Twitter, Starcom Mediavest Group Sign Huge Ad Deal

Reportedly worth hundreds of millions over multiple years

Starcom Mediavest Group has signed a huge advertising deal with Twitter representing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue over multiple years for the tech company, the Financial Times reported Monday.

Twitter and SMG declined to discuss financial details of the agreement. According to the FT, it does include special perks for SMG when buying ads on Twitter and leveraging the tech platform's data and audience for research purposes. SMG, part of the Publicis Groupe, buys ad space for major marketers including Procter & Gamble, Walmart, Microsoft and Coca-Cola.

Lisa Weinstein, president of global digital, data and analytics at SMG, likened the deal to the practice of buying television inventory in advance.

"It's a different kind of upfront," she said. "It's about the marketplace being really a 24/7 marketplace today, and this is the kind of agreement we think defines the future."

"It's not just about inventory and ad products themselves," she said. "It's about how we better understand consumers across screens with platforms like Twitter and mobile devices. It's so much more than just an agreement around inventory and ad products."

EMarketer in late March estimated that Twitter's total ad revenue will more than double year-over-year to $582.8 million in 2013 and is on track to hit $950 million in 2014.

The deal is not tied to specific SMG clients. Rather, SMG guaranteed that its Starcom, Mediavest and Spark agencies will spend a certain amount on Twitter ad inventory and other projects over a certain number of years—with that inventory being available to all clients across SMG.

In exchange, SMG is expects to get better access to Twitter research, like analyses of tweets around TV shows from the tech platform's recent acquisition of Bluefin Labs. SMG will also work with the Twitter on integrating the tech company's API into the agency's own analytics platforms to promote more efficient use of clients' ad spending on paid ads—TV commercials and promoted tweets, for example—and earned media, like chatter from audiences exposed to ads on Twitter. The deal also calls for Twitter and SMG to work together on new products, like custom surveys querying Twitter users on mobile devices.


@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.