Ian Burrell: Twitter is open for business, and that means ads coming to a tweet near you

Viewpoint: Engagement scores at Twitter are said to be at 3-5 per cent, an extraordinarily high figure

Except for the nameplate on the meeting room door that reads "@barnowl", there is little to indicate that Bruce Daisley is sitting in one of the hubs of a global media enterprise that is expected to generate revenues north of £160m this year. The fourth-floor London headquarters of Twitter, in the media district sometimes called Fitzrovia, is less prestigious than that of other Internet giants such as Microsoft and Google, with their breakfast bars and games rooms. Yes, there are the fruit bowls and supplies of mineral water – pre-requisites of any new media workplace – but Daisley acknowledges that "we are a pretty small team here".

That's about to change though, as Twitter spreads its wings in response to the growing success of its advertising-based model, which was introduced two years ago in the United States and arrived in Britain last September.

Daisley, who arrived at the start of the year from Google, says his "biggest challenge" is letting people know that Twitter is open for business. "We are recruiting, we are trying to build the team here and trying to get the message of how well this is going out to as wide an audience as possible." Twitter UK will be hiring more sales staff, more engineers and more marketing people.

Dual screening – watching television, while simultaneously discussing the programmes on social media – has become a national habit. Brand managers want to be part of that conversation on Twitter. Daisley says that engagement scores at Twitter (the frequency with which a user responds to a commercial message) are at 3-5 per cent, an extraordinarily high figure. Twitter users might engage by "retweeting" commercial messages to their followers, by endorsing the tweet as a "favourite" or by simply clicking on a tweeted link. He says there is a high value to a commercial client in being placed amid the tweets of a user's most trusted sources and treasured subjects. "It's the power of sitting adjacent to people's passions and interests."

The options for business range from the Promoted Trend, which is sold daily and highlights the subject as a hot topic of the day, to a Promoted Tweet, which ensures the message appears in the timeline of users whose Twitter activity has suggested that they might be amenable. A Promoted Account means the brand is advertised as one that users might wish to follow. All promotions are marked with an orange arrow.

Daisley says that Twitter monitors each ad closely to see if it's working. "We can tell pretty quickly if no one is clicking on an ad," he says. "We have already got a strong track record of knowing what success looks like." Case studies are used to advise clients on what works. Cadbury's "Retweet for Sweets" campaign to promote its chocolate bar Wispa Gold enjoyed a 25 per cent engagement rate. The British Heart Foundation used Promoted Tweets to drive 1.7 million views of its life-saving CPR video featuring Vinnie Jones.

As Daisley sits in @barnowl (other rooms in the office are called @robin and @osprey), he is aware that if Twitter overdoes the advertising then users may come to see the platform less as a chirruping feathered friend and more as a Hitchcockian nightmare. "Defending the users' voice is really important," he says. Twitter is only six years old and, until six months ago, users in Britain had become accustomed to inter-acting in an environment free of paid-for advertising.

But so far there have been no British "Twitter storms" over inappropriate advertising. That's why Daisley is convinced that the long-asked question as to how this Internet phenomenon would make money has now been answered. "Twitter's business model is advertising," he says. "You struggle to see evidence of why anyone would think otherwise now."

i.burrell@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Database Executive - Leading Events Marketing Company - London

£23000 - £25000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Databas...

Recruitment Genius: Publishing Assistant

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...

Guru Careers: Print Project Manager

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A Print Project Manager is needed to join one...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before