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Twitter ad sales targets SA

Twitter has appointed a local ad sales partner, Ad Dynamo in South Africa. I spoke to Ali Jafari*, vice president of direct sales, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Twitter, says Jafari, views South Africa is the most important and strategic market on the continent. It is the biggest from a usage point of view, with the highest number of users (Twitter defines a user as anyone who uses the platform once a month). The other reason is the country's ad market which is one of the most lucrative on the continent.

"South Africa is an important market for us which is why we are investing in it with a direct sales force. This allows us to make brands successful on Twitter. Greater results for brands mean greater results for Twitter which translates into the greater adoption of Twitter."

Mobile usage in South Africa is also very high. "Twitter is a mobile first product and company with the majority of its revenue via mobile, and therefore the platform is extending into parts of the world where mobile usage is high," he adds.

Ali Jafari, Twitter vice president of direct sales, EMEA.*
This is the first time that a sales team is available locally to offer support on the ground. It's believed this will allow a better understanding of the marketer's objectives and allow for assistance in the design, development and measurement of campaigns.


The goal of a sales force on the ground is to help make brands successful on Twitter. That, says Jafari, begins with a general education process on how to leverage the platform and deliver to customer whether Twitter is a PR tool or a customer service tool.

The second goal is to produce and put together really good content on Twitter.

"Tweets that produce good content even when promoted do not come across as an ad and it drives good engagement. The value equation is equally distributed around the ad producer and reader, so the advertiser is pleased, the users are seeing good content and Twitter is on a good position because it is delivering good content and revenue," he says.

The company has already been working with some local brands and has launched a number of successful campaigns. One of the most recent was for MTN. The campaign, with the hashtag overshare, invited people on the platform to share conversations about digital moments, post pictures and videos. The campaign garnered 30,000 mentions, a 40% increase in followers for the brand, and 2,300 mentions. MTN was reportedly very pleased with the level of engagement.

Jafari places how advertising works on Twitter in context, explaining that when the business was developed in 2010 rather than go the traditional route, advertising that was not intrusive was developed. Therefore its advertising products seamlessly integrate into the platform.

There are three adverting products

Promoted Tweets: These are regular Tweets but with the added benefit of reaching both current and potential followers who are likely to be interested in your account.

Promoted Accounts: These allow you to acquire followers at an accelerated rate. In new markets this is traditionally where advertisers or brands first start. It is how brands can quickly build an active community of advocates and influencers that they can engage with on an ongoing basis.

Promoted Trends: These are popular topics happening right now, on Twitter. Because these Trends are placed prominently next to a user's timeline, they get mass exposure

"Because the products are seamlessly integrated into the Twitter experience we see great results", he says. "Depending on your marketing agenda you can target by interest, country, gender, or mix and match, etc. We have spent a lot of time evolving your products and on targeting and analytics."

Twitter believes it is interesting to brands because it allows a brand to instantly connect with an audience without a filter and it also allows for two-way communication. "That audience has to be interested in your content. It is a platform that allows brands and people to talk to each other. Good brands will take the time to listen and respond what consumers are saying on Twitter.

*Ali Jafari oversees direct sales, account management and marketing for Twitter across Europe. Prior to this, he was Head of Sales Operations, where he was responsible for ad operations, optimization and international expansion across emerging markets for the company. Earlier, he spent five years as the Senior Director of Internet Marketing at Shutterfly, where he managed all of the company's online marketing. He spent the previous nine years in various finance, business development and sales operations leadership roles at and .

Jafari holds a BA in Economics from Stanford University. He is @jafari on Twitter.

About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach was the editor and publisher of Advantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. Before her editorship, she was deputy-editor as well as freelancing for over a year on the publication before that. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B, in the fields of marketing, mining, disability marketing, advertising and media.
Christopher Jackson
Nigeria is killing us in the print industry. I have experienced a loss of more than 25% of all my cross border clients cause they all say that they are getting printing at half the rates we charge! Nigeria gets their resources cheaper than what SA does! Our advertising can only do so much for us, without the correct economical infrastructure it is difficult. Advertising for cross border clients is now becoming a waste of money.
Posted on 5 May 2014 15:02