Twitter renewed its upfront deals with these three agencies
Omnicom Media Group, Publicis Media and Dentsu Aegis Network were the three previously unnamed agency groups that renewed their upfront deals with Twitter.
Twitter didn’t have a great first quarter. Its monthly audience grew, but not by a lot. Its revenue grew, but not by as much as Wall Street analysts had expected. And its brand advertising business didn’t grow by as much as Twitter itself had expected. But there was at least one bright spot.
Twitter got three global agency holding companies to renew their upfront deals with the social network with a 40-percent increase year over year in money coming to Twitter from those deals. While Twitter mentioned those deals during its most recent earnings call, it hasn’t said which agency groups were the ones to re-up with the social network. But multiple people with knowledge of the renewals have told Marketing Land their names: Omnicom Media Group, Publicis Media (née Starcom MediaVest Group) and Dentsu Aegis Network.
Spokespeople for Omnicom and Publicis Media confirmed the renewals but declined to comment on specifics. Spokespeople for Dentsu and Twitter declined to comment.
All of the three agency networks are heavy hitters, especially among big-budget brand advertisers. Omnicom’s client roster includes Procter & Gamble, Delta Airlines and Apple, while Publicis Media’s network has Kraft Heinz and Visa, and Dentsu’s has Mondelēz, Pernod Ricard and Nestlé.
Being able to keep close ties with those marketers — all of whom are major TV advertisers — is a particularly good thing for Twitter right now. Brand advertisers are Twitter’s largest source of revenue, but that part of Twitter’s ad business was weaker than expected in the first quarter of 2016. That’s not great, especially since Twitter is trying to build up its video ad business, which would cater more to brand advertisers looking to get attention than direct-response marketers looking to push product. But the renewals — which Twitter COO Adam Bain said last month were “centered around video” and signed before Twitter’s NFL deal was announced — might suggest that things aren’t as bad for Twitter’s brand business as its earnings report would indicate.
“We don’t spend our clients’ money without a lot of thought about it. Twitter works,” said one agency exec involved the renewals. That exec is “overall bullish” on the social network. While Twitter’s ad business and audience size isn’t growing as fast as Google or Facebook, it’s still growing, and its ads generate positive enough results for brands, which is why that exec’s agency holding company did the deal.
There are other advantages to signing an upfront deal with a company like Twitter. Like buying in bulk at Costco or Sam’s Club, agencies can get discounts on their ad rates in exchange for committing up front to spend a lot of money on ads. At least one of the agencies that re-upped with Twitter got exactly that kind of wholesale pricing, according to one person familiar with the deal.
But at least one of the other two agencies didn’t make any kind of hard spending commitment to put a set amount of money toward Twitter ads, according to another person familiar with the matter. Instead, that agency signed the two-year deal in order to get early looks at new Twitter products and better access to Twitter’s data and sales teams. Of course, to take advantage of that access would mean eventually buying ads — and making a hard commitment can fetch the same perks — so that deal could be characterized as a soft commitment: show us what you’ve got, and we’ll tell you what we want to buy. Apparently, that means video ads for the agencies’ brand clients.