New Vice President for International Revenue to Add More Muscle to Twitter’s Asian Businesses

Twitter, the world’s biggest micro-blogging service, which just had a major upgrade and design overhahul last December hits the media again. Twitter Communications Director Matt Graves has told Bloomberg that they have hired former Google senior executive Shailesh Rao, to handle the advertising side of the business.


The Wharton and Kellogg graduate had been with the online search giant for seven years, where his latest position was Managing Director (MD) for India and Vice President (VP) Media, Mobile and Platforms for Asia Pacific. Consumer services and media/advertising both in the areas of search, mobile, display and social media have been his expertise for years.

As the MD, he was in charge of overall business performance and operations in India with strategy, revenue growth, partnerships, government relations, media interaction, and organization as the primary focus. As VP, meanwhile, he was responsible for the display advertising business across Asia Pacific, including YouTube, Mobile Display, Adsense for Content, Doubleclick Advertising Technologies, and Doubleclick Ad Exchange.

Asia Pacific Expansion?

Rao’s move to Twitter might be an indication that Twitter is eyeing an expansion into the Asia Pacific region. In his last stint with Google, he had brought in fresh ideas to increase the reach of display advertising and make such campaigns become efficient, effective, measurable and engaging for brand advertisers.

Even though the move was partially verified by a Google spokesperson, Rao has already moved to his new office at 795 Folsom Street, Suite 600 in San Francisco starting last February 4 (as indicated on his Linkedin profile), with the title of Vice President for International Revenue. No further information yet on what this role will entail, although Rao has just recently created his Twitter account.

Twitter Advertising

2011 report states that Twitter’s revenue has reached US$ 139.5 million annually, and the company projects that at the end of 2014, it will hit US$ 540 million per year. The company’s major revenue streams include promoted tweets, or tweets appearing in selective search results, and self-served advertising system offered for Small Medium Business.

According to research by Nielsen, online consumer opinions are now one of the most trusted forms of media among Southeast Asian digital consumers, with more than 54% trusting consumer opinions posted online. 73% of consumers surveyed mentioned they were “highly” influenced by web site advertisements on social media, compared to 60% globally. This jumps higher to 80% when advertisements have a social context, such as indicating which of a consumer’s friends have liked or followed the advertised brand.

Most of Twitter users in Asia Pacific are dominated by Southeast Asian members with Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore ranked within the top 10 in Twitter statistics by country as reported by ComScore. With the support for 23 different languages including Hindi, Indonesia, Korean, Japanese, Malay, Filipino, Chinese and the new executive onboard, the micro-blogging site should be more than ready to garner more revenues from the advertisers in the Asia Pacific region.