Twitter pushes harder for TV brand dollars as ESPN signs up to Amplify

By Brendan Coyne | 30 April 2014

Twitter is ramping up its efforts to bring in more brand dollars and tie up commercial deals with TV networks. ESPN is the latest broadcaster to sign up locally.

The social media platform has claimed to be the soundtrack to TV. Joel Lunenfeld, global head of brand and strategy said it is tuning up in terms of technology and commercials to deliver hard returns for both brands and broadcasters.

Following last week's launch of TV conversation targeting in Australia, Lunenfeld is in Sydney to outline Twitter's plans to the local market as it bids to monetise its platform following its $30bn IPO. He would not be drawn on how significant the TV dollars were in terms of a percentage of revenue beyond “really important”.

The second screen app market is becoming increasingly crowded, with the likes of Zeebox and Shazam vying for dollars, and technology firms also working out ways to synchronise ads on mobile devices as many viewers increasingly focus on their other devices during TV ad breaks.

WPP-owned Xaxis last week became the latest to enter the fray.

What sets twitter apart was that it is “a bridge rather than an island... we take the best of all apps and build them into the heart of what Twitter does,” Lunenfeld suggested. For marketers, he said the recency factor via “a live public platform … with 70% of impressions delivered during the broadcast window.” Realty shows and live sports where where the platform “shines” he suggested, with the World Cup a major global opportunity for brands and rights holders.

Locally, Tony Broderick head of TV partnerships, said Twitter was working with SBS to explore opportunities for content syndication for the World Cup as well as driving audiences to the broadcaster with a mobile enabled game reminder delivered via a hashtag.

Broderick said that while Ten, SCA and SBS have signed up to use Amplify, discussion with Seven and Nine were ongoing.

However, ESPN, which uses Amplify in the US, has just signed up locally as an Amplify partner and it is thought that the broadcaster will also use the platform to push video content and action from the finals of the FA Cup and Champions League as well as other sports events. ESPN head of digital products and partnerships Lance Peatey told AdNews last month that the Disney-owned network had been conducting a trial with Amplify partner SnappyTV in a bid to comercialise its social content. as opposed to other social platforms, Peatey liked the fact that pre-rolls can be laid over the top of video clips.

With marketers generally risk averse and requiring solid metrics upon which to invest budget, Lunenfeld said the platform was now delivering “classic marketers KPIs such as brand recall and impact” rather than talking purely in terms of reach and clicks, as well as measuring ROI in terms of bottom line results for brands. He claimed campaigns for consumer packaged goods advertisers in the US suggested “in store ROI of 8-15% increase in sales for every dollar spent”.

Twitter TV ratings via Nielsen are set to launch in Australia later this year, providing a different kind of audience currency, a move welcomed by media buyers.

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