Twitter: Turning a Penny With Self-Service Advertising

Twitter is making its way to big-time advertising, and the company is already demonstrating that it’s capable of turning a pretty penny. Jack Dorsey’s jaunty whale of a baby recently launched self-service advertising on a small scale, but it’s prepping the groundwork for a larger, well-executed, and calibrated lineup.

News of the ad service came from the lips of Adam Bain, Twitter’s Chief Revenue Officer. Bain said that for now, only a small group of businesses were being offered the service. Self-service advertising is a huge deal because that’s one of the avenues Google used to reach its gigantic proportions. According to reports by eMarketer, three-fifths of Facebook’s $3.8 billion grand total of advertising revenue in 2011 came from self-service ads.

Back at Twitter, Bain himself gave out two interesting numbers: Less than a year and a half ago, Twitter had six advertisers; today, it has 2,400. To tackle the added golden bulk, Twitter hired around 100 new staff. By eMarketer’s estimates, Twitter should be pulling in around $399.5 million in ad profits by 2013; that’s up from 2010’s $45 million showing.

That Twitter is stepping out thoughtfully bodes well for its future capacity to deal with spam and ad fraud. Above, Adam Bain grins for the camera.

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