accounts and Promoted Trends offerings.

In describing the platform’s benefits for advertisers, it’s clear Twitter recognizes Facebook as a key competitor. Bain suggested Twitter provides advertisers with higher engagement levels than Facebook. He also suggested it’s better at reaching consumers than display ads because with display, “You’re just in the sea of trying to catch people through media impressions when they’re on different sites across the web.”

To prove his point, Bain pointed to the Promoted Accounts offering, which allows advertisers to pay per follower based on a bid system. “Paying $4 for a follower is a pittance because the ROI is insane. Because again once they have a follower, they can keep marketing to that guy as many times as they want without worrying about where they are across the web or what kind of mindframe they’re in,” suggested Bain.

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