In its quest to lift its sluggish revenue, Twitter, has hired longtime ad tech executive Bruce Falck as a general manager focused on the company’s ad business.
Falck has a “deep understanding of monetization and digital advertising,” Twitter said in a statement Thursday. That means he knows how to make money off of online ads, and, as mentioned, that is crucial for Twitter, which has struggled for years to profit from that audience.
And it’s a big audience. The company claims 313 million monthly active users.
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Falck was most recently CEO of Turn, an ad tech company acquired in February by the advertising arm of Singapore telephone company Singtel for $310 million. Before joining Turn, Falck was chief operating officer of BrightRoll, which specialized in video advertising technology and which Yahoo (YHOO) bought. Before that he spent eight years at Google (GOOG), which derives billions in ad revenue.
The news, which Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced in a tweet, comes a day after Twitter announced a planned update to its terms of service. The changes, which will take effect June 18, also seem aimed at boosting ad revenue. One of the biggest changes is that Twitter will be able to hold onto data it gets when a user clicks on a web page’s Tweet button or on an embedded tweet, for 30 days, up from 10 days under the current terms, according to tech news site Marketing Land,
Twitter (TWTR) uses that data to tailor ads to users based on what they do online.
Users will have some say about what sorts of ads they will get. They can, for example, uncheck certain categories if they are of no interest. But here’s a big caveat: Twitter has also discontinue its “Do Not Track” option, which people could use to ask websites not to monitor their behavior on those sites for ad targeting purposes.
As Marketing Land put it:
Twitter made a big deal about supporting Do Not Track in May 2012, so its reversal is a surprise — unless you’ve been following the wave of major ad-supported digital platforms opting to ignore Do Not Track requests
But for those who want to curtail these custom ads, there is a way to switch off the “personalize ads” option under Twitter’s Privacy and Safety settings.
Twitter is in a tough spot. It has millions of devoted users and it doesn’t want to alienate them with spammy ads, but it also really needs to generate revenue. But, as print publishers and others have long realized, it’s hard to make money on digital advertising, except for the big players like Facebook (FB) and Google, which dominate.