Byravee Iyer
Nov 6, 2014

Twitter ramps up ad products in Asia with self-serve debut

SINGAPORE - In a bid to grow international revenue, Twitter is rolling out a self-serve tool targeting the 170,000 small and mid-sized businesses in Singapore, with further plans to launch in Indonesia, Philippines and India in the next year.

Aliza Knox
Aliza Knox

“This is our effort to make our product much more accessible to small businesses,” said Aliza Knox, managing director for Twitter’s online sales in APAC. “There is no purchase funnel anymore. It is just as important for the local restaurant or dental chain to reach customers, and this tool with its pricing will really level the playing field.”

Starting today, businesses in Singapore can advertise on the site by selecting a campaign objective and target options. As with Twitter’s other advertisers, small businesses can also bid for promoted accounts and promoted tweets on a cost-per-follower and cost-per-engagement basis.

Twitter first launched the self-serve tool in March 2012, working with a small group of advertisers. It has since introduced the tool in 28 markets in North America, Europe, parts of Latin America and Japan. Knox said the product, which launched last month in Australia, has already “exceeded expectations.”

According to Knox, a key feature of the self-serve ads is the objective-based usage. So whether it is to gain more followers, drive traffic to a website or generate leads, Twitter ads give clients the flexibility to create campaigns that drive results, she said.

Knox cautioned that companies without a presence on Twitter should get on the platform and use it 'organically' for at least four weeks before advertising on it.

Flight school pilots in Asia

Twitter has had an active year in Asia, rolling out many new ad products including Promoted Video, Mobile App Promotion and Twitter Amplify to complement its core advertising products. However, perhaps the biggest criticism about Twitter is that it is seen as a niche product—so much so that agencies executives themselves aren’t familiar with it.

Twitter’s aim is to work with agencies and brands to answer the “how Twitter” question. In line with that, it launched a multi-part training programme called Flight School to teach agencies the effective usage of the platform. 

"This tool makes it easier and simpler for agency teams to help clients with Twitter products," Knox said. "It also means that agencies aren’t dependent on us to get the wisdom and can do it at their own time and pace.”

In Asia, Twitter is piloting the project with Mindshare and 150 of its people. Twitter is also ready to open it up to other interested creative shops in Singapore, India, Malaysia and Australia. 

“Twitter and Mindshare have collaborated on numerous fronts recently to create cutting-edge adaptive marketing campaigns, and this adds another crucial dimension to our relationship worldwide and in Asia Pacific,” said Sanchit Sanga, Mindshare's head of digital in Asia-Pacific. The agency plans to enroll 1000 employees across the region within the next 90 days.

The web-based program is free to use and can be accessed on desktops, mobile phones and tablets. Twitter launched the training module in the US in August and tested it with Starcom MediaVest Group and Omnicom Group.

According to an e-Marketer estimate, Asia-Pacific will account for 32.8 per cent of all Twitter users in 2014 and by 2018, it will more than double North America’s share to touch 40 per cent.

Twitter’s third quarter user growth slowed as active users on the site rose 23 per cent, compared to 24 per cent a year-ago. International revenue more than doubled to $121 million, accounting for 34 per cent of total sales.


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