Twitter has secured a sponsorship deal with Publicis’ Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG), in a deal that could be worth several hundred million dollars in extra ad revenue for the social network.
According to a report in the Financial Times, the deal will give SMG’s clients, which include Proctor & Gamble, Walmart, Microsoft and Coca-Cola, access to preferred advertising slots on Twitter, research and data, and products such as an ‘in-tweet mobile survey’ programme that will allow real-time polling.
The deal is not exclusive and Twitter can form similar partnerships with other marketing companies, the FT said.
The agreement is said to include provision for a direct feed of data from Twitter into SMG's modelling tools.
Twitter's ad gamble
Twitter has become more attractive as a partner to advert-placing firms since it bought Bluefin Labs, a data analytics company, in February.
Part of the attraction of social media as an advertising medium is the wealth of available information about users.
Marketing messages can be tailored to very precise groups of people, based on their age, gender and the interests and affiliations they have expressed through interaction with social media.
The micro-blogging site claims 200 million users yet in the past it has struggled to show that it can extract significant revenues from its undoubted popularity.
This latest deal suggests Twitter has moved beyond the trial stage for advertisers.
"In about 18 months, Twitter has gone from an experiment to [being] essential", said Laura Desmond, chief executive of SMG.
Twitter is believed to be considering an eventual stock market listing, although some investors will take some persuading in the wake of the poor response to Facebook's share debut last May.
Facebook shares are currently trading at about $26, well below the launch price of $38.