Fast Chat: Peter Greenberger of Twitter on Ann Romney’s Ad Buy

Sales lead predicts Twitter will grow in political realm

Want to know what aided Ann Romney, wife of presidential hopeful Mitt, in creating such a buzz on Twitter with her convention speech on Tuesday night? GOP operatives bought promoted tweets to push numerous talking points in her speech.

"The Ann Romney [team] was live-tweeting her speech," Peter Greenberger, Twitter's Washington ad sales lead, told Adweek. "And they were promoting the tweets in real-time. It was a powerful way to push her message into the timelines of Twitter users around the country."

Greenberg revealed that tidbit while on the phone Wednesday afternoon from Tampa, where he and his Twitter colleagues are building advertising relationships with GOP digital strategists for the remainder of the election cycle as well as 2014 and 2016. The industry vet—who arrived at Twitter after more than four years with Google—also predicted that Twitter would grow in the political realm, similarly to how Google did last decade.

Adweek: What kind of reception are you guys getting down there?

Peter Greenberger: Remarkable. I’ve done a couple of these conventions over the last decade. It’s amazing to see the first real Twitter convention. You are seeing hashtags everywhere, even on those state [delegate] poles.

How many staffers are with you on location?

We must have a dozen or so between our folks in media and partnerships, to my sales team, to our policy [staffers]. A lot of our constituency is here. A lot of the pundits are here, so it’s important for Twitter to have a strong presence. It’s a great time for us to meet with clients. Being able to talk with them and show them a screen shot of an ad in real-time on your phone while watching the convention is pretty remarkable.

Are you meeting with GOP-leaning digital strategy companies like Targeted Victory, CampaignGrid and Emotive?

As the director of the vertical, I am meeting with everybody. What I am seeing now is a transition from digital agencies that were really focused on direct response and ROI. That’s shifting now to firms focusing on persuasion. It’s a critical evolution because that’s where the big budgets are. You are starting to see that money move online from traditional media.

You’ve been around the block. Can you forecast what your conventions networking is going to do for your political ad sales team when looking at the 2014 and 2016 election cycles?

At Google, we saw a huge boost in revenue in 2008 [compared to 2004]. Obama was digitally savvy, and it’s been underreported that the McCain campaign spent a lot online, too. We did more revenue in 2010 than 2008. In 2008, there were only a handful of campaigns that were active and spending money online. By 2010, you had just about every single race using digital ads. I think you are going to see a similar [progression] happen with Twitter. Right now, every campaign has a presence. The savvier campaigns are starting to use our ad products. In the next few months, it will move to a must-buy.

How would you describe the ad activity right now?

Over the last few months, we’ve seen a jump. Literally, over the last 48 hours, we’ve seen another exponential rise. We probably have 15 or 20 advertisers focused solely on the convention.

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