Twitter's international focus grew Thursday with the appointment of two former Google execs. Shailesh Rao will serve as Twitter's vice president of international revenue, while Stephen McIntyre will support international expansion of Twitter's self-serve ad platform, which it plans to roll out in the U.S. next month.
The plan is to grow ad revenue with the self-serve platform through promoted tweets and promoted accounts. eMarketer estimates that Twitter's global ad revenue should reach $540 million by 2014. Advertising revenue at Twitter grew 213% to $139.5 million in 2011 -- up from $45 million in 2010, according to the data firm, which estimates the social site will bring in another $259.9 million this year.
Rao, former Google VP of media and platforms across Asia-Pacific, will set up Twitter's direct sales teams. Throughout his career, he supported YouTube, Google Display Network, DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and the mobile display business, including AdMob.
McIntyre will support Twitter's self-service ad platform from Dublin -- a role similar to his position at Google for the past seven years in Ireland. The goal to get small businesses worldwide on its self-serve marketing platform and achieve the same influences as Google's AdWords and AdSense.
Twitter will compete with Facebook globally. Facebook's worldwide ad revenue should exceed $5 billion this year to reach nearly $8 billion by 2014 -- more than double its 2011 revenue, eMarketer estimates. Growth will continue, although at a slower pace, dipping significantly in 2013 and 2014 to 32.8% and 13.7%.
In the U.S., Facebook will garner $2.58 billion this year, contributing 51% of its total worldwide revenue. That’s down from 55% in 2011. It will drop further to 49% in 2013 and 2014 as international markets begin to contribute a larger share of ad revenue. This year, Facebook will account for 6.5% of all online ad revenues in the U.S., up from 5.4% in 2011. Its share will rise to 7.1% in 2013 and 2014, according to eMarketer.