Twitter is getting more serious about making money.
On Tuesday, Twitter announced that it had hired two new sales executives, continuing its pattern of plucking top sales executives from other Web companies. Adam Bain, former president of the News Corporation’s Fox Audience Network, will be Twitter’s president of global revenue, and Brent Hill, Google’s former head of financial services for the Midwest, will be director of sales for the Midwest at Twitter.
The hires round out Twitter’s sales executive ranks, and indicate that the start-up is moving into a new phase, focusing on revenue.
Early on, Twitter refused to worry about how to make money and instead concentrated on getting people to use the service. In 2008, Evan Williams, Twitter’s co-founder and chief executive, compared the strategy to Google’s in its early days, telling me in an interview: “It was the classic story of not worrying about monetization yet and getting their product right.”
Since then, Twitter has evolved from a start-up trying to attract users to a household name. With 145 million registered users and $160 million in venture capital, Twitter has been increasingly shifting its focus to figuring out how to earn revenue.
This year, Twitter introduced its advertising product, Promoted Tweets. Companies pay to have custom Twitter posts appear at the top of the Twitter stream when people search the site. They can also pay to have their brand or product appear in the list of trending topics on Twitter.
Twitter is also testing tools for businesses that use Twitter and plans to eventually sell upgraded commercial accounts.
Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief operating officer, oversees all the revenue initiatives. Twitter previously hired Amanda Levy, formerly the first in-house sales executive at Yelp, to run West Coast sales, and Dan Coughlin, formerly at Facebook, to run East Coast sales.