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Twitter SAScon Pepsi

Cashing in on Twitter: Sales director Bruce Daisley explains how the micro-blogging site will make money


By Stephen Lepitak | -

May 14, 2012 | 8 min read

Bruce Daisley, sales director for Twitter took some time out ahead of speaking at this year’s SAScon search, analytics and social media conference in Manchester to answer a few questions about both his plans for speaking at the event, and what’s been happening at the platform.

It’s not quite four months since you joined as sales director from Google, but how have you found joining Twitter?

It’s great working on a product that has a massive amount of consumer affection and we’re just taking it to become a successful business. We’re in a really exciting position where after a few years we’ve found that a lot of brands and marketers are very keen to use the platform already. We’re going out and talking to them and they already know about the platform, they just want to know how they can use it more effectively.

Which brands are using Twitter really well?

We are seeing really innovative usage of the platform by the likes of 02 who did a Choose Your Own Adventure campaign or by Cadbury’s who have come back repeatedly because they have seen such effective results. What we’re finding is that we’re now into heavy double figures of advertisers and most of the companies that are respending, such as Cadbury’s which has spent four times and O2 have spent several times. We know that the platform is working for brands and actually they are now looking at how to use it creatively.

What are the primary Twitter platforms for advertisers?

Brand pages are one of the things that we do. The ad products that we sell are promoted Tweets, which sit in people’s timelines or in search, Promoted Trends which are a great way of signposting something big and exciting that is happening that day and promoted accounts which is an effective way to build your followers.

Can brands use Twitter, even if they do not have a lot of followers?

The thing about Twitter is that you can start using the platform without having a lot of users, so it’s not a limitation if you don’t have many users right away, you can start by promoted tweeting. And what we’re finding is that advertisers are dipping their toes in the water with promoted trends or promoted tweets. They’re seeing the results, where the average engagement is 1%-3% but it’s not uncommon to see higher than that. And then quite often advertisers are coming back and, having seen that, they now want to build their own users and are using promoted accounts to do that.

What is the best piece of advice you would give a brand aiming to build their followers?

The best way to grow these things is to invest in promoted accounts. There are brands that have been on there for years and have been building their followers organically and the crucial thing there is finding out what your audience is interested in and servicing that. We undertook a piece of research looking at why people follow brands, and what we found was that people are happy to build that relationship but they either want access to great content or access to news or exclusive offers. The key thing that a brand should be thinking is that once they add a follower, it is not the end of the work, it’s the start.

Twitter has agreed a partnership with Pepsi which will see live music gigs streamed through the service. Can we expect to see similar brand partnerships in the UK?

It’s something we’re looking at. There are a lot of brands who are really keen to talk to us. We’ve got 140 million users worldwide and we’re a really exciting platform for distributing content so the like of Pepsi are just starting to explore how they can reach their core audience. They’ve done a deal to feature Rhianna and other stars to their millions of followers, so it’s an obvious route to take. We’re getting a lot of interest here in the UK and we’re having conversations with brands across a number of different territories for sure.

Just how many people are working for Twitter in the UK now?

We’re around 20 in the UK, with the Tweetdeck team which we brought in about 12 months ago, and Tweetdeck is just getting better and better as a product. They are a key part of what we do here. We have our engineering and commercials teams too.

What sort of people do you follow on Twitter?

From my own interests I’d say people like Rob Delaney, Sarah Silverman. Twitter is amazing for musicians too. It really is great for getting you closer to celebrities and to news stories. I adore following people like Rupert Murdoch, as people are listening when he is tweeting.

How is mobile shaping the Twitter service?

People love consuming content through mobile and I’m going to be talking more about mobile in Manchester (at SAScon), but it’s a core part of what we do. What we have set about doing is enhancing the ability to take advantage of that platform, so promoted tweets have been performing really well and we’ve now given advertisers the ability to buy that product across a number of different mobile operating systems.

Are we likely to see more integration across other platforms?

What we are aiming to do is to make the use of our platforms as easy as possible. So that might be someone tweeting out from the Apple or iTunes store, they allow you to buy that iTunes link and I definitely think you’ll see more integration there.

Spam is becoming more of an issue on Twitter. What steps are you taking to protect your users?

We’ve got big teams at Twitter working full time on spam. Anytime you get a platform which is as popular as Twitter, you’ll inevitably get spam users of it. Probably the greatest thing is that we’ve always tried to look after our users and talk to them about how to improve the platform, and they are able to report spam.

Engagement with TV audience has grown through mobile and through Twitter. How can we expect to see that develop?

We are in constant dialogue with broadcasters. What we see is that when broadcasters use a hash tag on screen it really focuses the conversation and it focuses the discussion, which broadcasters love. Broadcasters are now able to gauge the success of a programme instantly, hear what people are saying about it and measure the sentiment towards TV shows, which is incredibly powerful. The best thing that happened recently was the live TV advert on Channel 4 which was broadcast during an episode of Homeland, where people tweeted in their thoughts on the new Ridley Scott film Prometheus and they then ran a second advert which highlighted some of the tweets. It was incredible to watch the response to something in real-time. I think we will a lot more of that because advertisers love the dynamic approach that it gives to their campaigns.

Twitter is a brilliant free platform so it’s open to everyone and there is no limitation to what we can do with it.

Daisley will be the keynote speaker at this year's SASconconference in Manchester later this week.

Tickets are now on sale and for a limited time only readers of The Drum can receive 15% off by using the discount code SASDRUM15. Use your code to book tickets here.

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