Twitter's plans for MoPub, a mobile advertising company they purchased in October 2013, could herald an epic battle in the race to dominate the mobile ad space. With Google's sights firmly set on dominating the space through its advertising marketplace, Doubleclick, and Facebook's big plans for their advertising platform, Atlas, the stage is set.
Speaking at the Web Summit 2014 in Dublin on 5 November, Twitter's President of Global Revenue, Adam Bain was clear that mobile has huge revenue growth potential for Twitter. They also see huge potential in their other main revenue streams - data and commerce.
"Amazing companies build out products to change and touch the world. That's certainly been the case for Twitter", said Bain.
But it seems 'changing the world' doesn't make you the money to compete with the internet's biggest ad earners, as Twitter has a huge divide to bridge before they can reach Google and Facebook's advertising revenue. Bain admitted that whilst Twitter's ad revenue is growing, it's still relatively low in relation to the size of the company, and that's what they intend to address.
According to market research firm eMarketer, Google still stands firm as the dominant player in the digital advertising market, and in the mobile space, with over 50% market share of mobile ad revenue. Facebook has increased its share, and is predicted to reach 22% market share this year. Twitter, whilst the third biggest revenue generator in mobile advertising, has less than 3% market share.
Many have been unconvinced that Twitter has the potential to really challenge giants such as Facebook and Google in the revenue space, but they recently unveiled Fabric, a set of services and software for mobile app developers which will enable Twitter to generate advertising revenue outside of Twitter itself.
Their plans to integrate Fabric and MoPub will allow them to give advertisers the opportunity to reach an audience of 1 billion plus on mobile, a move which could see Twitter become a serious challenger in the space.
Twitter have also announced a new data analytics partnership with IBM, which Bain says will see them train 10,000 IBM consultants on how to use Twitter data for enterprise. He believes the data Twitter has is unique, calling it the "largest set of public conversations out there".
The potential uses are almost limitless, with Bain giving examples of how Twitter data has been used effectively by everyone from health companies tracking diseases across countries, to a company who makes French fries seeking out conversations about soggy fries.
Twitter's 'buy now' button is also in its infancy, but they've been experimenting and Bain believes there is huge opportunity for live commerce on the Twitter platform.
"We are the fastest growing in terms of billion dollar ad revenue business", said Bain - but can they grow fast enough to become the giant killers of the digital advertising world?